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Featured: "Ones that got away XI" by Dave Usher

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I know there was a story about Ferguson ringing up Wilkinson at Leeds to enquire about another player, with Wilkinson fobbing off that interest but saying that Cantona was available for £1m.

 

Think it was Dennis Irwin.

 

As an aside, it says it all about English football that Wilkinson has held such senior positions within it's officialdom despite that decision.  I can remember exactly where I was when I heard Cantona had signed for them, and who told me.  I knew instantly what it would mean.

 

How a man can casually sell at the time his main rivals the missing piece in their jigsaw for a pittance and survive to keep a prominent career in the industry is fucking beyond me.  Football's Barings Bank that decision was, for everyone else.

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Think it was Dennis Irwin.

 

As an aside, it says it all about English football that Wilkinson has held such senior positions within it's officialdom despite that decision.  I can remember exactly where I was when I heard Cantona had signed for them, and who told me.  I knew instantly what it would mean.

 

How a man can casually sell at the time his main rivals the missing piece in their jigsaw for a pittance and survive to keep a prominent career in the industry is fucking beyond me.  Football's Barings Bank that decision was, for everyone else.

 

Wasn't the rumour because Cantona was nobbing Lesley Ash (still in her heyday then) and so Lee Chapman got Wilkinson to sell him?  Wilkinson thought Chapman was better than Cantona so went along with it.

I seem to recall it was Rod Wallace who Ferguson wanted.

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Wasn't the rumour because Cantona was nobbing Lesley Ash (still in her heyday then)

 

Yep, that's what was said at the time.  Fair play if he did turk Ash, pre-Trout Pout she was definitely someone I'd want to go up and down in alleyways with. 

 

Different eras, but it just goes to show why we would never have considered selling Suarez to Arsenal.  You're supposed to be competing with these clubs, not actively assisting them.

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Wilkinson rang red nose to enquire about buying Irwin (he had been at Leeds prior to Oldham), and the trouser stainer said no but is the Cuntana available, and unfortunately the rest was history (Story from Irwin himself)

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Gary Mac turned us down to join Leeds from Leicester he would have been some signing then rather than ten years later when he came. German papers at the time were full of Stories about Jurgen Kohler joining us, agree that he would have saved Roy's job and won us the League - that's if he'd have been able to displace Phil Babb! I thought Souness came close to signing Roy Keene he's probably the biggest miss of all.

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Rafa was also after Sergio Ramos when he was 17/18, though refused (apparently in a similar way to the Alves deal) to pay the price, which was around £10m at the time. He went to Madrid a year later for what Wikipedia say was 27m Euro.

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Bolo Zenden. I know what some of you might be thinking but bear with me here. I'm talking about when he was still playing for PSV. We were linked with him around 1997/98 and could have got him for about £3-4m in the summer of 1997 I believe. Never the most technical of Dutch players, but he had quite a lot of pace and was ideal for us on the left of midfield because he was naturally left-sided and could operate as both a winger and as a wide midfielder. Evans was high on Norwegians at the time though and spunked £3-4m on Oyvind Leonhardsen, only to turn him into a square peg in a round hole thus making a very limited player even more limited. Zenden went to Barcelona who had about half his international teammates in their squad. The Zenden we eventually signed was a vastly different player to the one who broke through at PSV.

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We were in for Jurgen Kohler too in 1997 but the board couldn't agree a fee with Borussia. Him or Desailly could have saved Evans his job. 

 

Kohler was pretty shit towards the end of his career though so it probably wouldn't have been a great success.

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I remember us being strongly linked with Frank Worthington as a kid. Really disappointed when it didn't happen as he was a fantastic footballer - when he was sober and hadn't been out all night.

 

Not sure if this is a false memory but I think we were close to signing Asa Hartford at one point but he failed the medical. They found he had something like a hole in his heart? Am Iimagining this or was it another club? 

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Frank, failed his medical too, of recent times I remember us linked to Falcao for about 3 or 4 mil...

Just checked and Hartford failed the medical with Leeds. I am getting old.

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I remember us being strongly linked with Frank Worthington as a kid. Really disappointed when it didn't happen as he was a fantastic footballer - when he was sober and hadn't been out all night.

 

Not sure if this is a false memory but I think we were close to signing Asa Hartford at one point but he failed the medical. They found he had something like a hole in his heart? Am Iimagining this or was it another club? 

Didn't you see the photo I posted on page two. That's how close we cam to signing him.

 

The medical showed a high blood pressure so we sent him to Majorca to chill his beans for a few days so his blood pressure would drop and we could sign him. But being the ledge he is, he shagged a bird on the plane on the way out, spent all his nights out on the piss, shagged a load more birds and came back with a higher blood pressure than before.

 

For all the under-40s heres something typical of Frank. Remember in those days not all games were televised. His skills were audacious - oh and that isn't any old no mark centre half - it's England's Terry Butcher:

 

 

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