There aren’t going to be many players who have said ‘no’ to Sir Alex Ferguson over the years. When one of the greatest managers of all time tells you he wants you to play for his team, the expected response is to ask where you have to sign.
Darren Anderton is one of those rare few who turned us down though, instead preferring to sign another contract with Tottenham Hotspur when Ferguson asked him to join United to replace Andrei Kanchelskis in 1995.
He was persuaded to stay where he was, only to be hit by a series of injuries. In the remaining thirteen years of his career after rejecting a United move, Anderton played over thirty games on just two occasions.
Does he regret it? Of course he does!
“I don’t have many regrets, but with hindsight, when Manchester United came along in 1995 maybe I should have gone,” said Anderton. “I had a clause in my contract at Tottenham saying I could leave if another club offered so much, which United did. I spoke with Alex Ferguson and he wanted me to go there. But the following day I went to see Spurs chairman Alan Sugar and he wouldn’t let me leave his house until I had signed a new deal. He looked after me, to be fair, and I signed the deal. But perhaps I should have gone. After that I picked up injuries and United went on to win the title. Had I left, I would have had a Premier League medal to my name. But my decision to stay at Spurs opened the door for Becks and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s where it all started for Becks — and I hope he remembers that! I like to think I was responsible for giving his career a helping hand.”