Sir Alex Ferguson last night issued a furious denial that he supports the Red Knights' prospective £1.5bn takeover bid for Manchester United amid claims that the Old Trafford boss was even prepared to invest his own money into a buyout.
The veteran United manager has been personally linked with several members of the group, made up of super-rich investors including Jim O'Neill, chief economist of Goldman Sachs, a former member of the Unitedboard and a one-time friend of Ferguson.
And Ferguson was linked even closer to the group with an unnamed City source said to be allied to the Red Knights quoted in a Sunday newspaper as saying: 'Alex Ferguson is not only supportive of the bid but would be prepared, if successful, to back it.'
Ferguson responded to the rumours by saying: 'It's absolute rubbish. Not an ounce of truth in it.'
A United spokesman backed up Ferguson's words, claiming: 'The Glazer familyand the manager enjoy 100 per cent trust in each other.'
The Red Knights refused to discuss Ferguson's position.
The Scot has so far refused to attack the group's plans, saying: 'I've no issue with the Red Knights. I know some of them, I'm quitefriendly with a couple of them. If they want to try to buy the club,it's entirely up to them.'
United's owners, the Glazer family, have insisted that the club is not for sale despite the growing 'green and gold' protest against the level of debt the club has amassed under the Americans' ownership - £716million according to the latest figures.
No distractions: Paul Scholes celebrates United's winner at Wolves on Saturday
United fans are wearing the colours of Newton Heath, the original guise of the club, to demonstrate their opposition to the current regime and Ferguson last week refused to condemn such actions saying 'all sinners welcome'.
The support of United's figurehead, who has won 26 trophies in 24 years at Old Trafford, would be seen as a huge boost for any group of potential new owners but Ferguson has yet to voice any criticism of the Glazers.
Meanwhile speculation has also surfaced that a separate takeover bid from a group of foreign businessmen is being backed by Pini Zahavi, the Israeli super-agent and representative of Rio Ferdinand, United's skipper in Saturday's 1-0 win over Wolves.
Zahavi was one of the men who orchestrated Roman Abramovich's buyout of Chelsea.
Glazer out: United fans demonstrate their unhappiness at the club's American owners with green and gold scarves (above) and banners (below)
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