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Eriksson: I signed a contract with Man Utd...

Sven Goran Eriksson reveals in his new book he had SIGNED a contract with Manchester United to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson. In his new book, 'Sven: My Story', being serialised in the Mail on Sunday, Eriksson recalls:

"Ferguson had announced that the 2001/02 season would be his last. He had managed the team for 16 years and won everything there was to win, including the Premier League seven times. He was getting on a bit and probably wanted to finish on top.

"One day I got a phone call from Pini Zahavi, a leading football agent. He wanted to know if I could come for breakfast at a club in London the following morning. He did not want to say on the phone what it was about. It was very secretive. 'Sure,' I said, 'no problem.'

"When I arrived, Pini was there with Peter Kenyon, the chief executive of Manchester United. Straight off the bat, Kenyon asked me did I want the job as manager of Manchester United as of next season? I didn't think about it.

"'Yes,' I said. 'I do.'

"I knew it would be tricky. I had a contract with England until the 2006 World Cup and I would be severely criticised if I broke that contract. But this was an opportunity to manage Manchester United, probably the biggest club in the world. I would be able to stay with England through the World Cup. My appointment would not be made official until after the tournament.

"A contract was signed - I was United's new manager. A couple of weeks passed and Pini called again. He wanted another meeting. When I got there, I knew something was wrong. Kenyon explained that Ferguson had changed his mind. He did not want to leave the club after all, but had agreed to stay in the job for another three years."

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