Teddy Sheringham has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson made it clear to him how big Manchester United were when the striker left White Hart Lane for Old Trafford in 1997.
Sheringham was a fan favourite at Tottenham, scoring 124 times for the Lilywhites over his two spells in North London.
The former England striker arrived at Spurs from Nottingham Forest in 1992 and had five memorable seasons before United snapped him up.
While he was not always first choice during his time with the Red Devils, the forward still had a decent goalscoring record, notching 46 goals over his four years at the club.
Sheringham then returned to White Hart Lane in 2001 and scored 13 goals each in two consecutive seasons before joining Portsmouth in 2003.
The 55-year-old has now opened up on how initially he did not pay much heed to Sir Alex’s advice on the pressure that comes with playing for United but admitted that the size of the club dawned on him on his pre-season tour to Asia.
Sheringham told Sky Sports’ The Overlap: “If all these managers wanted me I thought I must have something about me and I am going to enjoy this and take it on.
“I didn’t feel any sort of pressure, as in ‘I can’t handle that. You want to sign me for your football club? Bring it on. Let’s do it. I love it’.
“Fergie still said to me: ‘You won’t believe what it is like [to play for Man United]’ and I thought ‘I’ve played for England and I’ve been around the world with my club, Tottenham.’ But no, he said: ‘I’m telling you.’
“He was right, without a shadow of a doubt.
“We went to Hong Kong with Tottenham and there was about three people at the airport. We went to Hong Kong with England and there was about ten people at the airport.
“We went to Hong Kong with United and there was f*****g thousands of them, all turned up with their autographs, asking for us to sign this and that and Becks [David Beckham] to give us that.
“Man United, anywhere in the world, is absolutely huge and that is the eye-opener that he was trying to tell me. I was 31 then, so you take it on and you’re like: ‘Wow, this is a football club, by the way’.”
Spurs Web Opinion
While Manchester United are still arguably the biggest club in the world (certainly in terms of global support), Spurs have narrowed the gap with the big boys over the past decade or so.
As someone who lives halfway across the world and started supporting Tottenham at the beginning of the Martin Jol era, I can see first-hand how popular Spurs have become over the last decade, with fan groups now popping up left, right and centre.
Tottenham’s commercial growth over the last two decades is one factor that the anti-Levy crowd often overlook. As a club, we are now in a different stratosphere commercially to the likes of Villa and Everton, which was not the case when ENIC brought the club two decades ago.
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