COOLMORE TO TARGET THE PLC?
no one above dressing-room level at Old Trafford can feel
safe. It emerged last night that Magnier and McManus are now
preparing to turn their attentions to the make-up of the
United plc board, which they feel should reflect the club’s
equity. The board represents just 3 per cent of the shares,
although Cubic Expression has never exercised its right for
a nonexecutive seat.
‘Their chief criticism is that there is no “healthy tension”
between board members and Ferguson over football matters, on
which the manager could rightly claim superior knowledge.
The weak spot that they intend to exploit is the position of
Maurice Watkins, a non-executive director, whose law firm
advises the club. The 61-year-old sports lawyer is a highly
influential figure at Old Trafford, acting as the club’s
legal adviser as well as having acted for Ferguson in
‘Magnier and McManus believe that Watkins has serious
conflicts of interest. It may be a cheap shot, but the
criticism shows how Ferguson’s web of favouritism continues
to provide his critics with avenues for attack. They are
confident that the involvement of Ferguson’s son, Jason — at
least his company, Elite Sports Group — in various transfer
deals could prove to be the manager’s Achilles’ heel.’