Tag Archives: glazers

Arsenal guard of honour for Manchester United and Robin van Persie

Arsenal players OBJECT to giving old boy Van Persie and champions United guard of honour

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

11:35 GMT, 23 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:08 GMT, 24 April 2013

Reluctant Arsenal players are
privately unhappy about giving newly crowned champions Manchester United — and their
former captain, Robin van Persie — a guard of honour when they meet at
the Emirates Stadium on Sunday – but they are still expected to perform the honour.

A
guard of honour is a tradition in games involving teams who have just
won the title. Privately, a number of Arsenal players have expressed
objections towards the gesture, particularly in front of their own
supporters, but it is understood it will still go ahead.

Arsenal’s
pain will be offset by a 1.5million bonus they will receive due to a
clause inserted in Van Persie’s contract when he signed last summer. The
clause was activated when United won the title.

Homecoming: Van Persie and United head to the Emirates this weekend

Homecoming: Van Persie and United head to the Emirates this weekend

NOW READ ASH WEDNESDAY…

CLICK HERE: As much as it will hurt Wenger, Arsenal should give United a guard of honour… just as Ferguson did in 1991

Meanwhile, David
Gill has promised the champions will invest in new players this summer, though he expects Manchester City to be active, also.

He said: 'I’m sure they will come back. They’ve got some ambitious plans on their investment and their academy. But that’s what the excitement of the Premier League is. I’m sure all the clubs who missed out this season will be doing business in the summer – as we will be – with a view to come back all guns blazing next year.'

The out-going chief executive has also praised the work of the American owners. Gill claims United's success proves the determination of the Glazers to keep things progressing on and off the pitch, and that some of the criticism they get is unfair.

Guard of honour: United applaud Chelsea on to the Old Trafford pitch in May 2005

Guard of honour: United applaud Chelsea on to the Old Trafford pitch in May 2005

Guard of honour: United applaud Chelsea on to the Old Trafford pitch in May 2005

Dutch of class: Van Persie spent eight years at Arsenal

Dutch of class: Van Persie spent eight years at Arsenal

He
added: 'The Glazers have definitely demonstrated that since they have
taken over they have shown that what happens on the pitch is crucial to
the club’s ambitions off it.

'There
are still a small number of dissenters and they will always be there
and they have had long held views which they are not going to change. We
respect those, but ultimately, someone has to own the club.

'They
[Glazers] get the personal enjoyment and the important thing is that
there is really no ego about them. They operate behind the scenes here,
they don’t walk around saying “we own the club”, and they are very
mindful of the traditions and the history of the club and people.

'Clearly, if you own an asset and it comes up with winning a 20th title, it’s unbelievable.'

Arsenal set for 1.5bn takeover from Middle East consortium

We'll bid record 1.5bn for Arsenal (twice as much as the Glazers paid for United)… but they MUST finish top four, say Arab consortium

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

22:32 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

10:48 GMT, 3 March 2013

Arsenal's eagerly-anticipated north London derby with Tottenham on Sunday was given an added edge with reports that a Middle East consortium will launch a 1.5billion takeover bid for the club in the next few weeks.

The group, made up of investors from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, hope to tempt owner Stan Kroenke with the world record sum, reports the Sunday Telegraph.

But the group warned that Arsenal, currently fifth in the Premier League and three points behind fourth-placed Spurs, must act quickly amid fears that the club miss out on a Champions League place and fall into a cycle of decline like Liverpool.

Money talks: World record takeover would put Arsenal in the same financial league as Manchester City and PSG

Money talks: World record takeover would put Arsenal in the same financial league as Manchester City and PSG

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere

Prize asset: Arsenal's Jack Wilshere

American Kroenke is the club's majority shareholder, while Uzbek Alisher Usmanov also holds a significant stake.

The offer for Arsenal would reportedly see the potential investors bid around 20,000 per share, making Kroenke's holding worth 830m.

It would be the world’s biggest ever bid for a football club, dwarfing the 800m paid by the Glazers for Manchester United.

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke

Alisher Usmanov an Arsenal shareholder

Money men: Owner Stan Kroenk (left) and majority shareholder Alisher Usmanov (right)

Big fans: The consortium want Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to stay on

Big fans: The consortium want Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to stay on

A meeting has already been reportedly been requested with the American to discuss the proposed
offer. The seriousness of the bid is reinforced by the recent successful
takeovers of Manchester City and Paris St-Germain by Middle East backers.

It is unlikely Usmanov will want to sell his shareholding, given his 'dream' of taking control of Arsenal himself, but the Middle East consortium
believes it will be able to work with the billionaire, who does not
currently have a seat on the board.

Any takeover would inevitably raise questions over the future of manager
Arsene Wenger but the Frenchman is understood to be highly-regarded by
the consortium.

A bid source was quoted as saying: 'Arsenal is at a pivotal position at
the moment. The fear is that the club is facing a cycle of decline like
Liverpool. From our point of view it is the perfect moment to make this bid
because at this moment in time you can still genuinely justify this
extraordinary valuation on the club.

'We will not bid for Arsenal if they go into decline. Kroenke and Usmanov will
not get this kind of valuation if Arsenal do not succeed and will not get
this kind of valuation ever again.

'The amount of capital required to pump into Arsenal to make it competitive
within England, Europe and the world means that the valuation cannot go any
higher.'

Robin van Persie and Kaspars Gorkss should have celebrated scoring against old clubs

Celebrate good times, come on! Forget the false modesty… we want a reaction when players score against former clubs

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UPDATED:

10:18 GMT, 5 November 2012

Whether it is a sheepish smile or an embarrassed wave – the non-celebration has become an all-too-familliar sight in the Barclays Premier League.

Players have an uncanny ability to score against their former clubs, but rarely do they celebrate.

Sportsmail's Jamie Redknapp believes it is a form of fake modesty when players are actually as delighted as ever to get on the scoresheet – particularly strikers who are by nature selfish beasts obsessed with goals.

Playing it cool: Robin van Persie didn't celebrate his goal against Arsenal

Playing it cool: Robin van Persie didn't celebrate his goal against Arsenal

'Little annoys me more than players who don't celebrate goals against their former clubs,' said Redknapp.

'Robin van Persie and Kaspars Gorkss did it this weekend. Scoring is one of the best feelings – so don't act like you're not enjoying it.

If you loved your old club so much, you wouldn't have left.'

It is a valid point. If Van Persie was so happy to quit the Emirates and pick up a healthier pay cheque from the Glazers, then why act modest, coy and apologetic when you do a job for your new employers

It only took him three minutes to haunt Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday, and despite being subjected to all forms of abuse from fans who used to worship him, he refused to look chuffed (even if he was mobbed by team-mates). Afterwards he was full of respect.

He's in there: Kaspars Gorkss (centre) kept his head down as Reading celebrated

He's in there: Kaspars Gorkss (centre) kept his head down as Reading celebrated

'I honestly did not hear any abuse,' he insisted. 'I respect the fans. It was a special day for me. It was the first time I have played against a former club, but I have had only three.

'I spent eight years at Arsenal and I respect the fans, the manager, the players, the whole club. I should have scored a second, but we won and we played well.'

Just enjoy it: Gorkss delighted the away fans with this volley but kept quiet

Just enjoy it: Gorkss delighted the away fans with this volley but kept quiet

Gorkss put Reading 1-0 up at Loftus Road on Sunday with a superb volley, but similarly refused to rub salt in the wound.

Of course, there is always the Emmanuel Adebayor theory of scoring against your old club.

It involves running the length of the field in frenzied celebration and then diving on to your knees in front of your old friends – just so they truly realise how much it means to score against them.

Spurs on alert as Man United prepare to offload Nani and Anderson

Spurs on alert as Man United prepare to offload Nani and Anderson

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 25 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Manchester United are prepared to
consider offers of 15million for Brazil midfielder Anderson and winger
Nani as they seek to recoup some money after a summer of heavy spending.

Tottenham are among the clubs who
could be interested in the 24-year-old Anderson should they fail to land
top target Joao Moutinho from Porto.

Market value: United would consider offers for Anderson (left)

Market value: United would consider offers for Anderson (left)

Sir Alex Ferguson has splashed out 45m on five players, including Robin van Persie, and club owners the Glazers are keen to trim the squad. With so many options in midfield, Anderson is considered disposable.

Nani is also vulnerable, having failed to agree a new contract with two years left on his deal. The Portugal winger was left out of the win over Fulham.

Anderson, an 18m signing from Porto in 2007, has netted only four Premier League goals. Benfica have expressed an interest but United would be prepared to sell him to a Premier League rival and Spurs are monitoring the situation, even though they also have other targets, with manager Andre Villas-Boas making a top-quality midfielder his priority.

Missing: Nani was left out of Fulham clash

Missing: Nani was left out of Fulham clash

Blackburn and Sheffield Wednesday have asked about a loan deal for QPR striker Jay Bothroyd, although his 40,000-a-week wages may be a problem.

Crystal Palace are also possibilities but they would prefer to take his team-mate, DJ Campbell.

Blackpool are bracing themselves to lose Scotland winger Matt Phillips, who is wanted by Everton.

Sir Alex Ferguson to quit Manchester United in two years

Fergie to quit Old Trafford in two years as United boss lines up swoop for Baines

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 18 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has planned his exit strategy from Manchester United and will quit in two years' time after building his last great team around Wayne Rooney and last week's 24million capture from Arsenal, Robin van Persie.

And the legendary Old Trafford manager, who begins his 28th season in charge of United at Everton on Monday night, claims the Glazer family will back him again if he makes a formal bid for England left-back Leighton Baines before the end of the transfer window on August 31.

On his way Alex Ferguson (left) is believed to be ready to leave Manchester United after the next two seasons

On his way Alex Ferguson (left) is believed to be ready to leave Manchester United after the next two seasons

Ferguson, 70, took personal control of the Van Persie signing and called Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger directly to ensure his final chapter at Old Trafford is successful, having lost the title to Roberto Mancini's Manchester City on the final day of the season in May.

And he persuaded the Glazers, against the advice of other senior figures at the club, to rubberstamp a 64m investment in transfer fee and wages for Van Persie, even though the 29-year-old Dutchman will have a limited re-sale value.

A source said: 'Alex will only be manager for a couple more years so it was time the owners gave him what he wanted. That's Van Persie.'

Ferguson might even enter the market again to land Baines, who is valued at 17m by his club Everton.

Lining up another: The Glazer family are ready to back the manager's bid to sign Leighton Baines from Everton

Lining up another: The Glazer family are ready to back the manager's bid to sign Leighton Baines from Everton

'There is only one position in particular we are looking at,' the manager said. 'We've splashed out quite a bit of money this summer but I'm sure if I went to the Glazers, they'd say ''yes''.'

Ferguson will decide on the evidence of Van Persie's first two training sessions before deciding whether his new signing will start in Monday night's Barclays Premier League visit to Goodison Park.

Ferguson was at Craven Cottage on Saturday to run the rule over Fulham, next weekend's opponents.

United have received two solid inquiries from Italian clubs for Dimitar Berbatov.

Darren Fletcher, 28, who is battling ulcerative colitis, continued his comeback on Saturday with a 90-minute run-out in United's 1-0 win at Stoke in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

Why Robin van Persie was a 64m farewell present to Sir Alex Ferguson

Why Van Persie was a 64m farewell present to Fergie

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 18 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson will step down as Manchester United manager in two years after building his final great team at Old Trafford around the talents of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

Ferguson went to unprecedented lengths to push through the deal for Van Persie, believing it was the only way for him to leave a fitting legacy when he retires aged 72 in the summer of 2014.

Many inside United, including chief executive David Gill, questioned whether a 64million investment in Van Persie – a 24m transfer fee plus 200,000-a-week wages for four years – was prudent.

On his way Alex Ferguson (left) is believed to be ready to leave Manchester United after the next two seasons

On his way Alex Ferguson (left) is believed to be ready to leave Manchester United after the next two seasons

There will be no resale value
on the 29-year-old Holland
striker to help ease the club's
debts, which run into hundreds
of millions of pounds.

But having given the Glazer family
his public support over the years,
against the wishes of many United
fans, the owners gave Ferguson payback
by bankrolling the deal.

Ferguson even rang his counterpart
Arsene Wenger directly to make sure
it happened, and the owners accepted
a higher fee than United ideally wanted. The truth, however, is that if the Glazers had not backed Ferguson on this one, his much-needed backing for them might have wavered.

Friends of the United manager, who remarkably begins his 28th season in charge of the club with a Premier League opener against Everton tomorrow night, are aware that he is now beginning the countdown to his retirement in earnest.

He certainly did not want to spend the next 24 months as an irrelevant sideshow to what was happening across town at Manchester City.

A source said: 'Alex will only be
manager for a couple more years so it
was time the owners gave him what
he wanted. And that was Van Persie.
'What is a few million It could be
the difference that helps Alex win the
Champions League again.'

Having missed out on Lucas Moura
to the new European moneybags of
Paris St-Germain this summer, Ferguson
knew his club's status would be
tarnished if United lost Van Persie for
financial reasons when the striker
was desperate to join them.

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

Ferguson revealed: 'The boy wanted to come to us. That was important. That made it possible. If he hadn't come out forcibly to Arsenal and told them he wanted to come to Manchester United, negotiations would have been over. 'I spoke to David Gill and he spoke to the Glazer family and they got the ball rolling. But that was some months ago, it was a long haul.'

That haul only ended when
Ferguson – not Gill, who normally
conducts transfer policy – spoke to
Wenger directly.
'It wasn't an easy one because,
understandably, Arsene Wenger
didn't want to sell to Manchester
United,' said Ferguson.

Even so, he was only successful
because the Glazers agreed to
increase their original 15m
bid for Van Persie to 24million
– not a decision taken
lightly given the gloomy
forecasts for a recent United
share issue in New York.

Van Persie is, in effect, an
expensive leaving present
for Ferguson, one that he will
be expected to utilise by making
United the best team in Europe before he
hands over to Jose
Mourinho or Pep
Guardiola.

What is beyond doubt
is that the short-term
impact of the Van Persie
signing has been incredible.
Despite being pipped
to the title by Manchester
City in the final minute of
last season, United go into
their opening game at
Goodison Park buoyant.

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

Got his man: Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal for 24million

City, in contrast, are
decidedly downbeat for
champions.
They start their defence
against Southampton with
their manager Roberto Mancini
demanding ready-made signings
like the one Ferguson has just
made, rather than youngsters with
potential like Jack Rodwell, City's
only summer purchase.

Two seasons ago, Wayne Rooney
handed in a transfer request at
Old Trafford claiming he felt the
club lacked ambition – exactly
the same charge levelled by Van
Persie against Arsenal this week.
Following Van Persie's arrival and with United boasting plenty of attacking
options, including Javier Hernandez,
Shinji Kagawa and Danny
Welbeck, Rooney could not be
happier on the 10th anniversary of his
first league game for Everton.

'It's a great time for us,' he said. 'To
sign a player of Van Persie's quality
and ability keeps us all on our toes.
The two of us are quite intelligent
players and we'll train together to get
it right.

'But it's really about the four or five players chipping in with goals when
we can. Everyone was excited to meet
Robin, now everyone is excited for
the first game.

'This provides great competition for
forwards, we all need to try to do everything
right so the manager picks
us.'

Ferguson has long championed the
signings of young, hungry players at
United. But with his own managerial
clock running down, he had no
hesitation in signing the finished
article.
He is pacing himself now as he
moves towards replacing Sir Bobby
Robson as the oldest ever Premier
League manager, a record he will take
in July.

Ferguson has even skipped a couple
of pre-season friendlies abroad to
save himself for the season.
In his time, the streetfighter from
Govan has seen off countless bitter
managerial rivals, including Kevin
Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, twice, Jose
Mourinho and Wenger.
He doesn't want to be beaten on his
final couple of laps by Mancini.

Which is why the Glazers had to
answer the 64m question that was
Robin van Persie in the affirmative.

Manchester United sign seven-year shirt deal with Chevrolet

Manchester United gear up for fresh injection of cash with seven-year, 25m per season shirt deal with Chevrolet

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UPDATED:

15:56 GMT, 30 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Manchester United have revealed a bumper seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with car firm Chevrolet that is worth around 25million per season.

The link-up – which will see the American company's name on the front of United's jersey's from the 2014-15 season – will boost the coffers at Old Trafford.

There are fears over the club's long-term stability with the mounting debts under the Glazers, who are considering floating on the New York Stock Exchange.

Whopper: Manchester United's squad pose for a picture at a Chevrolet event in Shanghai

Whopper: Manchester United's squad pose for a picture at a Chevrolet event in Shanghai

Chevrolet will be the club's fifth shirt sponsor in history and the deal is worth well over the 20m per season Aon are currently paying.

United’s commercial director Richard Arnold said: 'This is a fantastic, long-term deal for the club.

'We have been partners with Chevrolet for only six weeks, but already they have produced some fantastic ideas that will benefit both the partnership and our 659 million followers around the world.

'They are a key partner on our current tour and I know they have enjoyed experiencing the buzz generated by our fanatical support and the sell-out crowds in South Africa, China, and Europe.

'It is a great thrill for those of us who work with partners all year round when an existing partner steps up to being one of our principal partners. This commitment to United and its fans will bring real benefits to everyone who cares about the club.'

Motoring on: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson could soon have extra money to spend

Motoring on: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson could soon have extra money to spend

Alan Batey, General Motors’ North America Vice President of US Sales and Service, said: 'We are extremely proud to connect our brand, Chevrolet, with Manchester United and its passionate supporters all around the world.

'Manchester United’s statistics are impressive, but this relationship goes far beyond the numbers – this relationship is about connecting our brand with the deep-seated emotion that surrounds the team everywhere it goes.

'When you consider the core values of Chevrolet, our passionate customers around the world, and our rich 100-year history, the partnership with Manchester United is a perfect fit.

'And, to be only the fifth name on the iconic red jersey is a genuine honour. We very much look forward to the road ahead and the opportunities we have in partnering with such a legendary club.'

Sir Alex Ferguson defends Manchester United owners The Glazer family

Fergie: Back off the Glazers. They're doing a great job! Supporters are still angry over United owners putting club 425m in debt, but manager denies problems

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UPDATED:

23:59 GMT, 21 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has launched a passionate defence of the Glazer family, insisting: ‘They have always backed me whenever I have asked them for anything.’

In a far-reaching interview here at the first phase of the team’s strenuous pre-season programme, the Manchester United manager rubbished suggestions that the mountainous debt incurred by the American owners of the club was hampering his buying plans.

‘I’m absolutely comfortable with the Glazers situation. They’ve been great,’ he said. ‘So if you’re asking me for my views, I don’t have any complaints.

Relaxed: Sir Alex Ferguson has no concerns about the Glazer family

Relaxed: Sir Alex Ferguson has no concerns about the Glazer family

‘I’ve never encountered opposition. They’ve always been as sensible as they can be in terms of financing the team, and they have to invest in the team to maintain the value of their asset.’

The fiercely strong anti-Glazer feeling among United’s rank and file following has grown with the recent revelation that the family are trying to float the club on the New York Stock Exchange in order to raise about 200million to help relieve the debt built up in buying United seven years ago.

That currently stands at 423m, with the club having spent more than 500m on interest, debt repayments and fees since 2005.

‘I think there are a whole lot of factions at United that think they own the club,’ said Ferguson. ‘They will always be contentious about whoever owns the club, and that’s the way it has always been.

‘When I came to the club, Martin Edwards was always getting pelted because he was going to sell to [Robert] Maxwell, then to [Rupert] Murdoch, Michael Knighton, and when they became a plc there was disaffection.

In the background: Glazer brothers Avram and Joel shun publicity

In the background: Glazer brothers Avram and Joel shun publicity

‘Then, when the Glazers took over, there was disaffection, so there have always been wee pockets of supporters who have their views… and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think the majority of the real fans will look at it realistically and say it’s not affecting the team. We’ve won four championships since they’ve been there, one European Cup.

‘I think the problem is they [the Glazers] are not publicists. They don’t go out of their way to seek good publicity. They are quite happy to stay in the background. Roman Abramovich is the same.’

United are valued as the richest sports franchise in the world, at 1.5billion, mainly as a result of the efforts of Ferguson, whose haul of 48 trophies since he took over 25 years ago has made him the most successful football manager in British history. And now, giving little indication that his tenure is even close to ending, the 70-year-old Scot is as enthusiastic as ever about the future.

Citing the vast improvements to make the Carrington training complex one of the best in the world as evidence of the Glazers’ investment, he said: ‘Look at what they are spending on the training ground.

Investment: The Glazers have invested 30m into improving United's Carrington Training Ground and new players such as Shinji Kagawa have come into the squad

Investment: The Glazers have invested 30m into improving United's Carrington Training Ground and new players such as Shinji Kagawa have come into the squad

‘It’s going to be fantastic. At the moment it’s a bit of a bombsite, but it’s supposed to be completed by October and we just hope it’s ready on time. They’ll be spending about 30m and its all down to them.’

Ferguson responded to fans’ frustration at the lack of summer transfer activity by insisting he was not prepared to fork out inflated transfer fees. Responding to the fans’ clamour for a 30million-plus signing, he said: ‘Well they can wait!

‘We buy in the right way and that’s the difference between United and the rest — we can play 18-year-olds because it’s part of our history. It’s like a destiny for us that when a young player emerges we play him, and that has never failed us.

Coming to the rescue: Bebe celebrates scoring deep into injury time against Ajax Cape Town

Coming to the rescue: Bebe celebrates scoring deep into injury time against Ajax Cape Town

‘No other clubs can do that. City won’t do it. They definitely won’t play any young players who have come up through the system. Their buys are all 25, 26, 27-year-old established players with a good maturity, experience and good ages. They won’t go away because the age group tells you that. They don’t have any over-30s in their team.

They don’t play any young players and the fans don’t expect any youth players to come through the way we expect them to at United.’

While Chelsea have spent huge amounts to sign the likes of Eden Hazard, the United boss has spent a total of about 20m to bring in Japan forward Shinji Kagawa and teenage midfielder Nick Powell.

Inexperienced side: Antonio Valencia is one of Manchester United's senior players on the pre-season tour as 13 players are still away

Inexperienced side: Antonio Valencia is one of Manchester United's senior players on the pre-season tour as 13 players are still away

‘There is a borderline in terms of what you would think is a good signing for United,’ said Ferguson. ‘I see some values on players, like Hazard for instance. To me it was a lot of money. He’s a good player, but 34m

‘What we’re finding anyway, the climate for buying these top players — not just the transfer fees, [but] the salaries, agent’s fees — is just getting ridiculous now. In the Hazard deal, Chelsea paid the agent 6m. The Nasri situation was the same.

‘It’s all about what you think is value for a player. I am not envious of those deals at all. We placed a value on Hazard which was well below what they were talking about. So if it doesn’t work, well we’re not worried about that. We think we’ve got good value in Kagawa.

Young hope: United spent 4m on Crewe's Nick Powell

Young hope: United spent 4m on Crewe's Nick Powell

‘We scout well. Sometimes we do the scouting for other clubs. The minute the agent knew we’d spoken to Powell, I think every club was in with offers. But we’d done the deal.

‘Whenever we show interest in a player it activates the situation with other clubs. But we’ve done well over the years. We’ve bought well, one or two bad ones, no doubt about that, but you handle that.

‘The big difference is when the academy started 10 years ago we had to change our scouting in terms of abroad. So that’s increased. Looking at countries like Brazil, Mexico and through South America. France, too, we’re all over Europe now.’

Fergie on Retirement

Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted that Manchester United will still continue to enjoy great success even after he decides to end his reign as manager.

Asked if he thought there would be life after him at United, he said: ‘Of course. Manchester United are an institution and the history here forces everything.’

Ferguson hinted that any successor would have to have had a wealth of experience managing at the top level. But he scoffed at the idea that following him would be a daunting prospect.

Not ready to go just yet: Ferguson says he still enjoys working at Manchester United

Not ready to go just yet: Ferguson says he still enjoys working at Manchester United

Would he like to follow himself into this job ‘Yes, definitely. Why not It cannot be an impossible job with the structure we have at this club.

‘I don’t think the club will choose a young manager because it is a job that demands experience. The future is absolutely solid. If you look at the team I could play all under 22 or 23, De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Evans. Cleverley, Powell, Chicharito, Lingard, Welbeck, Kagawa. These players will become the United team for the next three or four years.

‘It would not be a daunting prospect to follow me.’

On holiday: Wayne Rooney is not expected back at training until July 26 after playing at Euro 2012

On holiday: Wayne Rooney is not expected back at training until July 26 after playing at Euro 2012

Fergie on Rooney

Wayne Rooney and United’s other top players may not be fully tuned up for the start of the new season because of their summer international commitments.

The club have a comparatively inexperienced squad on their pre-season tour to South Africa and the Far East, with many regulars not due to return to training until later this week.

‘We’ve got 13 players who are not here from the squad,’ said manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

‘Evans, Jones and Vidic are still recovering from operations and treatment for their injuries.

‘With the Euros, Nani, Rooney, Young, Jones, Evra won’t be back until July 26. Then we’ve got four more players (Giggs, Cleverley, De Gea and Rafael) at the Olympic Games. So it is difficult.

‘We’ve bought Shinji Kagawa and we don’t even know who he’s going to be playing with.

‘The rest of the squad won’t be playing until the game against Valerenga on August 5. It’s definitely an awkward feeling.’

Manchester United still the world"s most valuable sports team despite debt mountain

Manchester United still the world's most valuable sports team despite debt mountain

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UPDATED:

09:51 GMT, 17 July 2012

Manchester United have retained their
title as the world's most valuable sports team despite the Glazers' debt pile, according to Forbes.

The Red Devils were valued at
1.43billion, up from 1.2bn. The scale of United's financial might was
demonstrated by them being valued 250m higher than second-placed Real
Madrid.

Money matters: The Glazer family own Manchester United

Money matters: The Glazer family own Manchester United

Despite the increase in value, United were still 424m in debt in March.

But the club is taking steps to reduce its debt pile by listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The club – who narrowly lost out on the Premier League title this year to staunch rivals Manchester City – hopes to raise 64m from selling shares to Wall Street investors.

THE FORBES TOP 10

1 Manchester United – 1.43billion

2 Real Madrid – 1.20bn

3= NY Yankees – 1.18bn

3= Dallas Cowboys – 1.18bn

5 Washington Redskins – 1bn

6= LA Dodgers – 895m

6= NE Patriots – 895m

8 Barcelona – 838m

9 New York Giants – 831m

10 Arsenal – 825m

The flotation would leave the Glazer family in charge: the billionaire US sports investors bought the club in 2005 for 940million, taking on debt of 423m.

United said it would would use the money raised from the flotation to reduce that total.

United's top ranking comes from thir many lucrative global sponsorship deals. Shirt sponsor American Insurance firm Aon has agreed a 19.8m a year contract until 2014. DHL Express also recently signed a four-year deal with the club worth a reported 40m to sponsor United's training shirts, in a first for a practice kit sponsorship deal for football in the UK, while sports brand Nike manages the team's merchandise sales in an agreement worth around 25m annually.

Popular: Fans turn up to welcome United in South Africa

Popular: Fans turn up to welcome United in South Africa

All 32 NFL franchises made the top 50 list with the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New England Patriots and Super Bowl champion New York Giants all securing spots in the top 10.

The Forbes top 50 included seven football teams, with Arsenal falling three places to 10th and Barcelona up 18 to eighth.

Glazer family finally cave in at Manchester United

Finally, the veil is lifted on Manchester United's 423m debt

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UPDATED:

23:35 GMT, 4 July 2012

When the admission finally came, it came via email at about 10 o’clock on Tuesday evening.

Entitled ‘Manchester United Files Registration Statement for Proposed Initial Public Offering of Class A Ordinary Shares’, it was the type of dry announcement that would normally send rank-and-file football supporters to sleep.

Those who follow United, though, have grown used to seeing past the headlines and the jargon. It wouldn’t, therefore, have taken them long to find the paragraph that mattered, the one that finally gave up the truth after years of Glazer denials and diversions.

Caving in: The Glazers have floated Man United on the New York Stock Exchange

Caving in: The Glazers have floated Man United on the New York Stock Exchange

‘Our indebtedness could adversely affect our financial health and competitive position,’ it said. ‘As of March 31, 2012, we have had total indebtedness of 423.3million.’

It stands to reason that a football club should struggle in the transfer market when saddled with enormous debts. Under the Glazer family’s ownership, though, smoke and mirrors have always been in evidence.
No longer.

Seven years after taking the club into private ownership, the Glazers have given up the fight to keep their spiralling debts under control. /07/04/article-2168959-0086EC5000000514-183_468x318.jpg” width=”468″ height=”318″ alt=”Great Scot: Ferguson insists he is comfortable with the club's financial position” class=”blkBorder” />

Great Scot: Ferguson insists he is comfortable with the club's financial position

News on Thursday that United plan to go head-to-head with Manchester City for the services of Arsenal’s Robin van Persie should not confuse anyone. It is unrelated to the shift in their financial position.

As their brief flirtation with Wesley Sneijder showed last summer, United have had some money put away for one big signing for some time.

Whether they can really compete with City for Van Persie – who will request wages in excess of 200,000 a week – remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, the Glazers’ new plans are not expected to open the way for a period of sustained investment in premium talent. For the foreseeable future at least, it will merely enable them to muddle along.

At first glance, the plan to raise 64m
doesn’t seem to amount to much. Not when the debt is so vast and when an
initial plan to float in Singapore – scrapped because of ‘uncertain
market conditions’ – had planned to raise several hundred millions.

Hot pursuit: United are ready to rival neighbours Man City for Van Persie's signing

Hot pursuit: United are ready to rival neighbours Man City for Van Persie's signing

Industry experts suggest, however, that this figure is just a ‘placeholder’, a cautious estimate that enables the Glazers to file for the listing. The actual amount raised is likely to be much greater.

Certainly, United supporters will hope so. Anything that begins to chip away at the club’s mountainous debt can only improve their prospects on the field.

How United have come to this, though, is something that Ferguson, Gill and even the Glazers themselves – as obstinate as the family are – must sometimes find hard to fathom.

This, remember, is a club that prides itself and indeed sells itself on the back of its glory, its history and its tradition. Outside Old Trafford there are statues of Busby, Best, Law and Charlton. What damage is the club’s current financial situation doing to their legacy

Ferguson, of course, has more than done his bit to ensure United keep moving forward. Nine major trophies during the Glazer years represents an astonishing haul at a time when even some of the more modest Barclays Premier League clubs have outspent the one that calls itself the biggest in the world.

Proud history: United risk being crippled by debts of over 423m

Proud history: United risk being crippled by debts of over 423m

The modern United, though, is becoming unrecognisable. It used to be run from Stretford. From this point on it will be registered to a new company ‘Manchester United Ltd’ based in the Cayman Islands.

United will have to live with the predictable jokes that will accompany their move to a well-known tax haven. Nevertheless, the Glazers’ decision to take their club back into public ownership will bring with it a legal obligation for financial transparency that may yet cause them discomfort in the future.

Theirs, after all, is a football club that used to be totally self-financing, a club that turns over the type of money every one of their domestic rivals can only dream of, a club that has been listed by Forbes as the world’s richest for eight successive years.

Yet this is also a club that – if and when the debt is cleared – will have lost more than 1billion to the Glazers’ highly leveraged take-over of 2005.

It’s rather frightening to think where United might be now had even a fraction of that money been spent on Ferguson’s team.