The reputation of a sporting legend and the public face of an institution are at risk for the sake of... a horse?
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson faced a tough week as a ‘private matter’ concerning ownership of racehorse Rock Of Gibraltar threatened to sully his own and his son’s reputations, and the integrity of the UK’s most successful football club of recent years. The ‘enemy’? John Magnier, a leading shareholder.
Magnier’s weapons included 99 uncomfortable questions on transfers, agents’ fees, governance and accounting. Ferguson condemned all insinuations of misconduct: ‘Harassment of family brings out fighting spirit in Ferguson’ (The Times, 31 January).
During Saturday’s match, United’s fans gave Fergie their support: ‘Loyal fans make it a sour day for the
sugar daddies’ (independent.co.uk, 1 February).
After the weekend,however, a truce was sought, the top suggestion being that MUFC’s ‘tranquillity’ should not be jeopardised ‘for a load of horse semen’ (The Daily Telegraph, 1 February).
Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.