News

Sir Alex Ferguson went back on “concrete” agreement to manage Spurs, says ex-chairman

Sir Alex Ferguson went back on “concrete” agreement to manage Spurs, says ex-chairman

Sir Alex Ferguson changed his mind on a “concrete” agreement to manage Tottenham Hotspur two years before he joined Manchester United, according to former Spurs chairman Irving Scholar.

In 1984, Keith Burkinshaw left Spurs following a disagreement with the board despite winning the UEFA Cup and two FA Cups in three years.

Defending In Numbers is a new Deezer Originals football podcast, created by Squawka. Listen to the latest episode and subscribe to the podcast on Deezer and iTunes.

According to Scholar the club approached Ferguson, then-Aberdeen manager, and had shaken hands on a deal before the Scot went back on the agreement.

“The truth was that I had been talking to and negotiating with Alex Ferguson about a deal,” Scholar told the Sun. “He and I had had very long and detailed discussions.

“I told him that I was a very old-fashioned type of chap and that the most important thing was that once you agree something, once you shake someone’s hand, it’s concrete.

“Once you do that, then you do not – under any circumstances whatsoever – you do not go back on it. It’s over. I told him that, when I first met him. So we had this big thing about the handshake.

“We went on and on and on, discussions, negotiations, down to the minutiae of the contract.

“Everything was agreed. So I said ‘Can we meet?’, he agreed and I said I’d like him to meet someone else on the board, Paul Bobroff. We arranged to meet in Paris on a Sunday morning, just by the airport.

“The idea was this was the moment, the seminal moment of the handshake. We’d built up to this for weeks. So we met. I said, ‘Are you ready?’. He replied, ‘I’m ready’.

“I said, ‘Are you sure you’re ready?’. He said, ‘I’m sure’. So we had this seminal moment of the handshake. As you know, unfortunately, he didn’t keep to it.

“He never told me why. I had my own theories but it doesn’t matter anymore. It was a disappointment. He stayed at Aberdeen for another two years.”

In his final two years at Aberdeen, Ferguson won a league title and Cup and League Cup double to add to his league win in 1980, three consecutive Scottish Cup wins from 1982 to 1984 and the 1983 European Cup Winners Cup.

The greatest Premier League manager

Ferguson then went on to join Manchester United in 1986 and, despite a slow start to life in England, went on to become the most successful manager in English football history.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s achievements at Manchester United led the club to erect a statue of the manager outside Old Trafford

In his 27 years at United Ferguson won 24 trophies, finishing a season trophy-less on just eight occasions.

Winning 13 Premier League titles, Ferguson saw United overtake Liverpool as the most successful club in English football with a further five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League completing his haul.

Manchester United have scored a league-high 7 set-piece goals in the Premier League so far this season

English Premier League

Manchester United

Tottenham Hotspur