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By ESPN Staff
Jan 13, 2006

Fans dismiss Ferguson's Glazer praise

Manchester United fans' groups have dismissed Sir Alex Ferguson's backing of new owner Malcolm Glazer.

In the wake of Patrice Evra's £5million move from Monaco, Ferguson declared Glazer had proved to be an 'excellent' owner of the Red Devils, who has so far fulfilled all the promises he made when he bought the club for £790million last year.

Ferguson's views have gone down badly with those who opposed Glazer's buy-out and still expect the ambitious business plan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner - who took on £540million of debt to complete the deal - to fail.

'It is as though £500million of debt is just being airbrushed out of history,' said Mark Longden, chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association.

'The figure is so vast, most fans have decided not to think about it. But it is still there and no-one has a clue what the Glazers are going to do about it.

'In some senses, it is not an issue for today. But in two years' time, when they have to start paying it back, it will be a pretty big issue.

'It is sad that people such as Sir Alex Ferguson are taking a short-sighted view like this.

'Signing players has never been a problem for Manchester United in the past so it is difficult to see why spending this kind of money should be seen as a positive move on Glazer's behalf.'

The Manchester United Supporters' Trust (previously Shareholders United) are equally disturbed by Ferguson's analysis.

Privately, they question how much the club have paid up front to Spartak Moscow and Monaco respectively to secure Evra and Nemanja Vidic, who completed his £7million move from Spartak Moscow last week.

And they also point to savings made through the recent departures of Roy Keane and Phil Neville, plus a dozen youngsters on various loan deals as evidence of the £12million being clawed back in other areas.

'Sir Alex has shown himself to be not only an exceptional football manager but also a very shrewd man,' said a statement released by the Trust.

'It would be an extremely foolish (and short-lived) employee who does anything other than praise his employer in public.

'We welcome the fact that some money has been made available and no doubt all Manchester United supporters would like to see a lot more than that.

'Many feel the squad is in dire need of strengthening and a cash injection of £100million might be required if we are serious about challenging for the top honours as we have done so successfully until recently during Sir Alex's reign.

'Unfortunately until there is a change in ownership that kind of major squad investment will remain impossible due to the huge debt the current owners have saddled us with. Any squad investment is not coming from the Glazers' own pockets but is simply adding to the huge debt, which must now be approaching £700million with the interest that is racking up.

'The only long-term solution for Manchester United is a club owned by supporters because there are no other owners who would allow 100% of the profits to be reinvested in the club.'