When Wigan Athletic take on Manchester City in today’s FA Cup final, Dave Whelan will be given the rare honour of leading out his side following the injury at Wembley 53 years ago which ended his career.
The Latics chairman has revealed he could have had a much greater honour of owning Manchester United if it wasn’t for the intervention of his wife.
Far from the multi-billion dollar cash cow United are today way back in 1990 the club was worth far less as the likes of Michael Knighton tried to take control of the Reds. Dave Whelan has revealed he had a £11.5 million bid accepted by then chairman Martin Edwards.
Speaking to the Mirror Whelan noted:
‘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.’
‘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.
‘I had great ideas for the club. I was going to build a superbowl – with an exhibition hall, shopping mall, offices, swimming pool and health club – called the Big Red Dome.
‘There was going to be a huge red searchlight on top, so you could see it from all over Manchester. I had all the plans drawn up, it would have been absolutely magnificent.’
The Big Red Dome might’ve been a winner, but Whelan as chairman could have been a catastrophe, he loves the limelight and is never short of an opinion, you just wonder how Sir Alex and him would’ve got on.