Manchester United takeover - a new dawn in Manchester

Ryan Allan

Ryan Allan

5

Sir Jim Ratcliffe's recent acquisition of a 25% stake in Manchester United has generated serious buzz about the under-performing club's future trajectory. 

To understand the potential impact of the Manchester Utd takeover, we must delve into the pre-existing discontent that existed within Old Trafford, dissect the details of the agreement, and analyse the shifting power dynamics that will shape the club's future in the seasons to come.

Before the takeover: A story of fan frustration

For years before Ratcliffe's arrival, Manchester United have endured a troubled period marked by declining performance, questionable financial decisions, and a growing disconnect between the club's leadership and its loyal fanbase. Years of subpar results on the pitch, coupled with financial mismanagement and a perceived lack of genuine investment in the playing squad have fueled a rising discontent amongst the support.

Man Utd Takeover

The much-maligned Glazer family, perceived as prioritising financial gain over sporting success, became the targets of the fan's ire, with demands for change reaching fever pitch in the past two years.

Ratcliffe emerges as knight in shining armour

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a lifelong United supporter and accomplished businessman, emerged as a potential investor in the club. With the Glazers announcing their willingness to consider a sale or partial sale of the club in late 2022, the 71-year-old British Billionaire stated his intent to buy or invest in the club.

Who is planning to buy Manchester United?

Following a lengthy process of negotiations, It was announced on Christmas Eve that the INEOS chairman had agreed to buy a 25 per cent stake in the Red Devils in a £1.3 billion deal with £238 million also to be invested into the club's infrastructure.

Of particular significance in the deal is INEOS's commitment to assuming sporting control of the club, marking the first time such responsibility has been entrusted to an external entity during the Glazers' controversial two-decade ownership tenure. 

While not a complete buyout, as many supporters had hoped for, the promise of a crucial injection of fresh impetus into the club's operations has at least raised hope amongst a frustrated fanbase.

Yet, despite the expected infusion of funds and pledges to clean up the mess created by the Glazers, real control of the club remains in the hands of the American family, who stand accused of continuing to prioritise revenue extraction over genuine stewardship.

Ratcliffe's pledge

In a statement reflecting his deep-rooted connection to the club, Ratcliffe expressed his ambition to propel Manchester United back to the summit of English, European, and global football. 

As a local boy and a lifelong supporter of the Club, I am very pleased that we have been able to agree on a deal with the Manchester United Board that delegates us management responsibility of the football operations of the Club

“We are here for the long term and recognise that a lot of challenges and hard work lie ahead, which we will approach with rigour, professionalism and passion. We are committed to working with everyone at the Club – the Board, staff, players and fans – to help drive the Club forward.

Timeline of Man Utd takeover process

Date Event
November 22, 2022: The Glazers confirm they are open to a sale but say other options "including new investment" will be considered.
February 17, 2023: Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani make rival bids for Man Utd takeover. Qatari wants to buy 100 per cent of the club.
March 23, 2023: Ratcliffe makes his second bid.
February 28, 2023 Glazers reject sale after bids fail to meet £6bn valuation.
March 5, 2023 Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe make it through to the next stage of the process along with an unnamed bidder.
April 28, 2023 Sheikh Jassim makes a world-record bid. Ratcliffe also makes an offer before the deadline.
October 14, 2023 Sheikh Jassim withdraws from the bidding process.
October 14, 2023 Sir Jim Ratcliffe set to agree £1.2bn deal for 25 per cent
December 24, 2023 Sir Jim Ratcliffe acquires a 25 per cent stake of Man Utd

Strategic vision and leadership changes

Despite the complexities of the INEOS deal, the arrival of key figures like Paul Mitchell (sporting director) and Dave Brailsford (renowned cycling performance director) signals a statement of intent to make serious changes off the park at Old Trafford.

Mitchell's proven track record in identifying and developing talent offers hope for a more strategic approach to player recruitment, while Brailsford's experience in building high-performing teams across different sports suggests a willingness to explore innovative methodologies in Manchester. 

On the park, Ratcliffe is already setting the wheels in motion for an overhaul of the United playing squad in the summer. Four major transfers have been promised by the incoming 71-year-old.

Yet, questions remain about the new appointees autonomy and influence within the power structure. Will they have the final say on key decisions, or will their voices be overshadowed by the Glazers' financial considerations?

Neville and Keane welcome change

Former players and pundits have welcomed the Manchester Utd takeover by Ratcliffe but pointed to the continued influence of the Glazer family.

Speaking after United's 2-0 defeat at West Ham in a Premier League match, Gary Neville reflected;

The owners [Glazers] said they were going to sell the club 12 months ago. How they didn't get that dealt with in the summer so that we started the season afresh [I don't know].

If Jim Ratcliffe can sort it out, then great, and hopefully he will then have some sort of exit plan for the Glazer family in the next three or five years. But the Glazers can't lose now. They are sat there in America like they have always been knowing that the main target won't be them when it comes to the football, it's going to be someone else.

Roy Keane welcomed the Man Utd takeover upon confirmation of the deal. However, the former United captain was typically uncompromising when asked about what the fans could expect from upcoming changes at Old Trafford.

Who knows," he said when asked what the 25 per cent stake taken on by Ineos would mean for United, "but it can’t be any worse than over the past few years in terms of decision-making upstairs regarding the recruitment, the fees they have been paying and the wages they have been handing out, so you hope there is a change in dynamic at the club, new opinions, but only time will tell”

A new dawn, but will the sun rise?

Sir Jim Ratcliffe's Manchester Utd takeover marks a transformative moment for the club. While his expertise offers hope for steering United out of their current challenges, crucial questions remain. With the Glazers retaining control, will Ratcliffe's influence be enough to restore the club to its former glory?

The coming weeks and months will be decisive in determining Ratcliffe's impact. Can he deliver on promises of revitalisation, or will United continue to struggle? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: all eyes will be on Old Trafford as this new era unfolds.

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Review Author

Ryan Allan

Ryan Allan

Originally from Scotland, Ryan is an experienced betting expert and content producer based out of Barcelona, Spain.

Reviewer

Eugene Ravdin

Eugene Ravdin

Hey! I've been working for the official UEFA website for 18 years as a translator, reporter, editor, and language version editor in chief.