Last updated : 22 January 2004 By Editor
The Indie reports:

‘Sir Roy Gardner, the chairman of Manchester United, will
personally examine the circumstances surrounding the summer
purchase of Tim Howard, the club's goalkeeper, amid concerns
over possible conflicts of interests at the heart of its
transfer dealings.

‘Sir Roy, a lifelong Man Utd fan but known to be an
unsentimental chairman, is expected to begin by interviewing
David Gill, the club's chief executive. Sir Roy is also
examining the club's options for intervening in the long
running dispute over the racehorse Rock of Gibraltar that
has erupted between Sir Alex Ferguson, the club's manager,
and John Magnier, one of Man Utd's biggest shareholders.

‘It is understood that Sir Roy wants to establish whether
Man Utd, as a public company, has any cause for concern over
the Howard deal following the recent adverse publicity. He
will also want to satisfy himself that the club's rules on
transfer deals are robust enough to protect it from
potential conflicts of interest.

‘On the row between Mr Magnier and Sir Alex, the Man Utd
chairman does not want to be seen to be taking sides but he
recognises that the scale of the row, and the individuals
involved, means it can no longer be treated as a "private
matter" by the club.’