Manchester United fans have been yearning for a complete sale of the club to put an end to the despised Glazer ownership. While Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £1.4 billion deal to acquire a 25 percent stake isn’t the full takeover they desired, supporters hope it’s the initial step towards ousting the Glazers from Old Trafford.
The withdrawal of the Qatari-backed bid for a complete acquisition of United has paved the way for INEOS chief Ratcliffe to secure a substantial stake, granting him significant influence.
Ratcliffe, known for owning French side Nice and the Swiss Super League team FC Lausanne-Sport, has emphasized that his proposal for a 25 percent stake in United includes influence over football-related decisions.
This extends to player transfers, acquisitions, and sales, as well as the management, coaching, and football staff. However, the position of manager Erik ten Hag is not believed to be immediately threatened.
Many United fans believed that the only way their club could compete with state-owned teams like Manchester City and Newcastle was through the Qatari bid led by Sheikh Jassim, which amounted to £5 billion for full control of United.
The Qatari offer pledged to clear the club’s debt and invest over £1 billion in overhauling Old Trafford, upgrading the training ground, and strengthening the squad.
This, to an extent, mitigated concerns about the Qatari bid’s funding and the state’s human rights record, as fans believed it could restore the club to greatness.
Now, a more realistic assessment is needed regarding how the club will benefit from Ratcliffe’s investment and his subsequent influence at United. The 70-year-old is eager to make an impact and prioritize sporting excellence.
Unlike the Glazers, whose primary interest lies in maximizing global profit from the United brand, Ratcliffe is dedicated to achieving success in sports, which he is likely to demonstrate swiftly.
His commitment to elite performance is evident with his INEOS cycling team, which emphasizes excellence under Sir Dave Brailsford, his Director of Sport. It’s highly likely that Brailsford will assume a role at United once the minority stake is confirmed at a United board meeting this week.
While it may not be the outcome that United fans initially desired when the Glazers indicated the potential for a complete sale 11 months ago, Ratcliffe’s involvement represents a substantial new investor with a focus on football rather than profit.
His long-term vision aligns with the fans’ desire – to usher the club into a new era of success, free from the controversial US owners.