Sir Alex Ferguson agreed to become Tottenham manager two years before taking over at Manchester United, according to former Spurs chairman Irving Scholar.
The property tycoon and lifelong Tottenham fan, who took control of the north London club in 1982, has revealed that he shook hands with Ferguson, then Aberdeen boss, about taking the reins at White Hart Lane.
With Spurs claiming the UEFA Cup and the FA Cup twice in the previous three seasons, Scholar went against supporters and ousted Keith Burkinshaw in view of Ferguson replacing him.
He was left in a difficult position when the Scotsman decided against a move to the capital, though, reportedly on the basis of his demands of a five-year deal not being met.
“The truth was that I had been talking to and negotiating with Alex Ferguson about a deal," he says in the book ‘White Hart Lane — The Spurs Glory Years’. "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 in 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.”
Ferguson went onto claim 38 trophies throughout his 26 years at Old Trafford, including 13 Premier League titles, and established himself as one of the greatest managers in the history of the game.
If Scholar had got his way, however, he'd have been his manager at Tottenham.
“We went on and on and on, discussions, negotiations, down to the minutiae of the contract," he added.
“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.
“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."