Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Ferguson 'insulted' by IPO claims

Sir Alex Ferguson has slammed rumours about his backing of the Glazer family

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said he is "insulted" by claims his recent backing of the Glazer family is motivated by personal gain.

It has been suggested that Ferguson stands to profit from the controversial initial public offering (IPO), which the Glazer family are now saying will only partly go against United's massive debts.

A clearly angered Ferguson on Thursday hit back, saying: "There is not a single grain of truth in this allegation. This is an accusation that insults me."

A clause within the prospectus for the IPO, which the Glazer's signalled an official intention to launch in New York on Monday evening, suggests senior management figures will receive shares. Almost immediately, some of those opposed to the Glazer family's ownership of United wondered whether Ferguson was amongst them.

"Being aware of the media coverage that is currently ongoing I felt, on this occasion, that I should make my position clear to the Manchester United fans," said Ferguson in a statement.

"In regards to suggestions that I have praised the Glazer family because I stand to financially benefit from the proposed IPO, there is not a single grain of truth in this allegation. I do not receive any payments, directly or indirectly, from the IPO."

Ferguson's recent praise of the Glazer family raised eyebrows in some quarters. Many United fans dislike the Americans for running up massive debts during their leveraged buy-out of the Old Trafford outfit in 2005. It has been claimed the debts prevent Ferguson from competing with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea in the transfer market.

"Ultimately, I run the football side of this club and in order to do this, you need backing from above," he said. "The Glazer family have let me get on with my job, there is no interference or obstruction, only support.

"My decisions and beliefs are not based around what is best for my personal financial gain. That is an accusation that insults me. If that was the case I would have left Old Trafford a long time ago.

"I am speaking because I do not want a situation to develop whereby the media and other parties create a rift, however small, between myself and Manchester United. I've spent 25 years of my life pushing this club forward and not only could I not have done that without those fans, I do it for them."