Sir Alex Ferguson had agreed to take charge of Tottenham Hotspur when he was still at Aberdeen, before ultimately changing his mind and opting to remain in Scotland for another two seasons instead.
In the new book 'White Hart Lane — The Spurs Glory Years', which is being serialised by the Sun, former Spurs chairman Irving Scholar reveals he shook hands with Ferguson over a deal in 1984.
Under Keith Burkinshaw, the north Londoners had won the FA Cup twice in consecutive seasons at the beginning of the decade and would go on to lift the UEFA Cup in 1984, in what marked the Yorkshireman's last game in charge at White Hart Lane.
Burkisnhaw left N17 after disagreements with the board but Scholar, who had taken control of Spurs in 1982, believed Ferguson would be the perfect replacement.
"The truth was that I had been talking to and negotiating with Alex Ferguson about a deal. He and I had had very long and detailed discussions," he said in the book.
"I told him that I was a very old-fashioned type of chap and that the most important thing was that once you agree something, once you shake someone's hand, it's in concrete.
"Once you do that, then you do not — under any circumstances whatsoever — you do not go back on it. It's over."
Scholar believed Ferguson, who by May 1984 had already won a Cup Winners' Cup, two league titles and three Scottish Cups with Aberdeen, was ready for a challenge south of the border. Negotiations dragged for a while but eventually Scholar and Ferguson agreed to meet in Paris along with Paul Bobroff, who was also on the Spurs' board, to finalise what the former thought would be a deal to bring a new manager to White Hart Lane.
"So we had this seminal moment of the handshake," Scholar added.
"As you know, unfortunately, he didn't keep to it.
"He never told me why. I had my own theories but it doesn't matter anymore."
Ferguson instead opted to remain in Scotland until 1986, winning another league title and both domestic cups before moving to Manchester United in November of that year.
During a 27-year spell at Old Trafford, Ferguson picked up 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League trophies and in 1999 led to United to secure an unprecedented Treble, the first and so far only British team to do so.
Spurs, meanwhile, won only three domestic cup medals over the same period.