A billboard near Old Trafford shows a picture of Sir Jim Ratcliffe above the words 'Welcome To Manchester' prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth at Old Trafford on December 09, 2023.
A billboard of new Man Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Man United fan group unconvinced by complicated Sir Jim Ratcliffe takeover

The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust have asked Sir Jim Ratcliffe to clarify how he plans to run the football side of the club after agreeing to a partial takeover.

The British billionaire agreed to buy a 25 percent stake in the Old Trafford club for about $1.3bn on Christmas Eve, but his Ineos Group will take control of football operations. Ratcliffe will also provide $300m (£236m) for future investment into Old Trafford.

In an open letter to Man United fans, Ratcliffe said it will take “time and patience” to “bring sporting success” back to the club, which has not won the Premier League since 2013.

Ratcliffe wrote: “I wanted to write to you at this time given the critical role of the fans to the future of Manchester United as we recognise our responsibility as custodians of the club on your behalf.

“I believe we can bring sporting success on the pitch to complement the undoubted commercial success the club has enjoyed. It will require time and patience alongside rigour and the highest level of professional management.

“You are ambitious for Man Utd and so are we. There are no guarantees in sport, and change can inevitably take time but we are in it for the long-term and together we want to help take Man Utd back to where it belongs, at the very top of English European and world football.

“I take that responsibility very seriously. Please note that, as with any deal, it is subject to the usual regulatory sign-off process and therefore we do not expect to speak publicly about club matters until after the deal has completed.”

The Supporters’ Trust are, like many Man United fans, eager to learn how this agreement will work in practice.

“We note the statements that he and his team will control sporting activities, yet puzzle how any organisation can put its very core business in the hands of a minority shareholder, and how that meaningfully works in practice,” they said

“It is now incumbent on the club’s owners and management to properly explain how this new structure will work, where the new investment will be directed and how it will benefit the team on the field.”

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