Last updated : 26 January 2004 By Editor
The Telegraph reports:

‘Manchester United have begun the search for a high- profile
mediator to broker talks to end the damaging row between Sir
Alex Ferguson and the club's major shareholder, John
Magnier, but they have refused to back down over their
manager's contract and are confident he will sign a new deal
this week.

‘The Daily Telegraph understands that Gill was working hard
behind the scenes yesterday to establish a meeting with
Magnier and McManus, who own 25.49 per cent of the club, and
that he will use a third party to mediate talks.

‘United hope the go-between, who would have to possess
excellent business contacts as well as be able to convince
both sides of his neutrality, would engage Magnier and
McManus in negotiations to prevent any more embarrassing
disclosures such as yesterday's leaked letters.

‘A possible name is retail billionaire Philip Green who, it
emerged yesterday, was crucial in bringing together Gill and
Fulham chairman Mohamed Fayed in order for the two clubs to
conclude the £12 million transfer of striker Louis Saha.

‘The United plc board are desperate to avoid the worse case
scenario which would involve Magnier and McManus calling an
extraordinary meeting of the club's shareholders which would
put pressure on Gill and Ferguson.'