Football: Edwards to shed stake in United

MARTIN EDWARDS, Manchester United's chief executive, admitted yesterday that he would consider selling his shares in the club to help him become the next plc chairman.

Edwards has aspirations to succeed Sir Roland Smith next year and is prepared to sell some, if not all, of his 14 per cent of the world's richest club. Sir Roland does not have any United shares and the position is considered impartial.

"If I were to become chairman of the plc then it would be sensible for my holding to be reduced," Edwards said. "There is also an argument that says there is nothing wrong in having a stake but that maybe 14 percent is too high.

"I know that a lot of people will say this is Edwards cashing in again but I will do what I believe is best for me and what is best for the football club."

Edwards was in line for an pounds 80m windfall last season when BSkyB bid for the club and he would be well rewarded by prospective buyers now. The football speculator Joe Louis and other major players will be alerted by the news. Louis has long been in the market for a stake in a top English club and has the funds for a major share of United. Edwards has turned down recent approaches, including one from a betting syndicate.

Meanwhile, Edwards is still negotiating a new contract with the Roy Keane. A secret pact with the agents of the club's other big names could drive the United captain out of Old Trafford. Edwards has an agreement with the agents who negotiated the contracts of the other United players to keep them on "comparable terms" until 2002.

Some will be on pounds 25,000 a week, mainly the new arrivals, while most are on pounds 20,000 a week. This has been a practice agreed in a dozen or so cases recently. The pay scale is in operation until 2002 when it will be reviewed, a strategy that suits United who have tied up most of their players on deals up to that date. And it is why Keane's "final offer" from United is in the pounds 28,000 a week range and is as much as Edwards can pay one of the club's existing players without causing major problems.

Keane is looking for around pounds 40,000 a week which would break the agreement between Edwards and the agents, sparking a pay revolution. The spiral effect of that would be rises of around pounds 600,000 a year for every player, spread throughout the first team squad costing the club a further pounds 10m a season in wages. One agent confirmed last night: "There has always been a rider from Martin Edwards in negotiations that the players will be on comparable money until the year 2002. We all accept it although everyone is watching the Keane case with interest."

Keane is running out of time to accept United's contract which clearly is unlikely to increase and come near his demands.

Meanwhile, Andy Cole has said regrets his tackle on Simon Colosimo and has wished the Australian a swift recovery. The Manchester United striker has sent a private message to Colosimo after he was accused of jeopardising the defender's career.

United insist that Colosimo's injury was an accident. A statement from United said: "Andy Cole and Manchester United are extremely upset by comments in the media following our match in Sydney on Sunday, in which Andy was involved in an accidental collision with Simon Colosimo. Andy has sent a private message to Simon together with his best wishes for a speedy recovery."

New bid for Palace, page 27

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee