Former Manchester United defender, Steve Bruce, has claimed that Sir Alex Ferguson stopped him from playing for the Republic of Ireland.
Despite being born in Corbridge, England, the now 63 year old’s mother was born in Ireland, so he would have been eligible to play for the Irish team.
In fact, his son Alex Bruce represented both Ireland at youth level and Northern Ireland at senior level.
If Bruce had been allowed by Sir Alex to play for the Republic of Ireland, he could have participated in the 1994 World Cup in the USA, as he was never selected by the Three Lions.
Speaking to boylesports, the former Newcastle manager claimed, “I understood Sir Alex Ferguson’s position because back then I would have been ‘foreign’. You could only have so many foreign players and all of a sudden I would have been a foreign player.
This was due to restrictions at the time in European football which meant United regularly had to play without some foreign stars such as Peter Schmeichel, Eric Cantona or Roy Keane in the Champions League.
“It was nipped in the bud before it really took off. But I still remember the phone call with Jack Charlton to go and play in the USA in 1994. With the results they had, that would have been great. It was obviously not going to happen with England, so to represent the birthplace of my mother would have been terrific but it didn’t happen”.
While reflecting on missing the World Cup, he claimed that anyone would want to play in that competition but he does not have any regrets about it.
Additionally, in his own words “Paul McGrath was sensational so I might not have got in the team anyway”.
The former United captain also went into detail on Alex Ferguson’s ban on players betting on horse-racing, despite the coach’s famous love for the sport.
“Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t overly keen on attending racecourses at the time, which was typical of him because he wanted you to do the right thing. Even a trip to the races was something he was always sceptical about because that would have meant a few beers and all the rest of it”.
The Premier League winner went on to claim that whilst he was not a big fan of the races, none of the players were allowed to attend events such as Cheltenham or the Grand National, two of the biggest events in the British horse-racing calendar.