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Lord Sebastian Coe: ‘I was close to getting Sir Alex Ferguson to manage the Olympic football team’

‘I was so close to having Sir Alex Ferguson lead the GB Olympic football team!’: Lord Sebastian Coe reveals the legendary boss has accepted a job in London 2012, before pulling out due to commitments from Man United

  • Lord Sebastian Coe has revealed his two London 2012 disappointments
  • He was disappointed that school sports were neglected because of the Olympic focus
  • Lord Coe also said Sir Alex Ferguson was almost the football boss of Team GB
  • Instead, Stuart Pearce led the united British side to a quarter-final defeat

Lord Coe has only two notable regrets about the Olympics he delivered in London 10 years ago today – one is that school sports have been neglected and the other is how close he came to recruiting Sir Alex Ferguson to join the British football team. lead.

It is loosely known that Coe tried to lure the former Manchester United manager to Team GB, but he reveals on this milestone anniversary of the Games that Ferguson had gone so far as to accept the position.

Those efforts were eventually muted by the United hierarchy, with Stuart Pearce coaching the British side to the quarter-finals, and Coe, who was the head of the 2012 organizing committee, continues to live with the thought of the one who escaped.

Sir Alex Ferguson lined up to lead the Team GB football team in London 2012, but withdrew

Sir Alex Ferguson lined up to lead the Team GB football team in London 2012, but withdrew

Discussing that summer of sport, he said: ‘What am I disappointed about? That school sport became a political football. We could have done more behind the Games.’

Coe continued the near miss involving Sir Alex, adding: ‘We got very close. I got the idea because we were a little vulnerable around our Celtic cousins. It suddenly dawned on me that the only unifying influence in everything would be having a not necessarily English coach.

“I haven’t talked to anyone about it, but I called Bob Charlton and said, ‘Am I going to have lunch here?’ He said, “No, I’ll tell Alex to call you.”

‘Weeks passed. I was in a Tesco in Cobham on a Friday night and I got a call. It wasn’t ID and I was at the butter and fat counter and he said “Seb, here’s Alex”.

“I threw a lot of money at one of my daughters to keep filling the cart and I said, ‘This is the stuff for a long talk, I’m at the supermarket.’

“I took him through the idea and he said, ‘Well, I don’t know.’ Then there was a gap and he said, “Oh Jesus, I’m already choosing the team in my head”.

Lord Sebastian Coe said missing Sir Alex was one of his two things he regretted after London 2012

Lord Sebastian Coe said missing Sir Alex was one of his two things he regretted after London 2012

“I went to the BBC review of the year later and Alex was there. Alex looked at me and said the answer was yes. I said fine.’

The plans eventually came to an end, as Ferguson said in 2011 he would have been too busy with his United commitments. Coe added: “I’ve always laughed with Alex after that. He often wonders if he missed a really good experience.”

Now that it’s been ten years since the Games took place in London, debate has resurfaced over whether a tangible legacy has been delivered for the £9 billion price tag. Coe said: ‘What I was most proud of was the transformation of East London.

Stuart Pearce led the Team GB team during the 2012 Games where they reached the quarter-finals

Stuart Pearce led the Team GB team during the 2012 Games where they reached the quarter-finals

“If you look at the deprivation rankings in the UK, Newham and many of those Olympic boroughs are pretty much at the top of that. There has been a huge development.

London was also seen as creative, competent, multicultural and outreaching the world, proud of our history and protective of our heritage. That was a really strong legacy.

“I look back with fondness and a bit of nostalgia at the way the nation came together in such a profound way, and not just during the three weeks of the Games. It was a period when people were more comfortable with each other.’



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