Irish seek support for action over United dealings

John Magnier and JP McManus are moving closer to effective control of Manchester United by shoring up support among other shareholders to ensure crucial votes go their way. Insiders are increasingly confident that the pair will be able to emerge victorious from any vote at an Emergency General Meeting. If that transpired, they would effectively have the power to sack Sir Alex Ferguson or overthrow the board.

The United board hoped that Monday's promise of an internal review of recent transfers would be enough to placate the Irish racing tycoons, who had demanded that their concerns over Ferguson and the running of the club be taken seriously. The pair oppose any long extension to the contract of Ferguson, who is embroiled in a bitter legal dispute with Magnier over the stud rights to the racehorse, Rock of Gibraltar.

But a source close to Magnier said yesterday United had failed to address the pair's concerns outlined in a letter sent to the board earlier this month and that the internal review had changed nothing.

"The statement didn't address the serious issues raised in the letter about corporate governance which has been with the board for two weeks now," the source said. "It did nothing to alleviate the legitimate concerns of shareholders." The letter included 63 questions relating to corporate governance, compliance with regulatory guidelines, the conduct of player transfers and fees paid to transfer agents.

Magnier is likely to wait until the internal review, which is sure to lack the detail he demands, to call an EGM. He will call one earlier, however, if Ferguson is given anything more than a one-year rolling extension to his current contract. A rolling extension is expected to be announced this week.

The tycoons are confident they would enter any EGM in a position of strength. Their confidence stems from a belief that they can call upon some 35 per cent of voting rights, and possibly more, to side with them. With an EGM voting turn-out unlikely to top 75 per cent, they believe a majority is attainable, even before intense lobbying.

The pair own just over a quarter of United through their offshore investment vehicle, Cubic Expression. One ally is their fellow Irishman Dermot Desmond, the owner of Celtic who holds around 1.5 per cent of United. They are seeking others among a diverse range of shareholders that includes another acquaintance, the mining entrepreneur Harry Dobson, who owns 6.8 per cent.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam