Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson was targeted by Newcastle United after the departure of Kevin Keegan in 1997, according to the Tyneside club's former chairman Freddy Shepherd.

The Daily Mail reports how St James' Park officials held talks with Ferguson's advisors about a potential change of jobs, but it became quite clear that ex-Red Devils boss was simply using the interest as a bargaining tool for a bumper new contract.

"When Keegan left we tried to get Ferguson to Newcastle as his replacement" Shepherd told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

"We had talks with his advisors at the time. We soon realised there was no way he was going to come to Newcastle.

"He was just trying to get an increase in salary. We knew we were just being used. We were ambitious, we tried to get him – at least we tried."

Keegan rocked Newcastle when he tendered his resignation in January of the 1996/97 campaign, a year that Manchester United went on to win the Premier League title, which was Ferguson's fourth at Old Trafford.

The Magpies eventually appointed Kenny Dalglish and ended up finishing as runners-up for the second consecutive season.

Ferguson meanwhile enjoyed nine more top-flight English title successes before calling time on his managerial career, leaving Manchester United after delivering 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.

David Moyes was the man appointed as Ferguson's successor last summer, and it's been far from a straightforward debut campaign with the champions way down in seventh place in the table and unlikely to even qualify for Europe's elite club competition next year.

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#Manchester United
#Newcastle United
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#Premier League