Whelan has admitted he almost bought Manchester United for £11.5million but was talked out of it by his wife.
He struck a deal with former Man United chairman Martin Edwards in 1990 for his majority stake but his wife Pat convinced him not to take it.
Whelan told the Mirror: "I told my wife I had just been to a meeting where I'd bought Manchester United, the biggest football club in the world, for £11.5m.
"But instead of telling me I'd done a great piece of business, she asked, "Do you think all your customers who support other clubs will still shop at JJB if you own Man United?" and I said, 'Oh, I hadn't thought of that.'
"It dawned on me that Liverpool fans and others might turn their backs on my shops because of the rivalry with United."
He continued: "Do I regret pulling out of the United deal financially? Yes, of course. I was stupid - I was sitting on a gold mine, but I got cold feet."