Ferguson mocks retirement talk as anti-Glazer moves hit home

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The Independent Football

Sir Alex Ferguson indicated yesterday that he intends to continue for at least one more season at the helm of Manchester United, dismissing the latest suggestions to the contrary as "rubbish, absolute rubbish" ahead of a hugely challenging afternoon against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.

"That's a laugh, if I've ever heard one. Absolute rubbish. I've no intention of retiring," Ferguson said yesterday. Having harboured such regrets about publicly announcing his departure nine years ago and then retracting, his thoughts will remain a secret until a pre-planned announcement and nothing can be ruled out.

That said, the strength of yesterday's rebuttal suggests that he is undeterred by the fact that United – relying heavily on their oldest warriors to maintain pressure on Chelsea – are facing fresh need for renewal and an ever-escalating scale of protests against the club's owners. "As I've said time and time again, the only thing that determines my staying here is my health," added the manager. "Unfortunately for you lot, I'm in rude health. You'll be gone before I'm gone, don't worry."

Ferguson, who should have Rio Ferdinand back today, is expected to start with Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford despite admitting that he needs more training in his recuperation from an ankle injury,

Meanwhile, the campaign against the club's owners was stepped up late last night with the extraordinary spectacle of giant anti-Glazer images being projected across an external corner of their own stadium. The slide show, devised by Manchester United Supporters Trust (Must), projected messages urging corporate sponsors to back the campaign to secure a change of ownership by withdrawing commercial support for the club.

The messages included: "It's time to choose sides: the fans or the Glazers" and "The Glazers are damaging MUFC". Must is also seeking to raise £15,000 to fund the mass production of scarves and cards to turn the season's last game, against Stoke two weeks tomorrow, into one of mass protest.

Following the leak of a full list of hospitality clients this week, Anglo Irish Banks has come under criticism in Ireland for spending £28,000 on Old Trafford facilities when it has only survived because of a taxpayer-backed guarantee and needs to find some £6.5bn this year.

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