Former Brighton manager Brian Horton spoke on an occasion when he had to correct Sir Alex Ferguson about some transfer business he performed with the Manchester United icon.
The former Albion midfielder played 200 times for the club between 1976 and 1981 and returned to lead them in 1998-99. He developed a close friendship with Ferguson over the years, and the two played golf together and assisted each other with loan signings.
Between 1999 and 2004, when Horton was manager of Port Vale, he brought in a couple of United players to provide them regular first-team playing, which benefited both parties. But there was one instance when Horton had to remind the Scotsman that he had also done a few favors for the Red Devils.
He stated in his autobiography, Two Thousand Games: A Life in Football,: “In February 2000, a few months before Port Vale were relegated, I struck a deal with Manchester United to bring in David Healy on loan. David had joined Manchester United as a teenager.
“He never quite made it at United, but he was a good footballer who did well for Preston and Leeds and represented Northern Ireland about 100 times. David was with us in Port Vale for two months. He had just turned 20 and didn’t drive, so I had to pick him up from Manchester and drive him down the M6 on occasion.
“Danny Webber, a forward who went on to do well at Sheffield United, was another Manchester United player I leased out. When Alex Ferguson reminded me of how he had assisted me, I reminded him that I had first loaned him a player – in 1989, I permitted our goalkeeper, Peter Hucker, to move to Old Trafford from Oxford. Ferguson had forgotten, which was unusual for him.”
Unfortunately, the couple fell out after Horton and Phil Brown took over for Darren Ferguson, the United manager’s son, after he was fired at Preston. The Brighton legend claimed Ferguson blamed the pair for Darren’s dismissal in 2010, which Horton categorically disputed. Furthermore, while Brown took over as manager of Preston in 2011, Horton did not join the club.
“He’s one of the best managers ever, whatever he touches turns to gold,” Horton told The Sportsman. “However, it’s a shame we split up because we had such a terrific personal friendship.” We haven’t spoken since that episode, and he blamed us for getting Darren fired, which was simply not true.”
Brighton visit Manchester United at the Amex on Saturday evening, hoping to revenge their 2-0 setback at Old Trafford in February.