Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich tried to recruit him for Chelsea during his time at Old Trafford.
“He used an agent when he first came to approach me,” Ferguson, who retired in May as Britain’s most successful soccer manager, told Charlie Rose on PBS television. “I said ‘No chance.’ Manchester United’s my team, my club.”
Ferguson, 71, had more than 26 years at United, during which he won 38 trophies. He said Chelsea was the toughest opponent in the past few years, although he questioned owner Abramovich’s frequent coaching changes. Chelsea has replaced its manager nine times since the Russian bought the club in 2003 and won the Champions League, three league titles and four F.A. Cups in that time.
“That works for them in terms of keeping winning, but you look at the long-term situation and you would worry about that,” Ferguson said.
Since Ferguson left, United has suffered its worst start to a season in 24 years, with only seven points from the first six Premier League games. That prompted Dublin-based bookmaker Paddy Power Plc to offer odds of 6-1 that he’ll return as coach for at least a game. A successful $1 wager would bring $6 plus the stake.
“You’re throwing your money down the drain,” Ferguson told Rose when asked about the possibility. “I made the decision, the timing was perfect. I went out a winner. There’s no way back.”
Ferguson led United to a record-extending 20th English league title last season. His successor, former Everton manager and fellow Scot David Moyes, was appointed on his recommendation.
“They’re in good hands,” Ferguson said. “David Moyes will do a great job. The entire club will be behind him. He’ll be fine, he’ll be good.”