How Manchester United lied to sign Sir Alex Ferguson in 1986 | inside World Soccer

How Manchester United lied to sign Sir Alex Ferguson in 1986

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

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Former Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards has revealed the cloak and dagger tactics used to snare Sir Alex Ferguson from Aberdeen in 1986.

Edwards targetted then-Aberdeen boss Ferguson as the curtain looked certain to come down on Ron Atkinson's United career following a 4-1 League Cup defeat to Southampton.

After seeing the success Ferguson had with Aberdeen, it seemed Edwards was willing to go to unusual lengths to ensure he got his man, even lying to Aberdeen in the process.

The Red Devils were so desperate to snare Fergie that a club director rang the Dons and pretended to be Gordon Strachan's agent in a bid to speak to him.

Speaking on the Warm Down podcast, Edwards said:

Obviously I couldn't just pick up the phone to the secretary at Aberdeen and say "this is Martin Edwards, can I speak to Alex Ferguson."

So one of my directors came up with the idea of getting on the phone, put on a Scottish accent and say they were Gordon Strachan's agent or account or whatever.

As soon as I was able to speak to Alex I just said "is it worth us coming up for a talk" and he gave us the right vibes.

So we agreed to meet that night. It was pre-Ron being fired.

Once the Old Trafford hierarchy had decided to sack Atkinson, Edwards had only one replacement in mind.

There was no shortlist. I'd met Alex as part of the Strachan deal when we brought Gordon Strachan in during Ron's time.

We had a problem then as Strachan had already signed a contract with Cologne, but Aberdeen wanted to get more money from us. So Alex was keen for Strachan to come to us, as it meant more money for him and the Aberdeen kitty.

He was helpful with us getting Strachan, so that's when I personally got to know Fergie.

So with the success he had with Aberdeen, to win three championships and four Scottish cups, but the real highlight was beating Real Madrid in the Cup Winners' Cup. We knew he could do it on a European front too, it was a major factor.

And the rest, as they say, is history as Ferguson went on to win 13 Premier League trophies, five FA Cups and two Champions League titles in his 27-year career at Old Trafford.

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