Gazza holds off Lee Martin.

Sir Alex still rues missed Gazza opportunity

Monday 24 May 2021 12:42

Sir Alex Ferguson admits he still regrets missing out on the signing of Paul Gascoigne, as he feels the former England international would have been best served by joining Manchester United.

Our legendary ex-manager spoke to actor Christopher Eccleston in advance of this week's full release of his must-watch documentary 'Never Give In'.

Gazza had blown Sir Alex away with his performances for Newcastle United against his Reds side and he was determined to buy him in 1988, before he would light up the 1990 World Cup with England.

Must-watch: Our big interview with Sir Alex Video

Must-watch: Our big interview with Sir Alex

FULL INTERVIEW: Treat yourself by watching all 42 minutes of our fascinating chat with Sir Alex…

A deal was set up and Ferguson was convinced he would be able to land the midfielder, only for Tottenham to win the race by agreeing a British record £2.2 million deal with Newcastle.

The Geordie genius helped Spurs win the FA Cup in 1991 but his only other club honours came with Rangers in 1996 and 1997. There was a sense he never fulfilled his incredible potential, partially down to the knee injury he sustained in that 1991 cup final against Nottingham Forest, prior to a switch to Lazio.

"We lost one game there [at St James' Park] on a Bank Holiday Monday, 2-1, and Gascoigne had just come back from injury," said Sir Alex. "He was unbelievable. He was incredible. I played a midfield of [Remi] Moses, [Bryan] Robson and [Norman] Whiteside and he nutmegged Moses right in front of our dug-out.

“He patted him on the head - can you believe it? It was hilarious and unbelievable.”

Sir Alex and Paul Gascoigne attending Sir Bobby Robson's funeral.

In a separate interview with former Reds captain Gary Neville for LADbible TV, he elaborated, saying: "I think he was the best English player since Bobby Charlton. I think he was a fantastic player. Unfortunately, we didn’t get him and I think, looking back now, he made a big mistake. He recognised it himself years later. But we had Geordies in the camp. We had Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, even Gary Pallister from Middlesbrough.

“We had people there who would have taken care of him, particularly Bryan Robson who is fantastic with players. Instead, he goes to an island in London, and you’re easily swallowed up there as a young lad. I think that was a big mistake by him. ‘He was a marvellous player. I loved his strength.

“I said to [former chairman] Martin Edwards on the way home: ‘Sign this boy. Get on the phone to him on Monday.’ And, by that time, he had already done a deal with Tottenham, which was really unfortunate. That was a disappointment because he agreed to sign and then Tottenham changed his mind by buying his mother and father a house.”

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