United Coach Ferguson Says He Won’t Personally Profit From IPO

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said he won’t benefit financially from the English soccer club’s planned initial public offering.

United, the record 19-time English champion, is looking to raise as much as $333 million from its New York listing. Details of the plan have angered some supporters who’ve criticized a planned “2012 Equity Incentive Award Plan” for key employees.

Supporters have protested the U.S.-based Glazer family since it bought the club in a 790-million pound ($1.22 billion) leveraged buyout in 2005. More than 500 million pounds have already been paid in interest and fees associated with the takeover, while the club has almost as much in debt. The Glazers can cash out half of the IPO proceeds.

“In regards to suggestions that I have praised the Glazer family because I stand to financially benefit from the proposed IPO, there is not a single grain of truth in this allegation,” Ferguson said in a statement released by Manchester United today. “I do not receive any payments, directly or indirectly, from the IPO.”

Ferguson helped revive Manchester United’s fortunes after coaching the team to its first league title in 26 years in 1993. Since then United has claimed 11 more championships and added two European Cups.

United’s success has come even though it’s been outspent by clubs like Chelsea and current English champion Manchester City, which have billionaire owners. Fans have protested against the Glazers, saying their debt repayment has taken money away from Ferguson to buy players.

Manchester United’s annual revenue of more than 300 million pounds is bigger than all its English rivals. Ferguson has never criticized the owners, saying they’ve been “great” to work for.

“Ultimately, I run the football side of this club and in order to do this, you need backing from above,” Ferguson said. “The Glazer family have let me get on with my job, there is no interference or obstruction, only support.”

The Scottish-born coach, 70, has been at Old Trafford since 1986.

“My decisions and beliefs are not based around what is best for my personal financial gain,” he said. “That is an accusation that insults me. If that was the case, I would have left Old Trafford a long time ago.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in London at tpanja@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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