Manchester United coach Benni McCarthy has admitted his “eyes popped out” after seeing the Red Light district in Amsterdam for the first time. The Red Devils appointed the South African as a first-team coach last summer after Erik ten Hag had become the club’s manager.
McCarthy came through the Seven Stars youth system in his homeland before moving to Ajax in 1997 as a 20-year-old. And the ex-striker has explained the different life he was confronted with in the Netherlands.
“It was extremely tough [adjusting],” the 45-year-old said. “I’d come from an underprivileged area where only the strong survive, and entered a world where everything was well-organised and done on time. In joining Ajax, I came from having no rules to being told exactly what to do.
“As for the red light district - fascinating. My eyes popped out of my head looking at nearly-naked and beautiful women in the windows, who looked like they were from magazines. They were calling me. If you tried to speak to a woman in Cape Town they’d chase you away like a dog. And now these women wanted me as I stood in the street. It took me a while to get my head around that.
JUST IN: Richard Keys slams Premier League chiefs for failing John Motson
McCarthy’s spell with Celta Vigo was a disappointing one, but he enjoyed more success after moving to Porto in 2003 and was part of the team that won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho in 2004. He won the Portuguese league in 2004, before helping the side win the league and cup double two years later.
McCarthy left Portugal in 2006 and headed to England, where he racked-up 37 goals in 120 Premier League matches during a three-and-a-half year spell with Blackburn and a 14-month stint with West Ham. He hung up his boots in 2013 after ending his career with Orlando Pirates back in South Africa.
The former star managed Cape Town and AmaZulu after moving into coaching and has helped United rediscover their goal threat this season after agreeing to work as part of the backroom set-up at Old Trafford.