Sir Alex Ferguson has often said that not managing to bring Paul Gascoigne to Manchester United, the man who our manager has described as “the best player of his era”, was one of his biggest regrets.
“Around 1987, when Newcastle were bobbing above the relegation zone, we played them and my three central midfielders that day were Bryan Robson, Norman Whiteside and Remi Moses,” Ferguson said last year. “All great footballers and he just tore them apart. Robbo and Whiteside were chasing him up and down the pitch and they couldn’t get near him. We spoke to him the night before I went on holiday. He says ‘Go and enjoy yourself Mr Ferguson, I’ll be signing for Manchester United’. So I went on my holidays but Martin Edwards rang and said ‘I’ve got some bad news – he signed for Tottenham. They bought a house for his mother and father in the North East and that swung it’.”
Just this week Ferguson confirmed the frustration he still felt at never seeing Gazza in a United shirt, which is a sentiment Gascoigne has today agreed with.
“Maybe if I had stayed at Man U I might have been still there,” said Gazza. “I don’t know, you just look at these players and the squad of young kids that play, young Rooney that’s there, the Neville Brothers and Becks, the way Ferguson just brought them on and there are so many. I got invited to the academy and it is a magnificent place and you can see the way he treats his players, he treats them with respect but he also makes men out of boys. It took me six years to get back talking to Sir Alex, I called him from Lazio and asked him would he re-sign us. He was with Eric Cantona and he said he would see what Eric Cantona was going to do but I think everyone knows if you do something to Sir Alex Ferguson the way I did you don’t get a second chance.”