Much like Gary Neville, I welcome Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s interest in buying Manchester United but it is far too early to get excited about the prospect of a Mancunian businessman saving our football club from the Glazer family.
The Ineos billionaire has been a popular candidate for some time among fans. I totally get why as I don’t want to fall down the same hole as clubs like Man City and Newcastle, with owners who run states that ignore decent human rights.
Ratcliffe initially made it clear he was interest in August before seeming to back away in the summer, as he believed the Glazers were not interested in selling the club. How wrong was he?
A boyhood United fan from Failsworth, we must wonder why he appeared interested in purchasing Chelsea? Maybe the bigger picture was to sniff out the Glazer family about a potential sale? We already all know Todd Boehly’s purchase made owners like the Glazers and Fenway Sports Group (Liverpool) think twice about cashing in.
Gary Neville has made a number of interesting comments on Ratcliffe’s interest after the wealthiest man in the UK made it clear he would be making an offer to the Glazers. For instance, first and foremost he simply wants to get rid of the Glazers and I get that. The second thing is that we still don’t know what potential bidders like Ratcliffe plan to do with the club. What will be there model? Will they clear the debt and upgrade our stadium and training facilities?
Speaking to Sky Sports, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News, Neville said: “The main thing is that the Glazers leave as quickly as possible and the second thing is that whoever takes it over, if they could hand it over to people who are in good hands and have a feeling for the club, that would be great.
“Jim Ratcliffe was born in Manchester and knows the area. If he wins it, I think there will be a lot of very happy Manchester United fans. He would want to do the right thing by the club – in fact I am sure that he would. That’s the main thing beyond the Glazers leaving, that they don’t hand it over.”
Neville also warned that Ratcliffe wouldn’t have bottomless bags of money to splash on United.
“I don’t think United can hand it over to another investment firm who are expecting a return on their money. That’s what worries me a little bit about private enquiry coming into football and that ultimately, they are looking for a return on their money and a return on their investment.
“If that’s the case, it could mean that United aren’t in a similar place to where this club [Manchester City] are here, or Newcastle with benefactors who are happy to live debt free, not have interest payments, not leverage debt against the club. Manchester United need to be a debt-free football club, with someone who’s willing to put money in.”
He added: “The problem is the price is going to be big and you’re going to need deep pockets. Whether Jim will need to bring people with him, I don’t know.
“But I’m hopeful that can happen, but it could be any number of buyers, it’s not going to be just Jim Ratcliffe bidding to buy this football club.
“The main thing is that they do the right thing, I’d like to see the criteria for what a new owner of Manchester United looks like. I’ve said that before… debt free, making sure they manage the facilities, making sure they put money into the football project. I think they are really important things.”
Let us know in the comments section how you feel about Ratcliffe’s proposal to make an offer for Manchester United. Can he be the club’s saviour?