Ned Kelly, then Manchester United's head of security, bumped into Hughes in a Manchester nightclub one summer's evening in 1995. Hughes had just severed his ties with Old Trafford to join Chelsea and was out with his wife, Jill. But Kelly remembers the mood was tense.
"Whether it was the lateness of the hour, the strength of the alcohol, or something he had read in the memoirs of Alex Ferguson, Sparky wanted to talk only about his former manager," Kelly recalls in his book Manchester United - The Untold Story. "'Fergie never really rated me as a player,' he complained. 'I was only brought back from Barcelona to keep the fans happy.'"
Kelly remembers telling Hughes "that's bollocks", but to no avail. "Mark refused to listen. He was more interested in berating Fergie. It was sad that one of Old Trafford's most hard-working players who had given such sterling service to the club had spent all those years believing his manager had thought so little of him."