Presumably thrown into a tizzy by the veritable flurry of goals at Old Trafford of late, we managed to miss a humdinger of a story from the Daily Mail's Mike Keegan last week. It brings us tales from the canteen of Manchester United's Carrington training ground, courtesy of an unnamed source (or possibly sauce, depending on whether it's the canteen's condiments that have been spilling the beans). Anyway, here are some of the very best bits:
"Just ask Rio Ferdinand. When the south London born central defender arrived from Leeds United for a then British record £30million in 2002 and ordered his meal in pure Peckham tones, he was quickly told to start speaking properly."
Only Mancunian slang permitted in here, thanks very much.
"Under Sir Alex Ferguson's egalitarian rule, all staff dined together — from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo to the security guard on the gate. That has since changed with non-playing staff now ushered into a separate room down a corridor by the fiercely protective Dutch master.
'Ushered' into a separate room! This is presumably King Louis' great banqueting chamber, where the walls are adorned with ornate frescoes depicting his personal triumph in far off lands, and in which he is served his favourite Wings takeaway on a polished silver platter. "Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full sir," says Master Stuivenberg, footman.
"Food fights in the Carrington canteen are relatively rare, but on one occasion things quickly escalated when Rooney returned to his seat to find his breakfast had been tampered with. 'I think it was Jonny Evans and Darren Fletcher,' a source explained. 'Rooney had left his scrambled eggs unattended, a cardinal sin, and when he got back they were covered in yoghurt and all sorts. That was it ...'"
Must. Resist. The. Urge. To. Make. Obvious. Rooney. Fitness. Joke.
"One corner, however, will for ever remain linked with Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian striker, a £30.75m signing from Tottenham Hotspur in 2008, was not a great socialiser and would often retire to 'his' table with a bowl of pasta to dine alone."
"Each player has his own favourite dish. Patrice Evra, United's former left back, was a huge fan of lamb cutlets. 'He was like a swarm of locusts when there was lamb on the menu,' one member of staff disclosed. 'Patrice would sit down, get cracking and they would be gone in seconds."'
And now we know what we'll be serving at our dream dinner party ...