Leaving Old Trafford this weekend, Warren Joyce would be forgiven for smiling as he makes his way through the players’ car park on the way to the Wigan Athletic team coach.
Because one thing’s for sure – Joyce never had a problem locating his vehicle among the top-of-the-range sports cars during his time with Manchester United!
“We had a good group of coaches, where everybody was just trying to do the best they possibly could for the club, developing young players and bringing them up,” Joyce remembers.
“And if you’re preaching those sorts of habits to players, you’ve got to have those habits yourself, haven’t you?
“I had the worst car at the club. One, because they were tight and didn’t pay much! But also because of the young players.
“There are too many kids nowadays who have got big flash cars and they’ve not done anything in the game.
“They think that’s important, rather than those kind of...I don’t even think they’re old fashioned values...I just think it’s the right way to be.
“You’re in football for sport, to be competitive, and to try to do your best and challenge yourself.
“Those other things are on the outside, the periphery.
“You either want to be in a boy-band in a pop star environment, or a footballer.
“And I kept the same values when I came to Wigan, to be honest.
“We’re sponsored by Mercedes, and I just said: ‘I’m not bothered what car I’ve got’.
“The younger lads at United were laughing, saying: ‘You’ll be just as flash, coming back with your posh coat on, Rolex watch, watching our reserve games, and I joked: ‘I’m not watching you lot, you’re rubbish’!
“And then they turned up at my house with a big white Mercedes jeep.
“It’s got great big wheels, with red things inside, and a double sunroof, and my son’s going: ‘That’s sick that car, I can’t wait to go to Cornwall surfing in that’.
“I drove in the next day and I thought: ‘There’s no way I can drive this’.
“I didn’t even park it in the manager’s spot. I drove it to the back of the car park, gave the secretary the keys and said: ‘You’re gonna have to say: ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.’
“I said: ‘Get me a car that’s not flash, we’re bottom of the league! I just want one to get me from A to B’.
“Anyone would be delighted with a Mercedes, but I was like: ‘Oh no’. I took a picture of it and sent it to the reserves at United, and they slaughtered me, saying: ‘We knew you’d go like that’.
“I was at home just driving a little old shed at United. I won’t tell you what make... because it might insult the firm!”