Jaap Stam addresses an infamous quote about Gary and Phil Neville from his 2001 autobiography

Reading manager was a team-mate of the brothers at Manchester United

BY Raf Diallo 18:56 Friday 6 January 2017, 18:56 6 Jan 2017

Jaap Stam and Gary Neville in 2001. Picture by Adam Davy EMPICS Sport

One of the more memorable quotes from the 2001 autobiography of former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam was a reference to Gary and Phil Neville as "busy c****".

The book titled Head to Head would cause a stir and it didn't take long for the former Netherlands international to be sold by the Manchester club's long time manager Alex Ferguson, with Stam ending up at Serie A side Lazio.

The 44-year-old is now manager at Reading, and with the way the stars have aligned, the English Championship club have been drawn with his former club Manchester United in the third round of this season's FA Cup.

Naturally, events of the past have been raised, and Stam addressed his Old Trafford career and departure in an interview with The Telegraph's Jason Burt.

But he also drew a line over the book's rather blunt summation of opinions of the Neville brothers back in 2001.

Stam insisted that despite the description of the pundit duo as "busy c****", he in fact had plenty of time for them all along.

“It’s not an autobiography. It was about how we as a team worked, to give inside information about how we worked at United, you know – and how we talked to each other and how critical we were to each other… we were like sharp and sarcastic," he said.

Phil Neville

"That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them. I liked the Neville brothers very much, Phil and Gary."

Gary Neville had previously stated that he had never had any issue with Stam even after the publication of the autobiography in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.

Both he and Phil also raised the context in which Stam's comments were made in an interview with FourFourTwo back in 2003, stating that in their view, Stam was speaking positively of them.

"If you actually read the page from which it was taken, I don’t think he could have been any more complimentary about us," said Gary Neville, who also revealed that Stam had rang him as the Dutchman was "gutted about" the way remarks had been portrayed.

Stam takes his side to Old Trafford to face Mourinho's side for a 12.30pm kick off on Saturday, with a place in the fourth round at stake.

As a player, the Dutchman won the FA Cup once, that triumph coming in 1999 as part of United's famous treble that season.

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