Sir Alex Ferguson was targeted on no fewer than three occasions for the England manager's job, according to former Football Association executive director David Davies.
Davies, who spent more than a decade at the FA before leaving his post two years ago, revealed the Manchester United boss was first in the frame after Terry Venables quit in 1996.
But Davies says Ferguson dismissed the approach then and also after the departures of Glenn Hoddle and Kevin Keegan in 1999 and 2000, respectively.
"After Terry Venables, I wanted Fergie," Davies told the Herald. "I was absolutely clear he was the best person for the job. I was a personal friend of Sir Roland Smith, then chairman of Manchester United, and he didn't totally kick the idea into touch. I was vaguely encouraged."
But Davies added: "I don't think he ever came near becoming the England manager.
"The idea of Alex leading England out at Hampden is somewhat far-fetched. He is a very, very proud Scot. He was, I think, tickled by the idea, though.
"When I recruited Keegan, I would have loved Ferguson to become manager. But the conversations were very brief."
Davies also claims the FA wanted former Scotland boss Andy Roxburgh to revolutionise how the game was run south of the border.
According to Davies, the UEFA technical director was headhunted from 2004 into 2005 to perform a similar role for England.
"We had a lot of enthusiasm for him," said Davies. "He was held in the highest regard by the FA and seen as a man who could improve the game here at grassroots and in terms of coaching.
"He was clearly committed to what he was doing so there was no way forward."
In further news, Ferguson has seconded Rio Ferdinand's description of England's 2006 World Cup camp entourage as "a circus".
The Scot indicated that he believed the 'WAG' culture surrounding the squad may have had a detrimental effect, commenting: "If Rio felt that was an encumbrance on the team, I am sure Fabio Capello is quite well aware of it... To succeed in football, you must have a certain discipline and make certain sacrifices."
Capello agrees with Ferguson's assessment regarding discipline and professionalism in his teams and preparation, and it is not thought likely that the Italian would tolerate a repeat performance, should England make it to South Africa in 2010.