Biting Back: Why you should never meet your heroes
The kid initially thought it was a wind-up. It was his first day's work experience in the Belfast Telegraph – and he'd be getting to meet Paul Scholes. The Man United star was in town for a sponsored 'coaching course' at the Blanchflower Stadium and myself – accompanied by the excited youth – went along to interview him.
It turned out to be memorable for us both, but not for the right reasons.
Scholes, sitting in a caravan at the side of the pitch, was surly and uncommunicative.
Inoffensive questions were met by Mancunian, monosyllablic answers. Scholesly might as well have had "I don't want to talk to anybody, about anything, ever" tattooed on his forehead.
It was embarrassing. I felt sorry for the lad with me, who's probably about 25 now and telling all and sundry that "never meet your heroes" really IS good advice.
He has probably also read the news this week that Scholes – who repeatedly shunned the media (no, it wasn't just me) during his stellar playing career – has now signed a lucrative, four-year contract with BT Sport to do what he didn't do that that day – talk about football. Perhaps one of the first things he'll say in his new role is that it is, indeed, a funny old game.