The untold story of how Darren Fletcher almost signed for Newcastle United ahead of Manchester United

Darren Fletcher has revealed how he would have joined Newcastle United – had it not been for a last-minute intervention from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Monday, 4th May 2020, 3:18 pm

Fletcher won the Premier League five times, as well as the Champions League and FA Cup, during his long and successful career at Old Trafford.

The midfielder, however, trained and played for Newcastle as well as Man United as a schoolboy – and he had his heart set on signing for the club.

“Newcastle were going toe-to-toe with United at the time for the Premier League,” Fletcher told former Scotland team-mate Steve Caldwell on the Footy Talks podcast. “They were arguably the second biggest club in England at the time.

“I absolutely loved my time in Newcastle. Great club, great people. I loved my time at the club. As it got closer to making that decision, it was so close between Newcastle and Man United. I really enjoyed it there.”

Fletcher eventually decided to sign for Newcastle.

“It was tough,” Fletcher told ex-Newcastle defender Caldwell. “In your head you’re going ‘look at that midfield … (David) Beckham, (Paul) Scholes, (Roy) Keane, (Ryan) Giggs’. People were telling you this from other clubs ‘Alex Ferguson’s not going to be there’.

“I’m thinking in my head ‘I’m closer to home at Newcastle’. All these little things. I really enjoyed it there.

Darren Fletcher.

“At Man United, I more enjoyed the club rather than the dressing room and the lads. At Newcastle I enjoyed the club and all the lads and the atmosphere around the place.

“My mum and dad pick up the phone (to let Newcastle know). The next minute the house phone rings. My sister answers it. It’s Alex Ferguson on the phone. He’s going absolutely mental.

“I’m 15, mouth open, not speaking. He’s going absolutely bananas. My mum grabs the phone. She listens for a second and says ‘don’t phone this house again’ and slams the phone down.

“Five minutes later he phones back and is apologetic. They agree that me and my dad go down to Manchester to meet Alex Ferguson.”

Steve Caldwell.

Fletcher was persuaded to sign for Man United during his visit. The 36-year-old said: “Looking back, it was probably the right decision.”