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“I thought it was a joke when I found out in a chip shop that Manchester United wanted to sign me.”

In 2012, Man United signed Alexander Buttner, a defender from the Netherlands, after the player learned of the club’s interest while in a chip store.

Alexander Buttner has acknowledged that he believed Manchester United was pulling a practical joke on him when he learned they were interested in signing him when he was out with some buddies at a neighborhood chip shop.

After putting up a number of standout performances for Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands, the defender began to draw interest from a number of English teams, including Southampton and QPR. Nevertheless, he signed a five-year contract in August 2012, sealing a move to Old Trafford against all odds.

The now 34-year-old De Graafschap player nearly hung up on his agent when she told him that United was interested in securing a contract over the phone because he believed the entire thing to be a joke. Before departing in 2014, he made a total of 28 appearances for the team, contributing two goals and three assists for the £5 million they paid to get him.

The former Netherlands Under-21 international has opened up about how he found out about United’s interest more than ten years after moving to Old Trafford, admitting he was in a chip shop with several buddies at the time. The degree of celebration following his revelation was so great that he said the chip store went ‘upside down’.

“I was eating a big portion of chips with some mates and my brother when I got this call from my agent,” said Buttner. It was very strange because, just a few weeks earlier, I had been considering English clubs at an entirely different level. Sunderland, Southampton, and Queens Park Rangers.

“I had assumed that I would join with one of those teams. Was Manchester United suddenly interested in me?

I told my agent, ‘Take a picture of me with the book and we’ll pretend I’m in England to sign with Man United,’ thinking it was a huge practical joke.’ I had been visiting one of the other teams and saw a Manchester United book at one of the stadiums. My pals knew that I had traveled to England, so I thought it would be a cracker.

“A week later, while I was at the chip store, my agent called and said, ‘Alex, it’s Manchester United.'” He was serious, but all I could think was, ‘f**k off’. All eyes on me, wondering what the heck was going on.

“We are heading to Manchester,” I declared as all of my friends turned to face me. Everyone then lost their minds. The chip store was inverted.

It was a very wonderful occasion. In the nearby chip store, you’re celebrating the largest transfer of your life. My friends went crazy as my brother leaped onto the table.”

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