Manchester United supporters’ group, The 1958, have vowed to continue their long-standing protest against the Glazer family, despite the recent confirmation of Sir Jim Ratcliffe as a co-owner.
The British billionaire’s minority stake ownership bid was announced on Christmas Eve for 25% of the club in a deal worth in the region of £1.3 billion.
As part of the agreement, Ratcliffe’s INEOS Sport team will assume full control over the football operation at Old Trafford. He has also promised to provide significant investment to infrastructure at the club.
United recently announced Omar Berrada would be their new chief executive after poaching him from local rivals Manchester City. The appointment is considered a potential “game-changer” by football insiders, who reveal it is a move which suggests the INEOS revolution has begun as he is not an appointment the Glazers would have made.
In light of this, the 1958 published their official response to this and the recent takeover developments in general. The group stated:
“With the impending investment into the club by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the announcement our club will be appointing a new CEO, we feel the right decision is to keep monitoring progress and let the new structure and strategy play out.
“We believe the Ratcliffe investment and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing gives us more hope for a brighter future and a potential clearer pathway towards majority ownership further down the line.
“This doesn’t mean we rest on our laurels. The aftermath of the European Super League is proof sitting back and doing nothing is not an option. We are working towards a next phase, strategy and plan.
“We have more than 52,000 supporters signed up to our ‘Claim Back United’ website. Over 29,000 being season ticket holders or members. Now is the time to develop that intent and move forward with our plans.”
“A generation of supporters have fought and battled to rid our club of these owners. We never wanted them at the start and we don’t want them now. We owe it to ourselves and the legacy of these efforts to ensure they are removed. We hope Sir Jim is an ally and vehicle in making this happen. Do not forgive and do not forget the damage the Glazers have done to our club and fan base.
“We will be watching developments closely and will continue our fight until the Glazers have been removed. This has always been one of our primary objectives. We will update more soon.”
There are many figures who believe the deal with Ratcliffe is the first step towards the Glazers eventually relinquishing full control of United. Conversely, there are others who see the agreement as a marriage of convenience.
The INEOS Sport team gets full autonomy over one of the world’s biggest sporting institutions with the prospect of returning it to its former glories. The Glazers are freed of the responsibility of producing results on the pitch; instead they are able to focus on their sole motivator – commercialism.
The 1958 are justified in their judgement to keep “watching developments closely” but the installation of INEOS at the head of the football operation is an undoubted boost for the club, which they rightfully acknowledge.