Magnier's legal action damages hopes of a deal

Hopes of an imminent peace deal between Sir Alex Ferguson and John Magnier receded yesterday when Magnier took fresh court action against the Manchester United manager in their dispute over the stud rights to Rock of Gibraltar.

Weekend reports emanating from Manchester had claimed that Ferguson's lawyers were on the verge of offering a compromise deal to settle the row. One suggestion was that Ferguson would settle for a one-off payment in the low millions from Magnier rather than press for 50 per cent of fees that may eventually top £200m. If such a deal could be agreed, so the theory went, Ferguson would emerge with his pride intact and Magnier would "call off the dogs" in his pursuit of information about United's financial affairs.

Yesterday's court action and subsequent rumblings from Magnier's camp blew those possibilities out of the water. First, Magnier issued what is effectively a "put up or shut up" legal ultimatum to Ferguson over the latter's claim to half of the racehorse's stud earnings. That is unlikely to make Ferguson more amenable to settlement.

Second, it became evident that whatever happens in the Rock of Gibraltar case, Magnier and his business partner JP McManus will not cease their probing of United's affairs. "Their correspondence and dealings with the Manchester United board will be unaffected by the quite separate issue of Rock of Gibraltar," said a source close to Cubic Expression, the company through which the Irishmen own 25.49 per cent of United.

"Their focus remains the same," the source added, referring to demands from Cubic for an independent investigation into United's transfer dealings and answers to 99 questions about how the club is run.

The source denied any knowledge of a peace offer from Ferguson and said Cubic had had no contact with Ferguson or his representatives about any such deal.

Magnier's legal action yesterday involved filing a "motion to comply" on Ferguson in the High Court in Dublin. This, in effect, demanded that the United manager substantiate his claim for half of Rock of Gibraltar's stud fees. Magnier received this claim from Ferguson in December and reacted by requesting the "Particulars" of the claim - precise details about when, where and how a deal on the horse was supposedly struck.

Ferguson's legal team was given until 12 January to provide the Particulars but requested a seven-day submission extension, which was granted on 11 January. When no Particulars were forthcoming, two further extensions were granted. The last expired on 30 January.

"Alex Ferguson has now failed to meet three deadlines to provide details of his statement of claim," said the Cubic Expression source. "Now he will have to comply under the court order."

Magnier and McManus will maintain their pressure on United's board over corporate governance and, if necessary, call an EGM later this year to seek information.

Cubic's demand for greater transparency at United continues to have repercussions beyond the bounds of Old Trafford. Ferguson's son, Jason, who is director of the Elite Sports Group agency, is considering quitting his job. Ferguson Jnr and Elite have both been linked to transfer deals that Cubic want investigating. No directors at Elite were available for comment yesterday.

The unlikeliest location for fallout from the dispute is Taunton racecourse, a potential target today for protestors against Magnier and McManus. Protests have been encouraged by the influential Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association.

McManus has two horses due to run at Taunton today but the course's managing director, John Hills, declined to say whether security would be increased. "We review security for every meeting," he said. "This is no different."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition