Why Paul Gascoigne turned down Manchester United

It has been well documented that Sir Alex Ferguson was an admirer of Paul Gascoigne, but the legendary midfielder never signed for Manchester United.

Gazza didn’t believe he could get in the team ahead of Bryan Robson and Neil Webb after he came close to moving to Old Trafford when he left Newcastle in 1988.

However, after giving his word to Ferguson, Gazza ended up signing for Tottenham Hotspur instead. The United manager returned from his holiday in Malta expecting a new quality player but it wasn’t to be.

Speaking to Bryan Robson in an interview to promote his new film, Gazza revealed that one of the reasons he didn’t sign for United was because he wasn’t sure how often he would play.

“There was the gaffer (Bryan) and Neill Webb, always together [for England], and I’m thinking, I am never going to get a game here,” he told the official Manchester United website.

“And then Neil Webb done his ankle, and he got taken off then I got the chance to play with the gaffer in midfield, which for me, is probably one of the best feelings ever.

“You know, I think that is one of the reasons I didn’t join Man United. Because it was just Neil Webb and the gaffer constantly and obviously Neil Webb played for Man united and I thought maybe I’ll not get a game. That was one of the reasons.”

Gascoigne only ever played with Robson for England, although Robbo signed the midfielder for Middlesbrough in 1998. He still sees him as his idol.

“Idol… I am in awe with him. He’s my idol. Always will be. I just love him in general. And I always will do,” he said.

“It’s like I’ve said, forget about Maradona, Pele. The gaffer has always been my best player, ever. If I’d had a bit of Bryan Robson inside of us, and the player I was. I’d have been untouchable.”

I have always wondered if Sir Alex Ferguson would have been the perfect mentor for Gascoigne.

His admiration was always clear and he wanted him part of his teams at Old Trafford.

Gazza won the FA Cup in 1991 but this would prove to be his only trophy in English football.

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