United and the Irish connection

March 1997: Alex Ferguson is introduced to John Magnier and JP McManus at Cheltenham.

July 2001: During a four-year friendship with Ferguson based on racing, their company, Cubic Expression, acquires a 2.99 per cent stake in Manchester United. They increase it to 6.77 per cent.

August 2001: Magnier offers Ferguson a half-share in Rock Of Gibraltar (under terms that are now in dispute). Ferguson is registered as co-owner with the Irish Turf Club.

November 2002: Rock Of Gibraltar retires.

January 2003: Ferguson's name as co-owner is removed when "The Rock" is registered for stud purposes.

March 2003: Ferguson threatens Magnier with legal action over stud fees. Cubic, whose stake had gradually grown to 8.65 per cent, increase it to 10.37 per cent.

July 2003: As the Ferguson-Magnier row intensifies, Cubic's stake increases again, to 11.4 per cent.

October 2003: Cubic, having amassed small pockets of shares, buys Sky's 9.9 per cent stake in United to take its own share to 23.15 per cent.

November 2003: Ferguson issues a writ against Magnier over The Rock's stud fees.

January 2004: As questions are raised over United's transfer deals and corporate governance, Cubic's stake increases to 25.49 per cent.

February 2004: Cubic raises its stake to 28.89 per cent.