Sir Jim Ratcliffe is expected to complete his 25% purchase of Manchester United after Sheikh Jassim pulled out of the race for Old Trafford.
As the news broke on Saturday afternoon, it was further revealed that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is expected to have a bid for 25% of the club ratified in the next few days – but the conditions surrounding this new minority ownership is helping Ratcliffe prove that he is not what many fans are expecting.
“Just another Glazer” is the phrase that has been circling social media in relation to Ratcliffe’s new involvement in Manchester United.
Many have speculated that, as Ratcliffe was happy to concede to a minority share of Manchester United despite originally bidding for complete ownership of the club, and that he has no plans to immediately clear the debt that the club had seen accumulate over the last 18 years, he is therefore no better than the current Glazer family owners.
As everyone knows, the Glazer family are hated by almost the entirety of the United fanbase and are widely recognised as some of the worst owners in football – when #GlazersOut trends on social media, rival fans often mockingly call for the Glazers to stay in power at the club, making #GlazersIn trend simultaneously.
The main issue behind the Glazer’s ownership is the money – the club is used as a cash cow. The company, Manchester United Plc., has been accruing debt, and interest on that debt, across the last 18 years of their ownership. Sheikh Jassim’s bid promised to wipe this debt, while Sir Jim Ratcliffe does not; a major sticking point for United fans.
Many have therefore landed at the conclusion that Ratcliffe is bidding for United in order to earn money rather than to improve the club and bring its former glories back – but there is a special clause in Ratcliffe’s new shareholding that proves this is not the case.
With his 25% share of the club, Ratcliffe does not just benefit from the dividends handed out to shareholders, but he has also demanded that he be in control of sporting matters at Manchester United – is it this negotiation tactic that is the reason why he has paid such as premium for the shares; he wants to get the most bang for his buck.
According to The Athletic, it is the sporting control that actually excites Ratcliffe and his team. Ratcliffe is said to be happy to just start with sporting control at the club because that is where his true focus lies as a boyhood Manchester United fan who grew up in Oldham on the outskirts of the famed city.
The idea behind the 25% bid is that he will eventually gain full control of the club over the next few years, but he is happy to let the Glazers continue with their majority control for now.
Ratcliffe’s demands to control the sporting side help to show where his true priorities lie – in the sporting side of the game, rather than just the monetary gain that comes with it. Obviously, we are yet to see exactly what effect Ratcliffe will have on the club as well as just how expansive his powers are, but the clear intentions are there.
Monetary gain of course will be a motivating factor in his move, after all, it is a business decision, but fans should take a second to note that just because this has been the negative drive that has caused the Glazer family to plunge the club into years of darkness, this does not mean that wanting to earn money is always going to be a negative factor.
If Ratcliffe goes about his new minority (and eventually majority) ownership of the club correctly, the financial gain can be used as a motivating factor to restructure and invest properly and smartly into the areas in the direst need of regeneration such as the stadium, training facilities, and internal structure, which will in turn once again create a winning machine and therefore generate even more cash.
If this is done correctly, everybody wins.
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