Sir Alex Ferguson broke a promise to take over at Tottenham two years before joining Manchester United, according to former Spurs chairman Irving Scholar.
In a new book being serialised in The Sun — “White Hart Lane — The Spurs Glory Years” — Irving claimed he shook hands with Ferguson in a “concrete” agreement in 1984 for him to replace Keith Burkinshaw as Tottenham manager.
Ferguson was in charge of Aberdeen at the time and would stay at Pittodrie for two more years before joining United in 1986 and transforming them into the most successful club in British history.
Ferguson won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League trophies during his time at Old Trafford, while Tottenham, who turned to Peter Shreeves instead, have won just three domestic trophies over the same period.
“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,” Scholar said.
“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.”
He added: “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. It was a disappointment. He stayed at Aberdeen for another two years.”
Ferguson has previously revealed he rejected the chance to manage Tottenham’s North London rivals Arsenal, considering the job in 1986 before taking over as United boss.
Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.