Home » Athletic: Poll reveals overwhelming support for Jim Ratcliffe as next Man United owner

Athletic: Poll reveals overwhelming support for Jim Ratcliffe as next Man United owner

by Derick Kinoti

An online poll conducted by The Athletic has revealed that most respondents that took part in the survey prefer a scenario whereby Manchester United is under the stewardship of Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

United is up for sale and Friday was widely tipped as the Glazers’ soft deadline for prospective buyers to table their submissions.

Qatari investors led by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani were the first to submit their bid to the Raine Group.

In an official statement released by Al Thani, he confirmed his interest in United and his intention to restore the Red Devils to its former glories while placing fans at the heart of everything that is done within the club.

A subsequent report followed which relayed that Al Thani’s bid contains the promise of significant investment into the redevelopment of Old Trafford, the youth and women teams as well as the local area.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe also submitted his proposal. The INEOS billionaire is banking on his Manchester roots to succeed against Qatar.

Ratcliffe and Qatar are seen as the two heavyweights to become the next custodian at the Theatre of Dreams.

The Athletic posed a number of questions to their subscribers regarding what they want in potential owners and the results are interesting.

As per The Athletic, ” Sir Jim Ratcliffe who is the only person to publicly declare an interest in buying United [at the time of writing], came out on top by a considerable distance. Ratcliffe claimed 66.2 per cent of the vote, with Qatar second at 16.9 per cent.”

The Athletic provided Ratcliffe’s upbringing from a resident of a council house in Failsworth, north Manchester, to a chemicals billionaire as a possible story that resonated with subscribers.

The Athletic’s research exercise revealed that 98.2% of respondents are firmly against the prospect of the Glazer family retaining control at Old Trafford.

Another question sought to gauge fans’ openness to a sovereign wealth fund taking control of United.

“Just shy of half of you (49.9 per cent) said you would not be open to a sovereign wealth fund buying United. The rest was split: 26.6 per cent said you would and 23.4 per cent said maybe.”

On what matters most, sporting achievements took a marginal lead ahead of other objectives such as the debt being wiped out, a revamp of infrastructure, fan engagement, transfer spending and investment in the local area.

The Athletic adds, “Question five hits a similar tone, with 54 per cent of you caring where the money comes from. Only 9.9 per cent regarded this as not important at all, with 36.1 per cent neutral. Nationality is an even spread, but the biggest slice of the pie went to it not mattering at all 33.3 per cent. “Yes, a little” and “No, not very” options had an even split, with only 8.6 per cent feeling the background of a United owner mattered very much.”

Fan opinion was split when questioned on whether Ratcliffe should join hands with a Saudi fund. 45% voted that they wouldn’t mind, with 43% ruling that it would be a terrible idea.

There was a similar marginal split when the issue of multi-club ownership came to the fore.

Ahead of what is shaping to be a hotly-contested race, it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top.

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