Joe Cole opens up on Alex Ferguson’s attempt to sign him for Man United

Alex Ferguson Joe Cole

Fergie did his best.

Joe Cole has opened up on Alex Ferguson’s attempts to convince him to join Manchester United as a teenager.

Cole was making waves in West Ham’s youth team and the midfielder’s performances didn’t go unnoticed at Old Trafford, with Ferguson determined to sign Cole.

As then-West Ham manager Harry Redknapp confirmed in his autobiography, ‘Always Managing’, Ferguson sent Cole a Red Devils No. 10 shirt with his surname on the back and invited the teenager to the FA Cup final on board the United bus.

Joe Cole on Alex Ferguson’s attempts to sign him

Cole, who ended up committing his future to West Ham before a switch to Chelsea in 2003, opened up on Fergie’s pursuit of him on the latest episode of The Greatest Game with Jamie Carragher.

“That’s why he’s the best,” Cole said of Ferguson. “Imagine a Premier League manager who, at the time, in the mid-1990s was going for titles and winning FA Cups, winning League Cups…

“Him and Harry used to be ringing my mum and dad. He rang our house and it was like, ‘It’s Alex Ferguson.’ We thought it was a wind-up.

“When she finally clocked it was him, she dropped the phone. It was Alex Ferguson ringing you up.

“We went up there, had a trial and they were great. We did all the usual things, got the shirt, had a look around and everything.

“Then he invited us to the cup final on the team bus and things like that. But at that time, I’d made my mind up that I wanted to go to West Ham because my pals were there and we were a good side. We went on to win the Youth Cup.

“So I politely declined because I didn’t want to take something for nothing, effectively. That would have been a good experience as a kid, as you can imagine, but that’s why he’s the best. He was thinking about four or five steps ahead. It was amazing.”

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