I demanded to leave Manchester United even though they asked me to stay - I made a massive mistake. - sportupdate
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I demanded to leave Manchester United even though they asked me to stay – I made a massive mistake.



I pronounced my intention to depart from Manchester United despite their entreaties to remain; I erred tremendously.The illustrious Sir Alex Ferguson had viewed a video of Andrei Kanchelskis playing for Russia’s U21s prior to Manchester United’s £650,000 acquisition of him in March 1991. Despite this, the Russian was relatively unknown at the time and the transfer was considered a calculated risk.

However, the transfer negotiations between United and Shakhtar Donetsk were so clandestine that Kanchelskis arrived in Manchester unaware of which North West club he was joining; nevertheless, he would go on to earn a cult following at Old Trafford.Kanchelskis parted ways with United in 1995, following a four-year tenure during which he won the European Super Cup, two Premier League titles, the League Cup, and the FA Cup. However, his departure was not without incident, as he sought new opportunities.An undesirable sequence of events marred his tenure at the club, including Kanchelskis’ refusal to play and his agent’s attempt to present Ferguson with a box containing £40,000 in cash as compensation for securing a new contract for his client—a agreement that contained a “secret” clause.Kanchelskis, who was born in Kirovohrad, Ukraine in the Soviet Union to a Lithuanian father and a Russian mother, began his professional career in 1988 with Dynamo Kyiv. The following year, in 1990, he transferred to Shakhtar Donetsk, where he remained for one season prior to his transfer to Manchester United.However, it is noteworthy that Kanchelskis admitted upon his return from Shakhtar that he was unaware of which Manchester club he was becoming a member of.”When I was younger, there wasn’t much information available about English football,” Kanchelskis recalled to FourFourTwo.


“Of course, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, Matt Busby, and George Best informed me about Manchester United, but in 1991, everyone was only talking about Liverpool due to their dominance. That began to alter in the 1990s, when United became the topic of conversation for everyone.


“At the time of my 1991 flight to England, I was not informed of which club I would be attending.” When I inquired, my agent simply replied, “To Manchester.” When I inquired, “Which club?” he responded, “I have no idea.” Upon our arrival, we were transported to Old Trafford. It was United that I came to the realization at that moment.


However, what was the initial encounter like with Ferguson, an individual who had already established a formidable reputation?”When we first met, Alex Ferguson informed me, ‘You have training tomorrow.'” Nothing informed me that I would be training. “I neglected to bring my boots,” said Kanchelskis.”I attempted to purchase some, but they were abhorrent. They did not fit quite correctly. Despite my abysmal performance in the friendly, I was nonetheless offered a contract.


Despite the fact that the club for which Kanchelskis was signing was promptly disclosed, it would be two months before he made his debut against Crystal Palace at the end of the season, when Manchester United’s stars were resting in preparation for the European Cup Winners’ Cup final.


The 2-1 victory of Manchester United over Barcelona in Rotterdam was the result of two goals scored by Mark Hughes. In his first few weeks with the club, Ronald Koeman scored for the Spanish champions, and Kanchelskis won a winner’s medal; this was just the beginning of what was to come.”England resembled a school.” Everything was new: the way of life, the cuisine, the language, and even the necessity to drive on the opposite side of the road. It was an enormous adjustment. “However, the football was comparable,” Kanchelskis mused.


“I’d played for Dynamo Kyiv under Valeriy Lobanovskyi – one of the best coaches around – and he liked playing 4-4-2 with two wingers, just like Ferguson.”


While Kanchelskis and his former coach Lobanovsky in Ukraine did not share a language barrier, Ferguson and his most recent recruit, who had recently arrived in Britain and was attempting to acquire English, did. His teammates took advantage of this fact.”I unintentionally referred to Fergie as a ‘Scottish b******’ at one point.” During training, my new comrades instructed me to say that to Ferguson, but I was unaware of its meaning. “Such an occurrence ensues whenever a player relocates to a foreign nation,” Kanchelskis explained.


“Everyone taught a Brazilian player to say ‘F*** off’ to the coach in Russian when I was playing in Russia. All of the individuals chuckled when I referred to Ferguson as a “Scottish brute.” “Fortunately, he did as well!”


Ferguson was able to effectively communicate with Kanchelskis and the legendary Eric Cantona with the assistance of the late George Scanlan; in fact, the proficient interpreter was granted permission to remain on the Reds’ bench during the match.


Kanchelskis debuted with United for the entire 1991/92 season, and the Russian forward appeared in over 30 First Division appearances and scored five goals. Ferguson was so struck by the youngster that he gave a glowing report on television during his rookie year.”With regard to every aspect, it is safe to state that he has achieved remarkable success in his debut season. Ferguson stated at the time, “He is a young lad, having tied the knot in the summer, settling in England, learning the language, and comprehending the English game.”


“You have to say he’s had outstanding success, a marvellous first season he’s had.”


However, it wasn’t just Kanchelskis who had a stellar season; United also won the League Cup at Wembley with a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest and finished second in the league, trailing only champions Leeds by four months.


The atmosphere was palpable with anticipation; Ferguson’s team appeared to be on the verge of something extraordinary.”The league title should have been ours in 1991/92.” We dominated the entire season, but in the final three games, we shed too many points and lost too many matches to Luton, West Ham, and Liverpool. “Our last match, played at Old Trafford against Spurs, was a victory,” Kanchelskis said.


Ferguson entered the locker room and remarked, ‘Excellent season. We will triumph next season, so have no fear.”


In the end, Ferguson’s confidence paid off, and United won their first league championship in 26 years during the 1992/1993 campaign, despite the fact that Ryan Giggs and Lee Sharpe provided more wide-area competition and limited Kanchelskis’ usage.


The competition for the right-wing position was between Kanchelskis and Sharpe, with Giggs occupying the left position. However, Sharpe was ruled out due to viral meningitis in the autumn of 1992, and the Russian was forced to fill the void left by Kanchelskis before losing his spot to Sharpe in the second half of the campaign.Undoubtedly, Kanchelskis’ limited participation during United’s Premier League championship season was indisputable. The club finished 10 points ahead of Aston Villa for second place and made 13 league starts. In that season, he contributed to three goals and one assist.


Kanchelskis, who had previously expressed his discontent at falling down the pecking order despite United’s eventual success that year, was on the verge of strained relations with Ferguson when he declined to play in the reserves.


“I simply could not fathom the reason I was left off the team,” Kanchelskis explained to The Independent.Seniors Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce made every effort to assist Kanchelskis, who was experiencing homesickness despite his limited playing time and the fact that he was one of the only foreign exports in England’s top division during that era.


“I was unaware that his [Robson] father, like mine, had worked as a truck driver. Kanchelskis told The42, “He had taken me to his house, Chester races, and a Paul Simon concert.”


“I wouldn’t say I had close friends at Manchester United but I used to hang out with Lee Sharpe and (my wife at the time) Inna was with me in Altrincham.”


Kanchelskis persisted with the aid of Scanlan, and his perseverance paid off as he progressively regained Ferguson’s confidence, enabling him to play a pivotal role in United’s 1993–94 league and cup double.