I met up with the big man from Ferrybank the day after Stephen Hunt’s wedding in Bansha, Co Tipperary. “Yeah, it was a great day alright,” beamed John. “We had played for Ireland in Craven Cottage on Thursday so we charted a flight to Waterford for the wedding yesterday (Friday). It was worth it because we had a smashing time. The wedding was in Kilmoyler Church, Tipperary. Stephen has been a friend of mine for a long time. We play golf together and I wish him and Joanne every best wish for the future.”
When I asked him about Manchester United’s magnificent double (Premiership and Champions League) John smiled even broader. “It was an incredible season in many ways. Chelsea ran us close for the league but overall I felt we deserved the title because we never left our guard down all through the campaign. Winning the Champions League capped off a wonderful season. I don’t know who stopped me from getting on to the pitch, but I have a fair idea, but nevertheless to be named as a substitute was good considering the panel of players we have at the club.
“The manner of the victory and the anniversary of Munich  and the clubs first ever European victory  made it even more special. It is nice to be the first Waterford-born player to win a European Cup medal.”
When quizzed about his future with the club, John made it clear that he is very happy at Old Trafford. “Manchester United is a very special club. They have treated me very well. I would like to nail down one position eventually but for now I am more than pleased with my lot.”
He was also loud in his praise of the new Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni. “He reminds me very much of Sir Alex Ferguson. He likes nothing more than to get out on the training pitch and get his ideas over to the players. There is a complete new approach to training and all of the lads enjoyed our sessions and indeed the game in Craven Cottage [Ireland beat Columbia 1-0].
“Given the rub of the green I fell we can do very well in the World Cup qualifying group under Trapattoni.”
With the close season getting shorter and shorter for successful players like John – Manchester United report back in early July – he was heading to Cyprus for a week before heading off to Italy for Wayne Rooney’s wedding. John, 27, has just got engaged to his long-time Waterford-born girlfriend, Yvonne Manning.