Former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne has revealed he regrets not signing for Manchester United and sometimes thinks how differently his career could have panned out if he had signed for the club.
Gascoigne was close to signing for Man United in 1988 having just been named PFA Player of the Year at Newcastle United.
He had spoken with Sir Alex Ferguson about a move and the pair agreed on a transfer before the Scot went on holiday to Malta. When Ferguson returned, he found that Gascoigne had signed for Tottenham Hotspur instead.
United went on to dominate English football and Gascoigne does have regrets about not being part of the success.
Speaking about the potential move, Gascoigne said: “It was my family’s fault. I was on the way there to sign for Man United. I remember saying to Sir Alex ‘you’re going on holiday so I’m going to sign for the club.’ On the way there I got a call from Spurs. They said my family had nothing when I was growing up but if I went there they’d buy my mum and dad a house.
“So I went ‘dad, Spurs said they’re going to buy you a house.’ He said ‘well what are you waiting for?’ So I said to Spurs that I would sign. Then my sister called and said ‘Paul, if mum and dad are getting a house, I want a sunbed.’ So I signed for the club, and when you sign you get fanmail. The first letter was from Sir Alex Ferguson. It wasn’t a good letter. I got caned. He was like ‘I can’t believe you turned down the biggest club.’
“You know, sometimes, I do look back and think about what would have been if, what would I have won at Man United. When I signed for Spurs, Man United weren’t winning everything, but then all the young kids came through and they started winning everything. It’s probably one of the regrets I have.”
Gascoigne was one of the most talented players of his generation but his only trophy in English football was the 1991 FA Cup. He would have certainly lit up Old Trafford had he joined United.
Ferguson might also have helped Gascoigne in his battle with alcoholism which developed later in his career.