After the release of his autobiography in 2001, including claims that United had made an illegal approach for him, United moved quickly to ditch their defensive kingpin to Lazio for £16.5million.
Now Stam has revealed the details of his D-day with United and boss Sir Alex Ferguson. Stam, 40, told the Sunday Mirror: “I soon realised the club wanted to get rid of me. They also needed the money. Very soon the book became an issue again.
“It led to a conflict between me and the manager.
“One morning I told him what I thought and left the training ground on the spot. On the way home I received a phone call in my car from Fergie’s secretary. She said that he wanted to speak to me. He came on the phone straightaway.
“Ferguson said: ‘Where are you?’ “I said: ‘Close to my house, at a petrol station.’ Ferguson said: ‘Wait there!’ “He jumped in his car and came straight to me.
“At the petrol station he parked his car and got in with me.
“He told me that I had to be transferred. Then he said: ‘Will you please move to Lazio quickly?’
“I agreed to do it. Right there and then. One quick conversation in my car at a petrol station in Manchester was enough for me to leave that big club. When I think about it now, and I have never talked about it before, I find it unbelievable
“I let that, as a player, happen to me.’’