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Wimbledon's Crazy Gang bullies never scared me, says Man United legend Scholes


Vinny Jones

Vinny Jones

Getty Images

Vinny Jones

When I was an apprentice at United, I can remember watching the old Crazy Gang-style Wimbledon on the television and a mate of mine saying: "Imagine you up against Vinnie Jones," with the inference that it would not be a happy outcome for me, writes Paul Scholes.

It turned out that my third league appearance of the 1995-1996 season was against Wimbledon and Jones played.

Intimidated? Never.

The legend of Wimbledon and the fear they put into opponents has been revisited in a new BT Sport documentary about them.

Jones and Andy Thorn were the only survivors of the 1988 FA Cup winning team who played in that game in 1995.

We were certainly never afraid of them and not only because we had players like Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce, Nicky Butt and Roy Keane in the team.

At United we accepted that there were some teams who would try a different tactic to win football matches. Fair enough, we were happy to go head-to-head with them too.

Nicky would go through Jones if there was a ball to be won. There was never any thought of being intimidated.

e I played in a friendly match in Bangkok last week, along with a few others who have won a bit in the game ­­­­- Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Clarence Seedorf, Luis Figo, Patrick Kluivert, Javier Zanetti, Andrei Shevchenko and Steve McManaman amongst them.

Having a drink afterwards, it was interesting to hear what those greats of the game are up to - a bit of coaching, media work, or representing their national football associations. Most of all, everyone really seemed to miss playing at the highest level and games like these, with good players, give me a little bit of the buzz back.

During the game, I noticed Jens Lehmann off his line so I chipped him to score.

Jens is a nice guy and came up to me afterwards to say: "You've been waiting a long time to do that, haven't you?"

He was right. I will never forget him saving my penalty in the 2005 FA Cup final.

Independent News Service