By Keith Weir
LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - 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 the business.
Editing by XXXX,