ALEX FERGUSON has revealed Dermot Desmond, the majority shareholder at Celtic, rebuffed a bid to take Henrik Larsson from Parkhead to Old Trafford.
The Swedish internationalist joined United in January 2007 on a short-term loan but Ferguson disclosed in his autobiography published yesterday that an earlier attempt to bring the forward to the club failed.
"I was ready to make the bid when he was at Celtic but Dermot Desmond rang me and said: 'You've let me down, Alex. You have tons of players, we need him'."
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Larsson left Helsingborgs for Old Trafford in a loan deal and Ferguson recalls that he became a cult player at the club with young team-mates talking about the Swede in hushed tones. He revealed the player had been applauded by players and United staff after he returned to the dressing-room following his last match for the club when he "ran his b**** off against Middlesbrough".
Ferguson, who has had a fractious relationship with Kenny Dalglish over the years, has also written about how the then Scotland player asked his advice before becoming manager of Liverpool. He said Dalglish had approached him while training for Scotland and talked to him about a job offer, admitting it was "a big one".
Ferguson told him: "If it is a good club with good history, some financial leeway, and a chairman who understands the club, then he had a good chance." He did not realise it was the job at Liverpool that was being discussed.
The former Aberdeen manager dismissed suggestions that Tony Blair had asked him advice on how to sack his chancellor, Gordon Brown. This claim was made in the prime ministers's memoirs but Ferguson said his recollection was that his discussion with Blair was restricted to how to deal with superstars.
The book resounds with challenges with Ferguson recounting rows with Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and and Roy Keane. The former United manager constantly states that these battles were over control and that they had to be fought to maintain his strength in the dressing-room.