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Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s opening Manchester United statement recalled as Old Trafford investment creeps closer



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Credit: Imago

Sir Jim Ratcliffe could complete an investment to buy 25 per cent of Manchester United in the coming weeks after a fierce and prolonged battle with a Qatari consortium.

It was back in February when both Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim, the leader of the consortium from the Middle Eastern state, announced their intentions to purchase the Old Trafford club.

The Glazer family had announced their intentions to ‘explore strategic alternatives’, including the possibility of a full takeover of United in November 2022 but have instead opted for a minority investment from Ratcliffe, who restructured his offer twice, in the end.

After initially attempting to purchase the 69 per cent that the American family own to become majority shareholder, Ratcliffe is looking likely to succeed with a bid for 25 per cent, with the opportunity to buy the remaining shares of the Glazers in the coming years.

However, it has been widely reported that Ratcliffe and Ineos will have full control over the footballing side of operations after he comes in, which could lead to several high-level staff being replaced at Old Trafford.

With Ratcliffe also seemingly likely to eventually become the majority shareholder at the club, we take a look back to his company’s opening comments from February to see what we can hope to expect from the 70-year-old if his full takeover is eventually successful.

In a statement back in February, INEOS said: “We can confirm that Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS have submitted a bid for majority ownership of Manchester United Football Club.

“We would see our role as the long-term custodians of Manchester United on behalf of the fans and the wider community.

“We are ambitious and highly competitive and would want to invest in Manchester United to make them the number one club in the world once again. We also recognise that football governance in this country is at a crossroads.

“We would want to help lead this next chapter, deepening the culture of English football by making the club a beacon for a modern, progressive, fan-centred approach to ownership.

“We want a Manchester United anchored on its proud history and roots in the North-West of England, putting the Manchester back into Manchester United and clearly focusing on winning the Champions League.”

Several intentions within the statement earlier this year were clear. Footballing success on the pitch, particularly in European competition, but also a focus on involving the fanbase, something that has been largely missing under the Glazer ownership.

However, that opening message did not mention the potential expansion or rebuild of Old Trafford, which is something many have called for in recent years, or the Carrington training complex. At the time, this was something that worried some fans who read Sheikh Jassim’s statement in comparison, which promised investment into the stadium, training ground and surrounding area.

Yet, since the news broke that Ratcliffe is likely to be successful in his investment, Fabrizio Romano has stated that the British billionaire is planning to invest in the structure at the club, with Old Trafford and Carrington being two of the ‘missions’ for this.

Ultimately, the details of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s deal and the time-frame until he earns majority ownership seem like it will be crucial to whether or not he can properly succeed in many of the messages communicated during his and Ineos’ opening statement back in February.