Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane once rebuked the Manchester United squad for failing to sign charity footballs during their time at Old Trafford.
Keane was captain at Old Trafford and took pride in setting standards within Ferguson’s squad, something that contributed to the club’s success both on and off the pitch.
Part of representing a football club is giving back to the community, something that players from Arsenal and Leeds United have both been criticised for in recent weeks.
First the Gunners appeared to ignore a young mascot on a matchday, leading to criticism from supporters media personalities, before Piers Morgan took aim at Javi Gracia’s players for blanking their supporters as they made their way out of the team hotel over the weekend.
While neglecting philanthropic efforts is nothing new, Gary Neville told a telling story about how Keane and Ferguson handled such a comparable incident during his appearance on Steven Bartlett’s The Diary of A CEO podcast.
He said: “Wendy used to get the charity ball signed, and Roy Keane was like this as well.
“Every Thursday, Wendy would have 30 to 40 charity balls that we would sign, and they would go to the children’s charities in Greater Manchester or in the country.
“Sometimes you’re in a rush, aren’t you? You’re young, you’re a football player, ‘Ah Wendy I’ll sign them after I’m in a rush, I’ve got to do my stretching, I’ve got to have a massage, I’ve got to have my treatment,’ whatever you might say when you’re on the way in, a poor excuse or generally you did.”
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Neville continued: “Roy walked past Wendy and she was a little upset because only five of 23 players in the squad had signed the balls.
“Roy went upstairs and said to Sir Alex [Ferguson] it’s an absolute disgrace this has happened for a couple of weeks now. He [Ferguson] killed us. He absolutely killed us.
“The lack of respect to walk past Wendy, who was there to get the charity balls signed and not sign them for her, for him, was a dereliction of duty and a lack of respect. It’s not what you do.”