Arsenal legend Adams: I could have joined Man Utd

He said: “Don’t tell anyone at Arsenal but I’m a great fan of United’s. I could have even joined them a couple of times.

“I was on £75,000-a-year at Highbury and Bryan Robson said I’d get £90,000 with them. Now it’s £90,000-a-week. I think there was a mutual respect between Fergie and I.

“He liked the way I went about my business and I liked his.

“He said I was a Manchester United player in the wrong shirt and I said he was an Arsenal manager in the wrong blazer. Or something like that.

“I see him quite a lot now. I went into his room after we played them at Old Trafford and was quite astonished by his sharp memory.

“We were talking about the early games and I said we went down there once with Eddie McGoldrick at sweeper but I couldn’t remember the year.

“He said ‘Aye, that was such and such a date, you played such and such a system and the score was. such and such.’

“He’s still right on top if it. Too old? Don’t make me laugh. Age doesn’t come into it. It’s like saying Cesc Fabregas and I were too young at 17.

“Fergie still loves a fight, he can’t wait. He reads military history, he knows all about Churchill – and Thatcher, of course.

“I have so much respect for him, the way he puts teams together, his leadership, the way Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes have played for him for so long and at such a high level.

“Scholes is a phenomenon. Alex was at our game against Charlton last Saturday and we spoke about him.

“The guy just turns up, goes training, works hard, gets his coat and goes home to his family. No distractions, nothing. What a fantastic example to footballers everywhere.

“Then there’s Gary, a bloke who epitomises the mental toughness you need as well as the talent.

“And that’s what we have to get at Portsmouth. We had a setback against Charlton last week and now it’s all about what direction the players want to take it.

“If they want to continue upwards they have to start scrapping like Charlton did.”