How Wigan owner Dave Whelan nearly bought Manchester United for just £11.5m | inside World Soccer

Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan has revealed that he almost bought Manchester United for £11.5 million back in the 1980s before the buyout was aborted as both parties got cold feet.

The JJB Sports founder agreed a deal with then United owner Martin Edwards but after a chat with his wife Patricia, Whelan feared the move could damage his sportswear empire.

He told the Manchester Evening News: "The purchase of Manchester United was all sorted with Martin Edwards and was going to be sealed within 28 days.

"Later I went home and said to my wife Patricia that I'd pulled off a good deal to buy Manchester United. £11.5m was a lot of money then. She said 'what?'.

"I was in JJB and expanding so she said, 'do you think all the people in London, Liverpool, Birmingham will come and shop at your stores when you own Manchester United - the greatest enemy the teams they support have?'.

"I said 'you might have a point'. So instead I went back to Martin Edwards and Manchester United and said the deal is done but told him that if he floated Manchester United on the stock market, he would get a lot more than £11.5m.

"He rang me back four days later and asked if he could be let off the hook with the deal because he wanted to go on the market and I said ok. I would have done the deal but I thought he hadn't thought it through."

The 77-year-old admitted that he regrets not buying the Red Devils but is proud of what he has achieved with Wigan.

Whelan added: "I made the wrong decision in regards to Manchester United, because it is interesting to see what has happened since.

"I should have done the deal but I didn't - but you can't win them all.

"But what I would have done with United I have done with Wigan.

"If I'm talking wealth, Manchester United was the deal. But if I'm talking about doing things for your town and community then I'm very happy with what I have done here in Wigan as it is a good story."


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