Scholar: Sir Alex Ferguson almost replaced Burkinshaw

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Oh how it may have been so different.

Sir Alex Ferguson had agreed become the Tottenham manager two years before he began his trophy laden 27-year spell in charge of Manchester United before backing out of the idea , according to former Spurs chairman Irving Scholar.

General  Burkinshaw left the hot seat at White Hart Lane in 1984, much to the annoyance of the Spurs faithful,after a disagreement with the board, despite having lead the club to the UEFA Cup and two FA Cup victories in the previous three campaigns.

The former chairman said he believed he had landed Burkinshaw’s replacement, having shaken hands on a deal to bring in Fergie, only for the now legendary Scot to go back on that agreement.

Ferguson was Scholar’s first choice, having lead Aberdeen to a league title, three successive Scottish Cup victories and a 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup final against Real Madrid.

“The truth was that I had been talking to and negotiating with Alex Ferguson about a deal,” Scholar revealed to 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.” However Ferguson and Tottenham never happened.

Scholar continued  “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.”

The rest they say is history.

So it could all have been different but we’ll never know. I wonder what path he may have brought the club. It certainly would have been interesting.

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