Football

Dermot Desmond Reveals He Tried To Lure Fergie To Celtic In 1990s

Dermot Desmond Reveals He Tried To Lure Fergie To Celtic In 1990s

Could you ever imagine Alex Ferguson leaving Manchester United for another club? It seems bizarre to think about now, with the Scot spending 27 years at Old Trafford before retiring in 2013.

However, it was not all that far away from happening at one point.

Ferguson's struggles early in his tenure are well documented, but he also considered walking away from the club just as he was beginning to build his dynasty. It was for a team north of the border.

In an interview with The Athletic, Celtic's majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has revealed that he attempted to lure Alex Ferguson to Glasgow back in 1997.

While the Scot considered it, he ultimately said his ambition was to win the Champions League with Manchester United. Even though he would not take the job himself, Ferguson did have a major role to play in Celtic appointing another manager a few years later.

I had asked Alex Ferguson to be manager of Celtic around 1997 and I offered to pay the money myself, twice the salary he was on at Manchester United. He said he would like to consider it, even though he had a Rangers background.

He said, ‘I’d like to do it, to follow in the footsteps of Jock Stein,’ but he said his overriding ambition was to win the Champions League with Manchester United. In fact, my good friend JP McManus and I were his guests at the (1999) final in Barcelona, where he fulfilled his dream.

In 2000, I went back and asked him if he was to pick his replacement at that time who would it be. He said there were three people: Dave O’Leary, Alan Curbishley and Martin O’Neill. I said the one I’m interested in is Martin O’Neill...

I then asked Alex if he would speak with Martin, to see if he would meet with me, and the response was that he would be very interested in meeting.

So I met Martin for dinner and we got on very well. I introduced him to Pat and Brian and they also felt he was a remarkable individual, so we hired Martin.

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You can read the interview in full here.

Could you imagine Ferguson patrolling the line at Parkhead?

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Gary Connaughton

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