The legendary forward has revealed just how close he was to becoming a Red Devil – and Sir Alex Ferguson’s lack of response when he turned them down
England legend Alan Shearer has revealed just how close he was to joining Manchester United over Newcastle in 1996.
Although the striker eventually plumped for his hometown club, only the tenacity of then manager Kevin Keegan to pursue a world-record £15 million ($18m) deal prevented him from making a switch to Old Trafford.
It was no secret that Shearer was wanted by the Red Devils, but he has now lifted the lid on how close he came to signing for the club and the response of Sir Alex Ferguson when he did not.
“I sat down with Kevin Keegan and Sir Alex on the same day,” he explained to the BBC. “I saw Keegan in the morning and talks had gone really, really well.
“Then the Man Utd contingent came in. His first question to me was: ‘Am I seeing you first or am I seeing you second?’ I told him I had seen Kevin in the morning and I won’t tell you his words. He said basically I’ve got no chance, then. He wanted to see me first.
“But I thought the talks went extremely well. I was very impressed with what he had to say.
“I had to go and make a decision. At one point, I was going to Manchester United. But then, I sat down and I got a call from Kevin who asked to see me a day or two later. And I thought: ‘You know what, I’m going to go back to Newcastle. It was the club I always supported and wanted to play for.
“I thought: ‘I’ve got to ring him. I rang him but there was no answer. I thought I couldn’t leave a message. I rang him again but there was still no answer. I left him a message after the third time and no surprise, I never got a call back!
“I’ve got no regrets, I’d do the same again.”
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Meanwhile, he revealed a cheeky request that was rejected by the Scotsman.
“I asked if I could take the penalties. His response to me was: ‘Eric’s on them!’” Shearer said. “He looked at me with those steely eyes as if to tell me that he wasn’t going to tell Eric Cantona that I was going to take them.”
Shearer went on to become a hero for his hometown club, scoring 148 Premier League goals in 303 appearances.