When Andrei Kanchelskis sweared on Sir Alex Ferguson

Sport, Football, pic: 13th April 1994, FA, Cup Semi-Final Replay, Manchester United 4 v Oldham Athletic 1, Manchester United's Andrei Kandchelskis celebrates after scoring the 2nd goal (Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

Written by El-Khoury

It is common to say that footballers are lucky enough to make their hobby, their love for the game, a job and in fact they are paid with crazy money. And that teenagers footballers are well-known to love… pranks. At times, we saw players like Alves, Zlatan, Evra made successful pranks, but no one compares to what his teammates at Manchester United did to Andrei Kanchelskis.

Kanchelskis was recruited by Shakhtar Donetsk in 1991, and as he noted in an interview, this was done without his acknowledgement. He had boarded a plane bound for Manchester but did not know which of the two Manchester teams he was going to or whether he would be leaving to another English team. In the end, his destiny was to play for United (of course, later he also went to Man City). But when he went to England on behalf of the “red devils” he did not know to speak very well English. That was a big problem him.

When a footballer goes to a foreign country, where he does not know the language, obviously the first thing he learns is how to… curse! So, on arriving Kanchelskis’ first thing he learned was of course swearing. Unfortunately for him, he did not know that the words his teammates told him were insulting and he believed that he was learning how to address the coach!

The moment of the official first meeting between Sir Alex and Andrei at the dressing rooms was epic, was totally hillarious! After leaving the locker room, he saw Sir Alex Ferguson (United’s famous grandfather, at the time, a young coach) said in a welcoming way, “Well, Andrei, how are you?” The Ukrainian’s response was an epic attack, “Come on, you bastard Scotsman.” Of course, he thought he was saying, “Well, thank you very much”. That is why he had said it with absolute kindness and with a smile on his face.

Ferguson froze for a moment. How could you accept this from a new footballer on your team? Why should he smile and curse you at the same time? Does he know what he is saying or not? Finally, after a few seconds, the laughter from the locker rooms of the other players of the team relaxed the atmosphere and Sir Alex smiled at Kanchelskis who really did not know what was happening and what mistake he just made. His 123 appearances and 28 goals for United eventually show that the Ukrainian didn’t keep that “awkward” moment in his mind, neither Fergi.