Pep Guardiola was Manchester United's first choice to replace Sir Alex Ferguson

His eventual successor, David Moyes, may only have been sixth-choice

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Pep Guardiola was his first choice to succeed him as Manchester United manager.

In his new book Leading, Ferguson reveals that he met the former Barcelona coach in September 2012, while the Spaniard was on sabbatical in the United States, with a view to convincing him to fill the forthcoming managerial vacancy at Old Trafford.

“I had dinner with Pep Guardiola in New York in 2012," he writes, "...but couldn’t make him any direct proposal because retirement was not on my agenda at that point.


Ferguson reveals that he asked Guardiola to contact him before accepting any other role. However, four months later, without any prior notice given to Ferguson, Bayern Munich announced that Guardiola would replace their coach Jupp Heynckes at the end of the season and United were forced to look at other candidates.

Jose Mourinho was discounted on the belief he had an agreement to join Chelsea with Carlo Ancelotti, another target, ready to replace the Portuguese coach at Madrid. Jurgen Klopp was believed to be settled and happy at Borussia Dortmund and Louis van Gaal, the current United manager, was engaged with the Netherlands in their World Cup campaign.

Ferguson's eventual successor, David Moyes, therefore appears to have been sixth choice in the list of preferred successors. Upon his appointment, the former Everton boss was hailed as dour Glaswegian moulded in Ferguson's image, an ideal successor, and awarded a six-year contract with the club.

David Moyes' tenure at Manchester United was short-lived

His reign was ultimately disastrous, with the defending champions finishing seventh and failing to qualify for European competition. Moyes was sacked before the end of the season following a 2-0 reverse to his former club Everton, the defeat that ruled out Champions League qualification.

“I’m sure there are things that David would do differently if he had the opportunity to relive his time at Old Trafford,” Ferguson writes. “Such as keeping Mick Phelan [Ferguson’s assistant], who would have been the invaluable guide to the many layers of the club that Ryan Giggs is to Louis van Gaal today.

“There is no point suddenly changing routines that players are comfortable with. It is counterproductive, saps morale and immediately provokes players to question the new man’s motives. A leader who arrives in a new setting, or inherits a big role, needs to curb the impulse to display his manhood.”


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