Former Northern Ireland winger Keith Gillespie has told how he was once caught red-handed by Sir Alex Ferguson buying drinks in a hotel in the early hours of the morning .
In a wide-ranging interview, the ex-footballer has opened up about life from growing up in Bangor to getting in bother boozing and betting.
Gillespie was part of Manchester United's famous class of 1992 alongside the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville before being sold as part of a deal to bring hotshot striker Andy Cole to Old Trafford.
The former Northern Ireland international, capped 86 times, revealed that he and Fergie enjoyed a great relationship, even though he was once rumbled by him when he was out on the town with pals.
He said: "It was great as long as you kept on the right side of him. I only actually had one problem one time, it's absolutely crazy how it happened.
"I'd been in and around the first team squad. This particular weekend I wasn't in the first team squad, I think we were playing Liverpool on the Saturday, so I knew on the Friday I wasn't in the squad.
"I'm 19 now, I went out on the Friday night with some friends who were over from Northern Ireland and I ended up... this was about half two in the morning, my friends were staying at The Castlefield Hotel.
"So I ended up back there, ordered a couple of bottles of Budweiser and you're walking round to where the sort of sofas are, and I must have got about 10 yards as I walked around the corner from the sofa, and I seen Sir Alex Ferguson sitting on the sofa.
"How's your luck? I was sort of stood staring at him and I don't even know why I did it - I just turned and legged it. Honestly.
"Because he was just staring at me and I was like, 'What do I do?' So I turned and legged it and I never seen him the next day and then on the Monday at the training ground I was sat downstairs and I knew I was going to get called up to the office," he told a Man United podcast. "Kiddo (Brian Kidd) comes down and said, 'The manager wants to see you'. So I went up the stairs and went in and all he said to me was, 'One week's wages for telling the truth, two week's wages for lying.'
"And I said, 'Look boss, they weren't my drinks, they were my friends'.' And he went, 'Two week's wages.'
"And that is the God's honest truth. If you actually read his book, he says about 'I had to fine a young player'. He doesn't actually mention me, but that was me.
"How is your luck? The size of Manchester, the hotels in Manchester and he happens to be in at that time."
But Ferguson didn't hold a grudge when Gillespie went to Newcastle United as part of the Cole deal - he would later bid to buy him back - and he also acted as his agent to hustle a better deal for him.
Gillespie (45) revealed: "I remember going in, we were on £230 a week, and I remember sitting at a round table - Sir Alex, (Kevin) Keegan, Freddie Shepherd the chairman, Freddie Fletcher the chief executive and myself.
"I was sort of sat with my head down and I remember Sir Alex going, 'Well, Keith's on £600 a week at the minute, we want you to double it to £1,200.'
"And Newcastle agreed to it straight away - again, I'm sure Ladbrokes benefited out of that as soon as I got up there."
Gillespie called his autobiography How Not to be a Football Millionaire because of the huge fortune he blew in betting shops - and admitted he started underage gambling at just 16 after going to a bookies with another player.
He added: "I had never been before and that was it, I went with him. I think I've got an addictive personality where just as soon as I was in there, that was me hooked, so that was me every single day there when I wasn't training."
He said at the time he was on YTS wages at Manchester United and after "earning £46.75 a week and, to be fair, probably giving most of that to the bookies that week, there's not an awful lot left".
By the time he was at Newcastle United on bigger wages, he once lost £62,000 in two days. He said: "When I moved to Newcastle, the first five months I was living in a hotel. You know what it's like, you finish training at 12 and the rest of the day is your own.
"The rest of the players have wives, kids, families to go home to - I'm going back to an empty hotel room. So my afternoons were always in the bookies."
And then he got a number to ring his bets in. "And before that, if you're going into a bookies, you can only lose what's in your pocket and that's fine. Now you ring up and you're talking just numbers."
Things started to come to a head when they travelled to Stoke City for an away cup game on a Wednesday night and while players were sent for a nap before the evening kick-off, Gillespie was on the phone betting instead.
He said: "I used to room with (David) Ginola, he's sleeping within about five minutes, but now I've got this bookie where I can ring up. So I'm backing the horses all afternoon and I won about three-and-a-half grand.
"I actually remember my hotel bill because again no mobile phones, I'm using the hotel phone in the afternoon to ring up to listen to the commentary for the races and my phone bill was £198 for the afternoon.
"I'm just about to leave the hotel and it came into my head - 2-0, 2-1, 3-0 and 3-1 - so I rang up. Peter Beardsley hadn't scored in a while so I had £500 on him for first goal but then I had £500 doubles on him to score and the four results.
"So Peter Beardsley scored the first goal after 40 minutes - never ran as fast in my life to kiss Peter Beardsley, I'll tell you that now.
"About two minutes later we were 2-0 up so everything's looking great, my bet's winning. I had a cross-shot, keeper parried it out, Les Ferdinand scored, 3-0.
"The problem for me was, there's half an hour left. So I was going backwards, I wasn't wanting to go forward any time I got the ball. Before that any time I got the ball I was running at players, now I had no interest in going forward."
Gillespie said he was even willing rival player Paul Peschisolido to score when he was through on goal because a 3-1 scoreline has better odds to win him more money, but he missed.
Instead, Newcastle defender Darren Peacock ruined Gillespie's night.
He said: "Darren wasn't a goalscorer but the ball dropped to him in the box and he rifled it into the top of the net and everyone is running and jumping on top of him - except me. I was trudging back to the halfway line thinking, 'You've just cost me £52,000'."
Two days later came a £47,000 betting binge before losing another £15,000 on the team bus on the Saturday as they travelled to a Sunday game. But after the press got wind of his gambling debts, the then 20-year-old star was forced to seek help and the club helped him pay up by giving him an advance on his wages.
He said Keegan also put a protective arm around him and invited him to family dinner to sort it all out and "was absolutely brilliant with it".