Currently languishing at number 976 in the Sunday Times rich list on £30m, Ferguson could net substantial sums from his fronting of the investment vehicle run by City whizz-kid Mark Tagliaferri and secretive property developer Robert Whitton, say experts on brand sponsorship.
Conservatively they are putting the value to Ferguson of an association with AAIM at about £500,000 a year plus bonuses, which could see his annual pay cheque rise considerably even before extraordinary items such as the potential £3m annual income from stud fees from racehorse Rock of Gibraltar, in which Ferguson owns a part share, are taken into account.
Unlike other high-profile sporting sponsorship deals, Ferguson’s foray into the investment market is aimed at taking advantage of the United manager’s reputation among players rather than the public.
Viewed in footballing terms as a safe pair of hands who has nurtured the careers of players such as David Beckham and Ryan Giggs, protecting them from the media spotlight and advising them on their careers, Ferguson is one of football’s father figures, an invaluable reputation for AAIM’s stated intention of attracting cash-laden football stars to invest in the company’s property portfolio.
One of the UK’s wealthiest managers
As well as offering access to a money-filled pool of Premiership players anxious to bask in the company of English football’s most powerful manager, Ferguson gives AAIM the intoxicating prospect of drawing in other rich investors keen to share the limelight.
Now considered to be one of the wealthiest managers the UK has produced with a three-year, £11m contract and a house in Cheshire valued at £1.5m , Ferguson has not always been so well-rewarded.
By his own admission it is only in the ‘last eight months that I have earned what I should have earned’, a statement fuelling speculation that he may have only been earning about £250,000 a year before signing his most recent contract while some of his players were on salaries of £30,000 a week.
News of Fergie’s sudden emergence into the investment market is in line with his reputation as the canny Scot who plays his cards close to his chest and only moves when the time is right. His investment in Rock of Gibraltar proved inspired, as he bought into the horse before its true worth was realised.
But it may not all be plain sailing for Ferguson. Until now his business career has not shown the same spectacular success as his sporting activities. Investments in Toptable.co.uk and an association with internet company Oxygen did not prove successful.
But ACF Sports Promotions, which is jointly owned by Ferguson and his wife, is widely believed to have much of its value tied up in a property portfolio, and that could push Sir Alex much further up that league table.
First published by the London Evening Standard, 21st of July, 2003