Former Tottenham Hotspur chairman Irving Scholar has revealed that ex-Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson refused to honour his agreement to take over Spurs two years prior to being installed in the hot seat at Old Trafford.

In 1984 then-manager Keith Burkinshaw left his post at White Hart Lane following an altercation with the North London chiefs, much to the displeasure of the Lilywhites faithful following the former defender’s trio of silverware in the previous three seasons.

It was thought that the Englishman’s replacement had already been lined-up, with Scholar stating he had a pre-agreement in place with the then-Aberdeen gaffer, only for the now-Red Devils legend to then renege.

“The truth was that I had been talking to and negotiating with Alex Ferguson about a deal”, the ex-Tottenham hierarchy-sitter told The Sun.

“He and I had had very long and detailed discussions.

“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 concrete.

“Once you do that, then you do not – under any circumstances whatsoever – you do not go back on it.

“It’s over. I told him that, when I first met him. So we had this big thing about the handshake.”

However, Ferguson’s arrival at White Hart Lane failed to materialise, even though Scholar was sure the new challenge of Tottenham was exactly what the Scot needed.

“We went on and on and on, discussions, negotiations, down to the minutiae of the contract,” added the property tycoon.

“Everything was agreed.

“So I said ‘Can we meet?’, he agreed and I said I’d like him to meet someone else on the board, Paul Bobroff.

“We arranged to meet in Paris on a Sunday morning, just by the airport.

“The idea was this was the moment, the seminal moment of the handshake.

“We’d built up to this for weeks. So we met. I said, ‘Are you ready?’. He replied, ‘I’m ready’.

“I said, ‘Are you sure you’re ready?’. He said, ‘I’m sure’. 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 remained at the Pittodrie Stadium where he went on to win a further league title and a Cup and League Cup double before taking his post south of the border at Manchester United and racking up a further 38 pieces of silverware – making him the most successful British manager in history.
It remains to be seen if the 75-year-old would have enjoyed a similarly successful tenure in North London, however it may well have been sooner than 1961 before Spurs lifted the top-flight trophy once again.


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