Belfast Telegraph

Gill defends Rooney response

Manchester United chief executive David Gill has rubbished suggestions he "rewarded bad behaviour" by handing Wayne Rooney a huge pay rise.

Rooney looked certain to leave Old Trafford back in October when he handed in a shock transfer request after questioning United's ambition. But, days later, he signed a new five-year deal reportedly worth £200,000 a week, sparking claims the whole saga had been about money.

While giving evidence to a House of Commons Select Committee inquiry into football governance, Gill was accused of "rewarding bad behaviour" over the Rooney deal, but he said: "I don't think it's particularly outrageous. We've done deals with certain players recently and the impact of what we paid Wayne never came up."

He added: "I don't think we should hone in on Wayne Rooney is this particular situation."

Meanwhile, Gill declared he would continue to snub fan groups who were "at war" with United's owners.

Gill leapt to the defence the Glazer regime at Old Trafford, insisting the Americans had made United stronger since their 2005 takeover and claiming the debt they had saddled on the club had had "no impact" on Sir Alex Ferguson's ability to buy players.

The United board have refused to enter into dialogue with groups such as the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) and the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA), who are fundamentally opposed to the Glazers' ownership.

This policy was challenged by MPs, with Gill asked whether he was simply avoiding engaging with those who disagreed with him.

But he was unmoved, saying: "If we're going to be castigated for not speaking to one or two groups who have particular, very clear agendas, then so be it.

"We'll take the castigation."


From Belfast Telegraph