‘Follow in the footsteps of Stein’ Desmond offered Sir Alex Ferguson Celtic job

Dermot Desmond, who is now Celtics main shareholder, offered Sir Alex Ferguson two times his Manchester United wage – it was in 1997 when the Celts would have been desperate to stop Rangers from completing their 10-in-a-row.

Celtic then settled on Dutch gaffer Wim Jansen, who led the Hoops to glory.

Desmond said, to The Athletic: “I had asked Alex Ferguson to be manager of Celtic around 1997 and I offered to pay the money myself, twice the salary he was on at Manchester United.

“He said he would like to consider it, even though he had a Rangers background. 

“He said, ‘I’d like to do it, to follow in the footsteps of Jock Stein,’ but he said his overriding ambition was to win the Champions League with Manchester United.

“In fact, my good friend JP McManus and I were his guests at the (1999) final in Barcelona, where he fulfilled his dream.

“I had previously asked a prominent broadcaster if Martin (then managing Leicester in the Premier League) would be interested in the job and I got a response in the negative.

“I then asked Alex if he would speak with Martin, to see if he would meet with me, and the response was that he would be very interested in meeting.

“So I met Martin for dinner and we got on very well. 

“I introduced him to Pat and Brian and they also felt he was a remarkable individual, so we hired Martin.”