05/14/2005 12:00AM

Soccer fans target stable


The racing empires of John Magnier and J.P. McManus could be the target of organized disruption by disgruntled Manchester United fans, the Racing Post reported on Friday.

Supporters of the British soccer club are angered over the sale of shares held by Magnier and McManus, two of Ireland's leading Throroughbred owners, to American businessman Malcolm Glazer, who now holds a majority interest in Manchester United.

A hardcore group of fans in both England and Ireland, operating under the name of Manchester Education Comm-ittee, is believed to be targeting not only Magnier's Ballydoyle yard in Ireland, where trainer Aidan O'Brien trains horses for Magnier, but also the Magnier horses who will be running at The Curragh's Guineas meeting next Saturday and Sunday and at Epsom's Derby meeting on June 3-4.

A planned protest against McManus's runners at the Cheltenam Festival in March 2004 by Manchester United fans who were upset over a dispute between Magnier and Man U coach Alex Ferguson over shares in the stallion Rock of Gibraltar was only averted when Ferguson himself appealed for calm.