By Keith Weir
LONDON Aug 2 Manchester United manager Alex
Ferguson said on Thursday he would not gain financially from the
English Premier League club's planned flotation on the New York
Stock Exchange after being dragged into a row over the plan.
Ferguson is revered by fans of the 19-times English
champions after a hugely successful reign dating back to 1986.
Many of those same fans are vocal critics of the American
Glazer family who bought the club in 2005 and are planning to
raise cash by selling shares in a flotation this month.
Ferguson dismissed claims that his recent support for the
Glazers had been motivated by money.
"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,"
he said in a statement issued by the club on his behalf.
"I do not receive any payments, directly or indirectly, from
the IPO," he added.
"The Glazer family have let me get on with my job, there is
no interference or obstruction, only support," he added.
United fans opposed to the Glazers' stewardship argue that
interest on debt incurred in a 790 million-pound ($1.23
billion)takeover in 2005 is harming the club's ability to
compete on the field.
United failed to win a trophy last season, their first
barren season since 2005, and fans' frustration was increased
because local rivals Manchester City won the English title.
"I am speaking out because I do not want a situation to
develop whereby the media and other parties create a rift,
however small, between myself and any Manchester United fan,"
added Ferguson, who is 70.
"I've spent 25 years of my life pushing this club forward
and not only could I not have done it without those fans, I do
it for them."
Ferguson is seen as a central figure in United's success,
having led to them to two European Cups and 12 Premier League
titles and helped to nurture players like David Beckham and
Olympic Team GB captain Ryan Giggs.
In its flotation documents, the club has cited the
difficulty of finding an adequate replacement for Ferguson
should he eventually decide to retire as a potential risk facing
(Editing by XXXX,