Manchester United are set to welcome billionaire Ratcliffe as an INEOS Sport businessman soon, who could take control of 25 percent of the club in coming days if an agreement comes together with its 12-strong board voting as soon as this week on this matter. Ratcliffe may receive 25 per cent stake and be allowed to oversee sporting activities while Glazer family retains ownership over remaining shares.
Since November 2022 when Glazers began soliciting offers from potential bidders for control of Manchester United FC, the takeover process has been drawn-out and arduous. Sheikh Jassim, a Qatari royal who had long been considered as a potential frontrunner, eventually withdrew after they refused his offer of purchasing all shares outright. Initial plans had Ratcliffe purchasing majority ownership worth $5 billion while now his bid has changed and will instead include less than $1.5 billion for 25% minority share ownership.
Ratcliffe founded INEOS in 1998 after growing up as a Manchester United fan. Since then, his company has owned various sporting teams, including Ligue 1 outfit Nice and Switzerland’s FC Lausanne-Sport. Furthermore, this 70-year-old entrepreneur has amassed interests in Mercedes F1 team as well as various sailing and cycling teams associated with INEOS-branded teams under his control.
Ratcliffe has brought in his own experts to restructure Old Trafford’s football structure, including Paul Mitchell who recently left AS Monaco’s transfer guru role after successful spells at Southampton and Tottenham. Senior appointments may also be made within United itself with both Ed Woodward and Cliff Baty likely leaving.
Ratcliffe does not intend to sack either David Moyes or Louis van Gaal as part of this reshuffle at boardroom level, but instead intends to overhaul coaching structure so as to give more support for improving results on the pitch.
Apart from an underwhelming league record, Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils are currently suffering on the continent as they attempt to overcome an inferior group in the Champions League. Van Gaal has yet to find success this season in Europe and have lost three out of their opening five matches so far this campaign.
Ratcliffe’s arrival will be met with much enthusiasm by supporters who have long advocated for new ownership to save the club from financial ruin. However, many expect the new board will also need to reduce costs and player numbers rapidly in January as some current stars could potentially leave. With annual accounts showing over PS1 billion in debt already, pressure will likely mount to reduce this deficit quickly and responsibly.