In an era of faceless foreign corporations buying English football clubs, stripping their assets and, by and large, leaving them in a worse state than they found them, all supporters want is an owner that shows some passion for the entity they are buying.
And so Manchester United supporters will surely have a spring in their step today after it was revealed that Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a United fan and the de-facto richest man in Britain, has shown an interest in buying out the detested Glazer family.
Before the red half of Manchester starts rolling out the bunting and setting off fireworks, it should be noted that the Glazers are only willing to sell a minority stake in the club – for now, at least.
Despite the fact they are roundly hated at Old Trafford, the Glazers don’t want to five up their majority ownership of a club and company worth an estimated £5 billion, however they have accepted that they need a more publicly-accepted figurehead to act as their representative.
Step forward Ratcliffe, who had actually made a bid to buy Chelsea during the post-Abramovich takeover battle that eventually went the way of Todd Boehly.
But a representative for the 69-year-old has confirmed that he would be more than willing to shift his interest to his beloved United, revealing:
“If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer….if something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership.”
United supporters are reportedly planning another protest against the Glazers before Monday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool, and the hope is that doesn’t escalate to the kind of situation which saw a meeting between the two clubs postponed back in 2021 after things threatened to turn nasty.
A History of Success
It’s thought that Jim Ratcliffe has a net worth of around £10 billion, which ranks him amongst the richest people on the planet.
Much of that has come about from his ownership of the company Ineos, which makes its money through energy, chemicals and trading in commodities. His firm has invested billions in a pipeline that transports oil and gas supplies to the UK from the North Sea.
Those riches have enabled Ratcliffe to invest in his other interests and passions, and one of those is evidently football – he has a controlling stake in the French club Nice, who reached the Coupe de France final last term, and Swiss outfit Lausanne, who sadly for them were relegated to the second tier of football in Switzerland last season. United fans will be hoping that isn’t an omen of things to come….
Ratcliffe has other sporting interests too, and has invested in perennial F1 champions Mercedes. He also acquired the Team Sky cycling franchise back in March 2019, changing their name to Team Ineos and going on to with the Tour de France and Giro D’Italia.
The billionaire has intimated that his old friend, former British Cycling performance director Sir David Brailsford, could be involved in the project. He believes in ‘marginal gains’ and the power of the extra 1%….although it may require a bigger number than that to turn Manchester United back into a Premier League powerhouse.