Dave Whelan: Fear of alienating Liverpool fans stopped me buying Manchester United

Wigan owner Dave Whelan has revealed he was just weeks away from buying Manchester Utd in 1989, before backing down for fear of alienating Liverpool supporters.

In an interview with ITV's Gabriel Clarke ahead of Saturday's FA Cup Final, the 76-year-old says he regrets not having bought the Red Devils, who eventually floated on the stock exchange.

"The deal was virtually agreed, I was going to make Bob Charlton the chairman of the club," Whelan said. "We had everything fixed on what I was going to do."

"When I came home I said to my wife that I'd just done a deal to buy Manchester Utd.

"And she said: 'Do you think people from Liverpool who shop at JJB would buy product from JJB if you owned Manchester Utd?'

"And it made me think."

"I had great ideas and I'm sorry I didn't put them into action," Whelan added ruefully. "It was a very, very big missed chance."