'It was first-class of him' – How Sir Alex Ferguson got best out of Man Utd debutants by secretly inviting their parents

SIR ALEX FERGUSON secretly invited Jonathan Greening's family to his Manchester United debut and it 'brought the best' out of the midfielder.

The legendary Red Devils boss informed the then 19-year-old he would be in United's matchday squad for their game against Bury, but didn't say if he'd be starting.


And over an hour before kick-off, Ferguson revealed the good news to Greening that he would start – leaving very little time to get friends and family to the game… well, that's what Greening thought.

Ferguson had already invited the midfielder's family to Old Trafford, which Greening says was 'first-class' from the Scot.

Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Man Utd v Man City, Greening revealed: "Ferguson was brilliant with me; I remember on my debut, he didn't tell me I was playing – he told me I'd be in the squad.

"About an hour and a half before kick-off the gaffer finally told me I was starting, and I was like 'brilliant'.

"I wanted to get in touch with my mum and dad but Fergie had already invited them, along with the rest of my family – without me knowing; so they knew I was making my debut before I did.

"That was absolutely first class from him, and it brought the best out of me because I think I got man of the match in that game. 

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"We won the game and I just remember thinking 'how lucky am I?' I'd just played in front of over 60,000 people at Old Trafford, got man of the match and set up a goal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer; it was just incredible."

Greening only made 26 appearances for Man Utd in his three year spell.

But he picked up a Champions League winners medal for the club's 1999 triumph over Bayern Munich, despite not playing a single minute.

The midfielder went on to play regularly for the likes of Middlesbrough and West Brom.

And even picked up a League Cup winners medal during his time on Teesside.

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