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Anorak | Rocky Road

Rocky Road

by | 26th, January 2004

‘EVEN if Sir Alex Ferguson is right that he was offered a half of Rock Of Gibraltar’s stud fees, what is he doing picking a fight with John Magnier.

‘I should ne’er have sold wee Duncan…’

It’s not as if the Scot needs the money – he is a millionaire many times over and, even at the age of 62, still has great earning potential.

Had he accepted the compromise offered by Magnier, he would not only have boosted his bank balance and saved himself a high-risk court battle but he would have spared Manchester United the kind of power struggle it could well do without.

Instead of reporting on United’s 3-0 FA Cup victory over Northampton Town, all this morning’s papers are interested in is Fergie’s future.

The Mirror believes that the United boss is signing his own death warrant by going to war with Magnier, who with JP McManus owns a quarter of the club.

Magnier, it says, “has threatened to cause maximum unrest unless talks over the United manager’s new contract are halted immediately”.

The Sun even suggests that Ferguson could be pushed out of the club he loves, even though the United board are firmly behind their manager and are confident that he will sign a new contract this week.

Magnier and McManus want that contract put on hold until recent transfer dealings have been probed.

“This company needs to be cleaned up and run like any other public company,” a source said. “If the price of doing that is the departure of Sir Alex as manager, then that is a price worth paying.”

Magnier may have the financial muscle to cause Ferguson problems, but there is no doubt whose side the fans are on.

The United contingent in the crowd yesterday delighted in telling the Irish billionaire to go forth and multiply, insisting the club was not for sale.

Another person feeling the wrath of the crowd yesterday was Paul Ince, whose departure from West Ham 15 years ago still rankles with the Upton Park faithful.

And they took great pleasure in bating the veteran Wolves midfielder during their 3-1 victory over their Premiership hosts.

The Hammers were the last team from outside the top flight to win the FA Cup when they beat Arsenal in 1980 – and manager Alan Pardew thinks this could be their year.

“There’s a buzz about the place,” he tells the Express. “Training’s double lively and all the players were determined to do well today.”

An FA Cup win over Premiership opposition and the chance to chant ‘Judas’ at Ince is all very nice, but what Hammers fans really want is a marked improvement in the club’s league position.’



Posted: 26th, January 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink