Newcastle tried to lure Sir Alex Ferguson from Manchester United after Kevin Keegan's exit in 1997, claims former chairman Freddy Shepherd

Talks took place with Ferguson's advisors about a switch but were ended when Newcastle felt Ferguson was using the club to his own benefit

Newcastle United attempted to lure Sir Alex Ferguson to St James’ Park after Kevin Keegan walked out of the club in 1997, according to former chairman Freddy Shepherd.

However, despite making an approach for the Scot, Shepherd called off talks after he believed the United great was “using” the Tyneside club in order to attract a better deal for himself to remain at Old Trafford.

Shepherd claims that the Magpies were showing their ambition in trying to land the most successful Premier League manager ever to the club, but knew when to accept failure in his pursuit.

“When Keegan left we tried to get Ferguson to Newcastle as his replacement” Shepherd said when speaking to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

“We had talks with his advisors at the time. We soon realised there was no way he was going to come to Newcastle.

“He was just trying to get an increase in salary. We knew we were just being used. We were ambitious, we tried to get him – at least we tried.”

Ferguson went on to win the fourth of 13 Premier League titles during his United career in 1997, with the Magpies holding on to second in the league after they eventually appointed Kenny Dalglish following Keegan’s shock exit in January of 1997.

Shepherd eventually left the club in 2007 when he sold his remaining shares to current owner Mike Ashley, and the club have not won a trophy since 1955 as their silverware draught approaches an incredible 60 years.

But Shepherd did claim victory in one battle as United tried to beat his club to the signing of striker Alan Shearer the year before, when they landed the England international from Blackburn in the summer of 1996.

Then Rovers owner Jack Walker favoured the offer from Newcastle much more than United’s, and even told Shepherd that the asking price was £10m lower for the Tyneside club than their Premier League rivals.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee