The former Newcastle boss, Kevin Keegan, is to replace David Moyes as Manchester United manager.
The club has managed to keep the stunning appointment strictly under wraps, despite intense pressure from the media.
But Keegan is set to be unveiled at a news conference in the next few days.
A club insider said: “We’re likely to face an almighty backlash when this appointment is announced.
“Everyone inside the club has been sworn to secrecy on pain of dismissal. This has come from the very top – the yanks (the Glazer family) want him, so that’s that.
“But we’re bracing ourselves for an absolute ****storm from the fans. They’re not going to like it one bit.”
|Famous rivalry: Keegan and Fergie|
Keegan has been out of the sport since his second stint at Newcastle ended in acrimony in 2008.
It had been assumed that he would never return to frontline football, choosing instead to accept the easier life of a pundit.
But sources close to the 63-year-old say his hunger has returned. They also insist he feels he’s addressed some of his managerial shortcomings through intensive study of tactics employed by the most successful continental sides.
Whether that is enough to persuade weary Manchester United fans that he can succeed where Moyes has failed is doubtful, to say the least.
Keegan’s rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson is the stuff of football folklore.
During the Premiership title race in 1995–96, he famously revealed his animosity towards Sir Alex during a live TV interview.
He said he would “love it, love it!” if Newcastle beat the Red Devils to the title. They didn’t. Keegan was haunted by the failure and quit in January 1997.
A short spell as England manager highlighted Keegan’s tactical naivety -- and his willingness to walk out when the pressure mounts.
How he’ll fare in one of the toughest jobs in world football remains to be seen but rival fans have already taken to social media websites to take the mickey.
@bluesbrother wrote on Twitter: “Keegan to manage Man U. LOOOOOOOOL. I’d ‘love it – LOVE IT!’ if it’s true.”
@scousemouse posted: “Putting Keegan in charge at Old Trafford is a great idea. He’ll do a great job for them in 2016 – in the Championship!”