Sir Jim Ratcliffe has completed a deal to buy minority stake in Manchester United. The British billionaire has spent just over £1bn to acquire 25% of the club and gain control of football operations. He will provide a further $300m (£237m) for investment in infrastructure at Old Trafford.
Ratcliffe, who previously attempted to buy Chelsea, wanted a majority holding in United from the Glazers but has had to settle for a quarter of the club. The deal is said to have been funded without debt and is subject to Premier League approval. Of the $300m Old Trafford investment, $200m is due on completion of the transaction and the rest by the end of 2024. Ineos is getting two seats on the board.
The Glazers of the Raine Group based in USA signalled 13 months ago that they were “commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives” and decided against a full sale. Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer, the executive co-chairmen, said:
“Sir Jim and Ineos bring a wealth of commercial experience as well as significant financial commitment into the club. And, through Ineos Sport, Manchester United will have access to seasoned high-performance professionals, experienced in creating and leading elite teams from both inside and outside the game. Manchester United has talented people right across the club and our desire is to always improve at every level to help bring our great fans more success in the future.”
Anticipated changes on the arrival of Jim Ratcliffe
Jim Ratcliffe’s arrival will throw a spotlight on the future of Erik ten Hag. While the club has been in flux there has been no structure to sack the manager and Ratcliffe will decide whether to keep faith with the Dutchman after a miserable first half of the season.
United are out of Europe after finishing bottom of their Champions League group and go into the Boxing Day game at home against Aston Villa eighth in the Premier League. They have not scored in their past four matches.
Sir Dave Brailsford, the Ineos sporting director, is poised to hold discussions with key United personnel and will make decisions, including about Ten Hag, thereafter. Brailsford will have a prominent role but it is unclear whether he will take over from John Murtough as United’s football director.
The Guardian reported that Murtough is not minded to leave and may accept a different role if Brailsford decides to replace him. High on Ratcliffe’s priority list will be to replace Richard Arnold, who has left as the CEO. Jean-Claude Blanc, the CEO of Ratcliffe’s Ineos Sport, is a favourite to succeed Arnold.
An encouragement for the fans is that Jim Ratcliffe is willing to spend on the infrastructure of the Old Trafford for instance the leaking roof and also investing heavily in the training facilities and the training ground, Carrington. The majority owners, Glazers received a lot of heat amidst his ‘ignorance’ towards the club.
According to the reports, the current manager of the club, Erik ten Hag could be under the radar following the club’s abysmal performance in the league and the horrendous exit from the Champion League. Sources say, Jim Ratcliffe has already identified Real Madrid legend, Zinedine Zidane and Brighton’s former coach Graham Potter to succeed Erik ten Hag if at all things go south.
Jim Ratcliffe is also ready to allow the expenditure in January transfer window following the club’s urgent need to address the Centre-Back position void and an experienced Striker’s needs in the team. The on-going scuffle between United’s Right-Winger, Jadon Sancho and the manager is also expected to come to an end with Jim Ratcliffe’s intervention.
Is the United community content with Ratcliffe’s arrival?
When the race to buy the biggest and most popular club in England started almost a year ago the Qatari prince, Sheikh Jassim had increased hopes for the fans. The fans thought his £10 Billion was more than enough for the club whose current value is not more than £7 Billion.
Glazers dejected the Prince and eventually he left the race leaving only one winner. It is fair to say the fans are not happy with Jim Ratcliffe’s appointment in the club. The community wanted a club free of the Glazer family who they term as ‘leaches’ and Qatar as their only owner.
Sheikh Jassim after leaving the race said ‘United lost the only opportunity to compete with their local rivals, Man City (owned by Saudi’s City Group Foundation). I felt the Glazers wanted to sought advantage out of my funds’.
More about Jim Ratcliffe and his investment experiences
British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe already has interests in football, Formula One and cycling. He now owns a slice of his boyhood club, Manchester United. It was announced on Sunday that the founder of chemicals giant INEOS had bought a 25 percent stake in the Premier League giants after a protracted saga.
INEOS joined the race to buy United early this year after the club’s owners, the Glazer family, said they were willing to listen to offers. United fan Ratcliffe, who made an unsuccessful bid to buy Chelsea last year, has long been linked with the Old Trafford club.
The 71-year-old already has an impressive sporting portfolio that includes French club Nice and Swiss team FC Lausanne-Sport. In 2019, cycling powerhouse Team Sky became Team INEOS and the following year INEOS bought a one-third stake in the Mercedes Formula One team.