Freddy Shepherd has today revealed that when Kevin Keegan left Newcastle in 1997, they approached Sir Alex Ferguson to replace him.

Speaking with talkSPORT, the former Newcastle chairman revealed that they had been in touch with Ferguson’s people to convince him to leave, just two years before the manager won the Treble with United.

“We went for Sir Alex Ferguson, at the time he was negotiating a new contract at Man United and we spoke to Fergie’s advisors but it didn’t come off,” he said. “His advisors encouraged us to wait a bit longer and further down the line it just died a death. It would have been a great signing after Keegan, he’s always said that the only other club he’d come to is Newcastle. It was recorded at the time, if he ever had to move to. That was years ago.”

Not only did they miss out on Ferguson, but some relatively unknown young manager too.

“Bobby wanted to bring Jose Mourinho to be his assistant manager but I hadn’t even heard of the guy when Bobby wanted to bring him in 2001. Who knows what would have happened if. I didn’t know the guy at the time and Bobby already had an assistant plus he didn’t speak Geordie!”