Date:Friday October 1 2010
Alan Tate explains to the Evening Post how his loan move from Manchester United to Swansea City all happened, and what involvement Ryan Giggs had in the transfer to the Vetch Field 8 years ago.
The versatile defender has become a massive fans' favourite at Swansea City for his dedication and superb loyalty to the club - a club he has openly said he never wishes to leave.
Brian Flynn - now temporary the manager of the Wales squad, signed Tate back in 2002 as he looked to bring in key signings to boost our chances of avoiding relegation out of the Football League.
Flynn visited the Manchester United training ground as he looked to bring Alan Tate in, and the defender explains how it all happened and Ryan Giggs' involvement:
'I had just finished training and I heard that Brian Flynn was in the building at (United training ground) Carrington looking for me,'
'I just thought I would go up and see him after I'd done what I had to do. I remember me and a few of the lads were in the Jacuzzi, and the next minute I got a tap on the shoulder.
'It was Giggsy. He said 'Go and get changed, get ready and come upstairs with me' — Brian had sent him to come and look for me.
'I went upstairs, sat down, and Ryan introduced me to Flynny. He sat down with us and the first thing Brian said was 'Ryan, shouldn't he come and sign for us'.'
'I remember getting the train and thinking it was the longest journey ever,' he adds through a smile.
'At United we used to play Wrexham quite a lot, so I thought Wales was only about a half an hour or 45 minutes away from Manchester.
'I soon found out that South Wales is totally different from North Wales.'
Tate returned to Old Trafford after his loan spell, but he soon realised that he wanted to be back in Swansea as soon as possible.
'After we stayed up I went back to United, but I wanted to be back in Swansea,'.
'I'd played my last game in front of 10,000 at the Vetch to stay up, then I was back at United getting ready for a reserve game at Altrincham.
'I was down. My mam and dad asked me after that game what was wrong, and I said I wanted to be back down here.
'I'd started to feel a bit better a couple of months later, but then Brian turned up at another reserve game against Wolves.
'That was on the Thursday night, and on the Saturday I started for Swansea against Rochdale. I was over the moon to be honest.'
Tate also talked about his relationship with the Red Devils' boss Alex Ferguson:
'I have spoken to him a few times over the years and he has always said it's good that I've found somewhere and settled,'
'I am still close to Darren Fletcher, and he says Sir Alex always asks how I'm getting on.
'I went up to see Darren when United played Tottenham last season, and the manager asked if I would go and see him. I think he loves to see players staying with clubs.'
Tate then revealed that he thought he could have left Swansea City when Kenny Jackett came in, as they didn't get along at the start of his spell as Swansea manager. There was also the case with Roberto Martinez, who wasn't pleased with his body fat after a summer holiday:
'There have been ups and downs,'
'The first real down was when Kenny (Jackett) came in and we didn't really get on.
'I was young, wanting to be playing and thinking I should be playing.
'After about a year, I got into the team and I ended up winning player of the year once I was in the side.
'To be honest, if it hadn't been for Brian giving me a two-year contract when I signed, I think Kenny would have released me.
'But thankfully me and Kenny grew to like each other.' Next came Roberto Martinez, who played Tate — when fit — throughout the League One title-winning campaign but became a little frustrated with his former team-mate in the wake of promotion.
'I had the infamous party summer in Florida and Vegas and, when I came back, the manager wasn't happy with my body fat percentage,'
'He left me out for four or five months, but I think that's part of the reason why I've got such a good relationship with the fans.
'Everyone makes mistakes. They make mistakes and I make mistakes — it's part of growing up.'
'It's nice to get this far because it's something you look for when you first start and I think it shows that every manager has trusted me,'
'But 500 games has to be the next aim for me and, if I get there, hopefully I can get to 600 or 700.'
Date:Friday October 1 2010
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