Sir Jim Ratcliffe has given an interview with the Financial Times this evening, with Manchester United a key item on the agenda.
The INEOS Chairman and Founder was asked about a wide range of topics, from energy price hikes to car-making ambitions, but it is his comments on the Red Devils that will make waves.
With United having spent the last decade struggling under the Glazer ownership, Ratcliffe has been widely tipped to initiate a takeover bid.
He admitted that he would run the club “differently,” and gave his thoughts on the club’s situation post-Ferguson.
“The biggest correlation in success in football is money. It’s not the only one, because there are exceptions. Manchester United were one of those clubs, but they’re not playing in the leagues of those other teams and they haven’t done since Sir Alex stepped down.”
When asked about the likelihood of such a move, he poured cold water on the notion.
“I’m a lifelong Manchester United fan. I was there in 99. Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family, who I have met. They’re really nice people and they don’t want to sell it.
“If it had been for sale in the summer, we would probably have had a go.
“We can’t sit around waiting for Manchester United to become available.”
“The most popular sport in the world is football and we should have a Premier club as an asset.”
The news will certainly be a blow to protestors of the Glazer ownership, with the Tampa Bay family often appearing to be an immovable obstacle to the club’s progress.
Gross mismanagement of United’s resources has seen the Red Devils fall further and further behind local rivals on and off the pitch, with no end in sight while the remote owners pull the strings.
Ratcliffe’s discouraging comments will do little to suggest a brighter future is available at Old Trafford.
He did appear to leave the door open, saying “The most popular sport in the world is football and we should have a Premier club as an asset.”
But the chance that the INEOS founder may move onto another club will do little to embolden fans warm to the idea of a Ratcliffe-owned United.
While other bidders may move into the picture, Ratcliffe had appeared to be the ideal candidate to take over Manchester United.
Not only is Ratcliffe a lifelong fan of Manchester United, but he also has genuine experience of owning a football club, wide-ranging industry knowledge, and the financial clout to back up ambitions for the side’s infrastructure.
Fans must now hope that another solution to the Glazer problem presents itself, with the family seemingly nowhere near ready to sell.
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