Former Manchester United icon Andy Cole has lifted the lid on his hatred for old team-mate Teddy Sheringham, revealing the pair never spoke a word to each other during their time at Old Trafford together.
While most attribute their fall-out to an incident in February 1998, when Sheringham pointed the finger of blame at the striker when Bolton scored past United, Cole admits their rivalry began on England duty in 1995 – when he was snubbed with a handshake.
“You’ll need to understand what was in my head at that moment to get even close to comprehending my reaction to what happened next.
“I was so nervous it was frightening. This was the culmination of a lifetime of ambition. You hear the cliche ‘It means everything to play for my country’. But trust me, it did.
“Not just for me, but for my family, my parents especially, who had endured all kinds of hardships to give us the chances we had. Becoming a pro had been incredible. Now the magnitude of playing for England was indescribable. The moment has arrived.
“I walk on to the pitch, 60,000 or so watching. Sheringham is coming off. I expect a brief handshake, a ‘Good luck, Coley’, something. I am ready to shake. He snubs me. He actively snubs me, for no reason I was ever aware of then or since. He walks off. I don’t even know the bloke so he can’t have any issue with me. We’re fellow England players, it is my debut and he snubs me.
“You know what my immediate thoughts were? ‘How many people just saw Teddy Sheringham do that to me?’ I was embarrassed. I was confused. And there you have it. From that moment on, I knew Sheringham was not for me.”
In 1997, after Eric Cantona left United, Sheringham arrived at Old Trafford. However, Cole has insisted that despite their impressive working relationship on the field, which included winning the treble in 1999, there was no cordiality off it.