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Darren Fletcher has revealed a last-minute phone call from Sir Alex Ferguson stopped him from joining Newcastle United.

The former Scotland international enjoyed a long and successful career under Ferguson at Manchester United, where he lifted five Premier League titles as well as an FA Cup and Champions League.

However, Fletcher, 37, has told the story of how he was just days away from moving to St James’s Park having previously trained in the club’s academy set up.

"I nearly signed for Newcastle United," Fletcher told the Lockdown Tactics podcast."I had been going to United from the age of 12 and Newcastle at this point were the second-biggest team.

"Everyone is telling you, 'look at all of these great Man United midfielders you'll never get in the team, difficult to break through, Newcastle is closer to home.'

"I really enjoyed it there, great club, Sir Alex Ferguson at this point (2002) was going to retire."

Perhaps unfortunately for Newcastle, Ferguson got wind that Newcastle were closing in on signing the midfielder, prompting an angry phone call to the Fletcher household.

Fletcher added: "So the word gets back to Sir Alex and he phoned the house one night and my sister picked up the phone. 'Here, Darren. It's for you'. It's just the boss going absolutely mental.

"I'm 15, just chalk-white and he's giving it to me down the phone. My mum sees me and grabs the phone and listens for a few seconds and goes, 'don't speak to my son like that ever again', and slams the phone down."

Ferguson, however, tried again – and this time, was successful in tempting Fletcher to Old Trafford.

He continued: "So the next minute the phone rings up again, it's Sir Alex: 'really sorry, Mrs Fletcher but we really like your son, I'm coming up on the next flight to Edinburgh'.

'My mum's looking around the house thinking, 'I've not done the housework, I've got loads of washing'. She goes, 'no you're not, they'll come down and see you'.

"Anyway it got sorted, you go to Manchester United at 15 and it's the best decision I've ever made and the manager, what an influence he was on my career."

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