Manchester United appointed Sir Alex Ferguson as manager during the 1985-1986 season after Ron Atkinson won just three of the opening 13 games, leaving us in our worst position since we were relegated in 1974.
Martin Edwards, who was the chairman of the club at the time, has reflected on the decision to give Ferguson the job, and the conversation our manager had with his former chairman at Aberdeen, Dick Donald.
“Our preferred choice was Alex Ferguson,” he said. “That was a unanimous decision of the board. Tottenham had approached him some time before and Arsenal had as well. When Alex spoke to Dick Donald about the last contract he signed, he said that he wanted a clause in that if a big club approached him he’d be allowed to leave. Dick Donald said ‘the only club you’re leaving here for is Manchester United’.”
Before Ferguson signed a contract with United, Donald offered Ferguson the ownership of Aberdeen, hoping this would convince him to stay, but Ferguson felt as though he had achieved everything he could with the Scottish club.
Ferguson was offered the Arsenal job in the summer before he took the United job but wanted to delay his answer as he was going to the World Cup as Scotland manager. Arsenal wanted a decision straight away though so Ferguson stayed with Aberdeen for a few months before taking the United job, whilst the North London club appointed George Graham.
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