The Glazer family, owners of Manchester United, might be sufficiently concerned about their investment to have appointed a new "chief of staff" to work alongside the Old Trafford board, but Sir Alex Ferguson is not. The United manager risked the wrath of supporters for the second time in 24 hours yesterday with another declaration of support for the American owners, making light of the enormous debt that the club have taken on as a result of the takeover.
Ferguson was criticised by the Manchester United Supporters Trust on Thursday after praising the Glazers for helping to finance the signings of Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra in the past week, but the Scot maintained yesterday that he had "no regrets" about his utterances.
Asked if he was worried by the £374 million debt taken on as a result of the takeover, Ferguson replied: "Why should I worry? Christ!"
The Glazers have hinted at a refinancing deal by appointing Ed Woodward, a former investment banker, to work with the board, as revealed in The Times yesterday, but Ferguson is unconcerned about the move.
"I look at my perspective," he said. "They’ve supported me 100 per cent, they’ve given me the money I wanted for the January window, so what do I say? Tell lies?
"I’ve got no problems with it. It’s much better than when we were a plc. Then, you had to go through all the procedures of football club board, then the plc board, then inform the Stock Exchange and all this nonsense. Now it’s much more straightforward. If we see a player we want, we can get him much quicker. You can get an answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. With the plc, it was a long procedure."
Malcolm Glazer's new 'chief of staff' will play no role in negotiating Manchester United's new shirt sponsorship deal.
The Glazer camp have confirmed 34-year-old former merchant banker Ed Woodward has been appointed to look after the family's business interests in the UK.
Through his previous company JP Morgan, Woodward played an extensive role in Glazer's controversial £790million takeover of the Red Devils last summer and after initially being approached last May, finally took up his post in November.
However, while Woodward will liaise extensively with the Glazer family and United chief executive David Gill, he will not be involved in negotiating staff contracts or discussions over a new sponsor to replace Vodafone, whose £9million-a-year deal is being terminated early at the end of the season.
"Bryan Glazer and Manchester United's commercial director Andy Anson are handling the sponsorship situation and that is not going to change," said a source close to the Glazer camp, who added the club were still confident of securing a replacement deal by the end of the season.'