Dwight Yorke was the special guest on Wednesday’s MUTV Group Chat, and shared several interesting anecdotes, not least when Sir Alex Ferguson once called him a ‘failure’, despite being the Reds’ top scorer at the time.
Our former striker spent four years at Old Trafford and netted more than any of his team-mates during his first season at the club - our 1998/99 Treble-winning campaign - before achieving the same feat again the following year.
However, Sir Alex, a man renowned for his meticulously high standards, demanded more from Dwight, and was willing to try anything to further motivate his frontman.
“In the first season I scored 29 goals, in the second year I scored 26, and the gaffer said to me ‘you’re a failure’,” Yorke reflected on the video call.
“I was top scorer again and we won the Premier League, but he said I was a failure. But you look back and I get where he was coming from. This is where you need to push yourself even further by getting more than 29.
“You look at Messi and Ronaldo and that’s the kind of levels he’s trying to push you to, but I didn’t see it then. Finishing as the top scorer with 26 goals was very rewarding for me, but the gaffer wasn’t too pleased.
“Then in my third year I had 14 goals from 22 starts, which is not a bad return. But that wasn’t good enough at United. That was the level the manager was demanding of you and I get it now.”
Yorkie is most fondly remembered by United fans for the part he played in our Treble-winning campaign, a season when he and striker partner Andy Cole struck fear into the hearts of defenders at home and abroad.
Dwight netted 29 times in 51 appearances during his maiden term at the Reds, but was actually disappointed with that haul.
“I should have scored more goals. I was disappointed I only scored 29 goals, even though that was unbelievable in my first year,” Yorke told presenter Stewart Gardner and regular hosts Ben Thornley, Wes Brown, Danny Webber and David May.
“I think the manager robbed me of a few games when I felt I should have played and could have scored goals,” Yorke added, with a chuckle.
“He substituted me when I was on the verge of scoring a hat-trick. I was on two goals and he takes me off to have a rest! You look back and think ‘bloody hell, gaffer, you robbed me of a few goals over the years’.
“But it’s not about me, it’s about the team and he knows what is best for us as a unit and that’s what matters.
“When you achieve that kind of level in your first year, where do you go from there? Because everything you do after that is pretty much a failure,” the 48-year-old continued.
“But we went on to win three Premier Leagues in a row and we’re the only club to ever do that. That hardly ever gets a mention, until [Manchester] City tried to follow it this year.
“We had a high level of success over that time, so it was hard to live up to that all the time. But I have no regrets over those years. It was just a wonderful time in my life and I’m very grateful to anyone who played a part in that.”