Graeme Souness and Alex Ferguson are legends of rivals Liverpool and Man Utd (Photo: Getty)

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has sensationally revealed that he came very close to replacing Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager.

The former midfielder turned Sky Sports pundit said that he was being lined up to replace his fellow Scot in the late 1980s by a prospective new owner, but the takeover never happened, and Ferguson remained in the Old Trafford dugout.

While unthinkable now, Ferguson’s job at United was constantly under threat in the early days of his managerial career, with the Red Devils suffering from poor form and failing to win a trophy in the first three years since his arrival in 1986.

In 1989, businessman Michael Knighton attempted to buy the club from Martin Edwards with the support of Rangers chairman David Murray and, according to Souness, who was the manager at Ibrox at the time, the pair wanted him at Old Trafford.

‘What happened [was] Michael Knighton appeared in Glasgow, he had an option for Martin Edwards,’ Souness told Virgin Sport.

‘I think it was 75 per cent of Man United that Martin Edwards’ family had. He was getting out.

Ferguson managed Souness during his time as Scotland manager (Photo: Getty)

‘There was a meeting with lawyers, and it was agreed that David would buy Man United and they shook hands on it and went to bed.

‘And what was going to happen I was going to manage Man United, when Fergie was having a very difficult time.’

‘I went to bed thinking I was going to be the next manager of Man United. That would have gone down well wouldn’t it!’

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In the end, the takeover was called off, although Knighton did eventually end up on the United board, with Ferguson staying on and winning his first piece of silverware, the 1990 FA Cup, soon after.

The rest, as they say, is history with Ferguson and United going on to dominate English football for over two decades, winning 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions Leagues, before the Scot retired in 2013.

Souness meanwhile became Liverpool boss in 1991, lifting the FA Cup a year later, adding to the five league titles and three European Cups he won with the Reds as a player.


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