Fergie free to 'splash cash'
Manchester - Manchester United chief executive David Gill insists Sir Alex Ferguson can splash out as much as he wants in the transfer market despite fears the club's mounting debts is restricting his spending.
United's debts have reportedly passed £500 million since the Glazer family bought the club and fans believe that forced Ferguson to shop in the bargain basement when he looks for new recruits.
Following last year's £80 million sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid, Ferguson only signed Antonio Valencia and Gabriel Obertan as replacements.
He has brought in untried youngsters Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez for next season, but there is little sign of a big-name arrival at Old Trafford.
The lack of spending has further infuriated supporters who blame the Glazers' perceived financial mismanagement for United's failure to retain the Premiership title.
But Gill, speaking in an interview with The Independent, emphasised that Ferguson does have significant funds to spend.
"The money is there. People say Alex is saying that because he has to," Gill said. "Anyone who knows Alex Ferguson knows he wouldn't say that if he didn't mean what he said.
"The money is definitely there. The results for the quarter ending March 31 will show the figures are about 95 million cash.
"We are not in a situation whereby Alex is restricted in what he wants to do with the club and his modus operandi as a manager. We have never said: 'You can't do that, we have to pay interest (on the debt).'
"I can look you in the eye and say that. He would say exactly the same thing. People don't believe it. We never said to him: 'You can't go for that player because he's too much'."
United fans have mounted a highly visible "green and gold" protest campaign against the Glazer family's ownership, with an increasing number of supporters wearing the green and gold scarves at matches, representing the club's early incarnation as Newton Heath.
But Gill is adamant that many of the supporters who wear the scarves do not fully understand the meaning of the protest.
"The green and gold campaign and the momentum behind that can get a bit tiring," Gill told The Independent.
"We understand people's desire to protest and I think it is a minority. It's a visible minority in the stadium.
"Would we prefer not to have them [green and gold scarves]? Yes.
They have a right to protest. A lot of the fans clearly care about the club and that is a strength.
"But a lot of the other fans want to know that the team is playing attractive football, exciting Manchester United-style football, winning football. Who owns it is a bit irrelevant to them.
"I think that the green and gold minority will go away. A lot of people understand what it means but a lot of them don't."
Gill also moved to discredit the Red Knights group that are aiming to take over the club, saying their ambitions are doomed to failure.
"It is not an easy model when you get all those people to sign up," he said.
"There are different levels of investment. To then say, 'we are going to involve the fans'? It is not easy.
"I have experienced running a football club and I do firmly believe that short, sharp decision-making is what is needed.
Whether you are buying a player or whatever, you need to get on and do it."