Sir Alex Ferguson nearly resigned as Manchester United manager in 1998

It’s never been quite the same at Manchester United since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

David Moyes and Louis van Gaal have both tried and failed to build dynasties of their own in that time.

Jose Mourinho has enjoyed relative success since he took the reins in 2016, winning the EFL Cup and Europa League, but it’s still too early to say whether he’ll triumph in the Premier League.

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The reality is we’re unlikely to ever see a manager of Fergie’s calibre again, at Old Trafford or anywhere else, with a record of 13 league titles, five FA Cups, and two Champions Leagues.

It could all have been very different, though, as there were several occasions when he considered walking away.

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Famously in 2001, he made a u-turn after former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson had shaken hands on an agreement to replace him at the helm.

And the Scotsman’s reign could have ended even earlier, at least according to ex-chairman Martin Edwards.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, he’s revealed how Ferguson actually told him he’d resigned in 1998 after receiving a letter from the board.

Fergie wasn’t happy 

“We hadn’t won anything and to be honest we were dissatisfied,” Edwards explained.

“We wondered if Alex had taken his eye off the ball a little and if his celebrity status and interest in horses had maybe not helped. So we told him our feelings and Roland thought we should follow it up with a letter.

“He received it and came pretty much straight back in to see me. He was furious, saying: ‘If that’s what you think of me then get stuffed… I am resigning’. And off he went.”

Martin Edwards, Alex Ferguson

“I can’t say I was particularly concerned as I thought he would come back. Happily, I was right. He had obviously had a word with somebody. It could have been his solicitor who would have told him that if he resigned he wouldn’t be entitled to any money. But I don’t know, I am speculating.”

Few United fans will need reminding that all this came just a year prior to winning the treble, including a legendary win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Had he quit before the turn of the century, he’d have been denied his promise to “knock Liverpool right off their f***ing perch” too, but the rest, as they say, is history.

Will Mourinho win the league with United? Have your say in the comments. 

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