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Volume 6 No. 217
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Manchester United Rejects Claims It Had Broken Wall Street Rules Over Moyes Sacking

ManU has "rejected claims that they have broken Wall Street rules" over the departure of Manager David Moyes, according to Alex Bell of the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS. Reports emerged that ManU will be "investigated by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) following their handling of Moyes’ sacking." ManU shares jumped by 7% on Tuesday following the news of Moyes' sacking, "adding tens of millions of pounds to the club’s value." That led to claims the Wall Street watchdog "had launched an investigation into the timing of the Moyes announcement, which led to shares growing in value." But a ManU spokesperson said that they "have acted according to both NYSE and the US Securities and Exchange Commission regulations." The spokesperson said, “We are in full compliance with all NYSE and SEC regulations.” Some analysts have said that turmoil "actually retains investor and sponsor interest and can have a positive impact on share price." Hume Capital's James Igoe said ManU’s share price "has gone up by more than 11 per cent in the past seven days." Igoe: "The share price went up by more than 11 percent in the last week. And it is not like they have been shooting lights out on the field" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 4/23). In N.Y., Sharon Terlep reported the decision by owners the Glazer family to fire Moyes before the end of his first season suggests that it "doesn't regard United's popularity as unshakable, especially at a time when other Premier League teams are pursuing global sponsors and audiences and spending lavishly on players." ManU is currently seventh in the EPL standings and could miss out on qualification for both the Champions League and Europa League competitions, but a "single bad season poses minimal danger" -- financially speaking. Sponsorship deals signed with the likes of Chevy and Aon "boast multiyear contracts." Nonetheless, the team's "poor performance this year bears consequences," as failure to qualify for next year's Champions League could lead to the loss of "tens of millions of dollars in broadcast revenue." Under the Glazers' ownership, the "executive face of the team" has been Exec Vice-Chair Ed Woodward. But sources said that ManU co-Chairs Joel and Avi Glazer are "heavily involved" and "speak daily to team officials." A source added, "It's as if the company is led by Joel and Avi is his chairman." Terlep notes the family gained control of the team in '05, and since then, team revenue "has nearly doubled on the strength of licensing deals with corporate giants around the world." Since a '12 IPO that "transferred 10% of the English soccer club to the public, the value of United shares has climbed 34%." That suggests that the franchise is worth $3.1B -- "more than twice what the Glazers paid" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/23).

BOSSES FLYING IN: In London, Jamie Jackson reported the Glazers will fly in to Manchester on Friday to meet Woodward "for discussions" about Moyes replacement. Led by Joel Glazer, with whom Woodward talks to daily, the owners "want to ensure a clear strategy is established regarding how to pursue their prime target, thought to be Louis van Gaal." The Holland coach takes up official duties on May 7 and he and the Dutch FA said "any action regarding his post-World Cup future should finish before then so that he can concentrate on the tournament." The Glazers are thought to want "a more hands-on role in finding Moyes's successor than last year" when they let former Manager Alex Ferguson choose his replacement (GUARDIAN, 4/23).

MOYES' STATEMENT: In London, James Ducker reported Moyes "sounded like a man still struggling to grasp the reality of managing a club of the magnitude of Manchester United as the League Manager’s Assocation (LMA) hit out at the manner of his departure." Moyes’ "decency and integrity were never in doubt but the final sentence will merely have reinforced the view that, for all his best intentions, for all his desire to succeed, he had still to fully appreciate the level of expectation, to fully understand that the bar must always be set extremely high." Moyes wrote in a statement, “I remain proud to have led the team to the quarter-finals of this year’s Champions League.” LMA CEO Richard Bevan said that they "were disappointed by the manner of Moyes’s departure, although, perhaps quite tellingly, they stopped short of rebuking United for dispensing with his services after such a short period in charge." Bevan: “The LMA is very disappointed with the nature of David’s departure from Manchester United and to read extensive reports in the press, confirming David’s sacking, before David himself had been spoken to officially by the club” (LONDON TIMES, 4/23).

WEIGHING IN: In Hong Kong, Steve Douglas opined when ManU overlooked Jose Mourinho and chose Moyes to succeed Ferguson, "they gambled on a manager with neither a recognised winning mentality nor experience of European soccer -- and with no trophies on his résumé." It "quickly became apparent, however, that Moyes lacked the gravitas for one of the biggest jobs in soccer -- that he was too satisfied with a mediocre level of performance, in awe of the team rather than ready to rebuild it." It "is hard to avoid the conclusion he was a man out of his depth" (SCMP, 4/23).

FERGUSON'S INPUT: In London, Daniel Taylor reported Ferguson "will be asked to take a prominent role" in deciding ManU's next manager "despite an acknowledgement within the club that he was responsible for choosing the wrong man last time." ManU is "deliberating between Louis van Gaal and Carlo Ancelotti" to replace Moyes. Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone "is also being considered." However, ManU is "leaning towards a more experienced candidate and their initial discussions, involving Ferguson, have concluded that the job has come too early for Ryan Giggs" (GUARDIAN, 4/22). Also in London, Paul Wilson wrote on the Guardian's Talking Sport blog that ManU supporters "must be hugely relieved" that Ferguson "is going to play a part in headhunting their next manager." He has "achieved such a lot in the game, he knows the club inside out and he must have every promising coach's number in his contact book, so what could possibly go wrong?" (GUARDIAN, 4/23).