This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
The greatest manager of all-time debate is naturally subjective, so you’re never going to get a definitive answer. However, when you consider the debate, there a few names that simply cannot be ignored, as previously compiled by France Football via Four Four Two. Arrigo Sacchi, Rinus Michels, Pep Guardiola are a few – but probably none of them crops up as much as Sir Alex Ferguson.
It might be of interest to Wolves fans then that they were once linked with the Scot, and according to his biography, they offered him the job and even got him down to Wolverhampton. Indeed, given suggestions one of the club’s best managers in recent years – Nuno – could leave the club for Arsenal, looking back at their previous managerial searches seem all the more relevant.
Admittedly, they were after a different Sir Alex to what we know today, but he was still one of the biggest managerial prospects at the time, and few would have believed then what he would achieve.
At the time, the East Midlands club were a much bigger animal than they are now and would have had more clout to bring a big-name manager to the club. Considering this advancement came in 1982, they had won the league title as recently as ’59, the FA Cup as recently as ’60, UEFA Cup final losers in ’72 and the League Cup champions in ’80 (per The Football Network) – though they weren’t the team they were in times gone by.
Aberdeen and Fergie were also pretty successful, though. At that time he had managed to wrestle the title off Rangers and Celtic to win just their second title in 1980 and had also won the Scottish Cup in the 82′ season.
Tim Spiers wrote more about the situation in the Express and Star. Apparently, Wolves were able to bring the coach down to England, however, it didn’t take him long for him to make his mind up.
Apparently, the Scotsman wasn’t impressed with the welcome he received or the questions he was receiving, and ultimately decided he’d be better off at Aberdeen. He even described the place as a “ghost town”.
Spiers’ report goes onto quote some of Patrick Barclay’s biography on Ferguson called ‘Football – Bloody Hell!’ from 2010.
It says that the coach had warned Aberdeen chairman Dick Donald at the time that he was going to speak to them, with £50,000-per-year on the table, but he flew back to Aberdeenshire “more appreciative of his surroundings than ever”.
The book reads (via Express and Star): ‘The secretary had picked me up at Birmingham Airport and told me I was going to meet the board’ he said. ‘I asked why. He said they wanted to interview me. “I’m not here for an interview,” I said. “You’ve offered me the job.” So I went, but the questions were unbelievable’.
The final straw greeted him at the stadium. ‘It was an afternoon and there was only one person working there – Jack Taylor, the former referee, who was on the commercial side. The place was like a ghost town. I couldn’t get on the plane quick enough.’
Regrettably, for Wanderers fans, it was undoubtedly the best call for his career. Just one year on he had won the Cup Winners’ Cup for Aberdeen after beating Real Madrid in the final and then we all know what happened at Manchester United.
Things might be good for Wolves now, but who knows what could have happened if he had joined them back in 1982.
What would have happened had Sir Alex joined Wolves? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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