In a significant development, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the English billionaire, has acquired a 25% stake in Manchester United, marking a major shift in the club's ownership structure. The deal, valued at approximately $1.2 billion, sees Ratcliffe gaining significant influence over the club's football operations.
Ratcliffe, a lifelong Manchester United supporter, has pledged to invest heavily in the club, allocating £300 million for the reconstruction of Old Trafford and the Carrington training facility. Additionally, he intends to clear the club's substantial debt, estimated to be around £700 million, using personal funds.
While Ratcliffe's initial stake stands at 25%, he has expressed his desire to acquire an additional 25% of the club's shares, which are currently owned by the Glazer family. This move would give him complete control over the club's voting rights, enabling him to make crucial decisions about its future direction.
The Glazer family, who have faced intense criticism from Manchester United fans since their takeover in 2005, have retained 52.5% of the club's shares. They will continue to manage the club's marketing and other non-football operations.
Manchester United fans are looking forward to the new owner
The arrival of Ratcliffe, a passionate supporter and successful businessman, has been welcomed by Manchester United fans, who hope that his investment and involvement will revitalize the club and restore its former glory.
Ratcliffe's first task will be to assess the current management structure and decide whether to retain Erik ten Hag as the club's manager. The Dutchman has had a mixed start to his tenure, and his future at Old Trafford remains uncertain.
With Ratcliffe's acquisition, Manchester United enters a new chapter, one that promises significant investment, renewed ambition, and a potential shift in the club's leadership. The future of Manchester United under Ratcliffe's ownership remains to be seen, but the injection of fresh energy and financial backing has injected a sense of optimism among the club's supporters.