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Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly shook hands in Paris on a “concrete” agreement to become Tottenham Hotspur manager two year before he took over at Manchester United.
However, the man widely regarded as the greatest British manager of his generation left the North London and chairman in the lurch by backing out on the deal that had been seemingly secured in 1984.
In the new book ‘White Hart Lane — The Spurs Glory Years’, lifelong Spurs fan Scholar explained how he firmly believed he had a deal in place with Ferguson after extensive talks.
Scholar revealed, as cited by the Sun: “The truth was that I had been talking to and negotiating with Alex Ferguson about a deal. 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 in 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.”
By May of 1984, Scholar revealed it was almost a done deal, although the former United boss has subsequently claimed that Spurs were not prepared to give him the five-year contract he wanted in order to quit Aberdeen.
Scholar, a successful property tycoon who took control of Tottenham in 1982, added: “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.”
One will likely not know if Sir Alex Ferguson would have created a descent at Tottenham in the same way that he did during his remarkable 27-year Manchester United reign. However, it will be agonizing for the Spurs fans that their club came so close to sealing would have been a sensational deal for the managerial all-time great. It will not have been lost on Tottenham fans that their club hired and fired 15 managers while Ferguson swept up the trophies at Old Trafford.