Sir Alex desperately tries to regain political balance


The problem with business news is that it is really, really, REALLY boring, but a bigger problem is that it is kind of really important and as the football business (as it is a business after all) grows, so does the importance of business news grow.

And news that came out today is something of a doozie and that’s before even coming to the story coming out of Portsmouth today.

No, instead, the news involves Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United and something called a share listing.

Basically, the Glazer family who own United are to float the club on the New York stock exchange with the aim of generating around £210m from selling 10% of the shares in the club; some 16.7million shares in total.

Reports in the media stated that Ferguson (as well as all employees of the club) would benefit from the scheme in a financial manner, a rumour the Scot has denied.


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

It is very clear why he has denied the speculation amid very well founded fears that this would alienate Ferguson from the fans of United who vehemently oppose Glazer’s ownership as it would make Ferguson an ally of the Glazers in the tug-of-war for power.

One of the most important factors in Ferguson’s role at United is his political value and ability to be in absolute control.

He manages to keep the fans on his side by appearing to oppose the Glaazers, but also has enough savvy to ensure that he is needed by the Americans.

Clearly, the £437m worth of debt saddled on the Old Trafford outfit have hindered the club’s ability to perform in the Premier and Champions League in recent years (which isn’t to say they haven’t been successful, just they could have have a lot more silverware).

Should Ferguson in anyway appear to endorse the Glazers who inflicted this debt on the club, it would destroy his relationship with the fans.

If Ferguson loses the political game of intrigue, which appearing to be on the side of the Glazers would surely do, it is probably a challenge even beyond his magnificent staying power, to hang in there, hence the swift denial in statement format (which interestingly Manchester United would not present a copy of to the BBC. Make of that what you will).

And that is why this business story is so important.

  For more Football Blogs and opinion from football fans around the world