Fergie hails 'brilliant' Glazers

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The Independent Football

Impatient foreign owners may have caused problems for the manager this season at clubs such as Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, but Sir Alex Ferguson claims the Glazer family have been "brilliant" for Manchester United. So much so that they would keep the club's most valuable player, Cristiano Ronaldo, even if his desire to move to Spain pushed him as far as refusing to play for United, who are furious at Real Madrid's attempts to unsettle him.

Ferguson says the owners share his contempt for Madrid, who succeeded in luring Ruud van Nistelrooy and David Beckham to the Bernabeu but have been threatened by United with an official complaint to Fifa if they continue making their desire to sign Ronaldo public through the media.

"I've had a couple of meetings with the Glazers," Ferguson says. "Their attitude is, 'To hell with them'. They'd sit a player in the stand, I'm telling you, absolutely no doubt about it, just to prove a point. Not to give in to these people. They've got balls, I can tell you. I've been delighted with them in that respect."

The Glazer family's £800 million takeover in 2005 caused such ructions among some fans that they formed a breakaway club, the successful FC United of Manchester. Interest payments on the loans the Americans had to raise are believed to be £62m a year, but Ferguson says: "They've been good to this club, believe me. They have been brilliant owners. All the nonsense about them taking the club over and putting it in debt; every takeover in the world is done by debt. If I wanted to buy Marks and Spencer do you think I could just go under the floorboards and pull out £3bn? No, I'd go to the Bank of Scotland. Even in this recession they'd get £1.3bn for United now."

United's Supporters Trust are unconvinced, but other fans have been won over by the Glazers' willingness to let Ferguson work without apparent interference as well as their provision of an abundant transfer kitty.