Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Yes, We Tried to Get Ferguson after KK, but It Wasn't to Be; in the Final Part of LEE RYDER'S Interview with Freddy Shepherd He Reveals the Ambitious Plan for a New Boss

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Yes, We Tried to Get Ferguson after KK, but It Wasn't to Be; in the Final Part of LEE RYDER'S Interview with Freddy Shepherd He Reveals the Ambitious Plan for a New Boss

Article excerpt

KEVIN KEEGAN'S walk-out on Newcastle United in 1997 rocked Tyneside just months after the Messiah had one hand on the Premier League trophy.

Sure, Special K has threatened to quit before when he didn't get his way with the transfers, but this time he wasn't coming back any time soon as United's bid for the title began to falter.

And with United going for the top shelf when it came to building a team on the field, they also tried to pull off what would have been the appointment of the century when they tried to replace Keegan with none other than Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson - the man who had just denied the club their first title triumph since 1927.

In the final part of an exclusive and enthralling interview with the Chronicle, Shepherd, who had pipped Man United to the signature of Alan Shearer just months earlier, said: "When Keegan left we tried to get Ferguson to Newcastle as his replacement.

"We had talks with his advisors at the time."

The Red Devils were still reeling after losing out on PS15m man Alan Shearer to the black-and-whites.

Then, Man U chief Martin Edwards and Shepherd had a gentleman's agreement to keep each in the loop to make it a fair fight for the England No 9. Shepherd said that after United's audacious approach for Fergie, Man United were quickly in touch.

He picked up the story: "Martin rang and said to me, 'Have you got anything to tell me?' "I said, 'No.' ".' "He said 'What if I said, "Ferguson", what would you say?' "I was on a boat at the time and I nearly fell off it."

However, Shepherd soon figured out that the man who won the title 13 times at Old Trafford, plus two Champions League titles, was "using" the Magpies.

Shepherd said: "We soon realised there was no way he was going to come to Newcastle.

"He was just trying to get an increase in salary. We knew were just being used. Kevin had left and we tried to get Ferguson but that's as far as we got.

"We were ambitious, we tried to get him - at least we tried. …

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