Last updated : 27 January 2004 By editor
The Financial Times and other newspapers said the club's biggest investors, Irish businessmen John Magnier and J.P. McManus, might demand an extraordinary general meeting of the club if Ferguson's contract was extended by more than a year. A source close to the two men's investment vehicle Cubic Expression said: 'If Cubic doesn't feel it's being treated seriously as a shareholder with serious concerns and if they (the board) simply proceed the way they always have, then an option is to call an EGM and to seek the appointment of independent auditors to review all transfers and the payment of fees to agents.'

Manchester United have bowed to pressure from major shareholders John Magnier and JP McManus by launching a `thorough internal review' into all their recent transfer dealings.

While the Old Trafford board remain convinced the investigation will unearth nothing of any significance, it has become increasingly obvious it is the only way they can halt the stream of negative publicity they have recently been subjected to.

Though the Irish duo had no power to force Gardner or chief executive David Gill to hold such an investigation, they made it clear they would either force a potentially explosive emergency general meeting or demand a seat on the board if their request was refused, as it was earlier in the year.

In their statement, United made it clear that other than `identifying potential targets and recommending purchases and sales' Ferguson is not involved in any financial or contractual negotiations with any player.