Manchester United didn’t have a great season back in 2011/12.
They finished second in the Premier League and were dumped out of the Champions League in the group stages.
They might have been trophyless, but were they really ready to sign resident Premier League bad boy Joey Barton? In a word, no.
But Barton believed Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were interested in him.
The story, according to Barton’s book: No Nonsense: The Autobiography, goes like this.
The former Man City player was travelling to complete a move from Newcastle to QPR when his agent, Willie McKay, received a phone call.
The name ‘Sir Alex’ popped up on the screen and he answered.
“I’ve seen what you’re up to on Sky,” said the voice on the other end of the phone. “Don’t go doing anything silly now.”
“Why don’t you come here and we’ll have a conversation?”
Before they could turn around and head to Manchester, McKay admitted it was a friend (who had mastered the great Scotsman’s voice) and that the call was a prank.
Poor old Joey was stuck with a stint at QPR, while United signed Robin van Persie that summer and romped to Sir Alex’s final Premier League title.