Sir Alex Ferguson was once sensationally lined up to take over at Chelsea by owner Roman Abramovich, according to the journalist who spent 18 years working with the Scot.

Ferguson will take charge of his last ever Manchester United game on Sunday having announced his decision to retire after 26 years in charge at Old Trafford.

Ferguson steps down after winning his 13th Premier League title since joining Manchester United in 1986 this season.

Manchester Evening News reporter Stuart Mathieson trailed the fiery boss for the majority of his time in charge of the Red Devils - and revealed today that Chlesea had wanted him to take over at Stamford Bridge soon after Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

Writing for the MEN, Mathieson has revealed that Ferguson wanted him to publish the story - but still wasn't happy with the outcome.

"On one occasion Ferguson revealed to me Chelsea had wanted him as their manager soon after Roman Abramovich’s takeover," he said. 

"I thought it was one of those off-the-record nuggets I wouldn’t be able to use. So I asked did he want that going public.

"He clearly wanted it out there because he said I could use it no problem, but it was on the understanding I didn’t reveal where it came from. I did have to use some quotes in the piece from him on his desire to stay at Old Trafford.

"The M.E.N. splashed the story on the front page and I was pleased with my exclusive and I assumed, as Fergie was happy for me to run it, so would he. When I rang next day I asked in all innocence “Did you see the Chelsea piece?”

“Yes,” he barked back. “And you made it pretty obvious where it came from too!” Bang, the phone went down!

Of course Abramovich opted for Jose Mourinho as his first managerial appointment, with the 'Special One' guiding the Blues to back-to-back Premier League titles before departing Stamford Bridge in 2007.

Everton boss David Moyes has been announced as Ferguson's successor.


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