Former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd has revealed that Sir Bobby Robson's departure from the club was the only reason why they didn't sign Wayne Rooney, report talkSPORT.
The England international signed for United in 2004 for close to £30 million.
But Shepherd says Newcastle were on the brink of signing Rooney, before the sacking of Sir Bobby Robson.
“Unfortunately we nearly had a deal done form Rooney was he was leaving Everton. I went to see Bill Kenwright and had the cheque there and was ready to do the deal but when I got back the board decided to dispense with Bobby, so the whole deal fell though," he said.
“I had the money ready for the deal, we were that close. How could we continue with the deal when we were looking for a new manager?
“The new boss might not have wanted Rooney, but Bobby did want Rooney. If Bobby had stayed we would have got him 100%, without a doubt.
The revelations are sure to further frustrate Newcastle fans who were outraged with Robson's sacking to begin with, and these latest comments will further distance the club's fans with the current board who rejected a move for United's Rooney.
Rooney has gone on to forge an impressive career at Old Trafford, while Newcastle endured relegation to the Championship just two years ago.
United recorded a scoreless draw with Newcastle on Tuesday night, after the north-east club earned promotion back to the Premier League last season.
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