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"When I first came down, the old way of doing things was I'd phone the manager to negotiate and the two chairmen or secretaries would get together to finalise it. Those days are gone now."

- Sir Alex Ferguson

27/11/2012 11:03, Report by Adam Marshall

Sir Alex's classic call

Sir Alex Ferguson recalled the famous telephone call with Leeds United about Eric Cantona when discussing Robin van Persie's arrival from Arsenal.

Speaking exclusively to Inside United recently, the boss admitted the capture of the Dutchman was a throwback to the old days as he had to ring Arsene Wenger to help smooth the deal.

"It was the first time I've had to speak to a manager personally for a long while," he stated. "When I first came down, the old way of doing things was I'd phone the manager to negotiate and the two chairmen or secretaries would get together to finalise it. Those days are gone now. I suppose with the advent of agents' involvement in deals, I'll quite happily sit out of it because I can't be bothered with it. Our chief executive David Gill does all that now but, in this situation, I think the phone call to Arsene helped."

The discussion that led to Cantona signing in 1992 was relived by former Leeds managing director Bill Fotherby this week and Sir Alex has similar recollections of the fateful phone-call.

"Well, Leeds' Bill Fotherby phoned up looking for Denis Irwin and that's a perfect example of how things were done in those days," added the manager. "I was in the office with Martin Edwards when he phoned and I scribbled on Martin's page 'Cantona' so he says: 'What about Cantona? Is he available?'

"There was silence from Fotherby for a minute or two and then he said: 'He could be'. An hour later, he phoned back and said: 'Yes but we want £900,000'. You don't get them any more!"

More: Fotherby recalls Cantona call | November 1992 BC (Before Cantona) | A moment in time

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