He is no ostrich like the Glazer family... Ratcliffe gladdens United fans | Football News - Hindustan Times
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He is no ostrich like the Glazer family... Ratcliffe gladdens the hearts of United fans

Feb 27, 2024 03:26 PM IST

Jim Ratcliffe's explosive interview shows a lot about Manchester United's condition.

INEOS chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who recently acquired a minority stake in Premier League club Manchester United, has given an extensive interview to BBC Sport.

Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe did not mince words. (Bloomberg)
Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe did not mince words. (Bloomberg)

The interview was pleasant in many ways for United fans. For one thing, Ratcliffe lived up to his reputation as a no-nonsense person. A lot of successful businessmen have that kind of reputation but very rarely does one see them show that side on camera. Credit to Ratcliffe, he was himself all through the interview and even very tough questions elicited responses from him when he could have evaded them like a breeze.

One thing that struck one and all was that he recognized Manchester United were struggling and that they were struggling for a very long time now. And that a lot of things off the field were out of order at the club and they were hampering things on the field. He didn’t hide that the environment at the club wasn't right or else so many managers since Ferguson would not come and go just like that.

In a way, he painted a very grim picture. But at the same time he sounded upbeat, giving the impression he was up for the challenge at hand even if it was going to take some time before the Red Devils got back to their feet.

Manchester United's deterioration in the last 10 years or so is unbelievable. In the Premier League era, they have won a whopping 13 titles, the most by any club in England to date. They enjoyed the reputation of being one of the best clubs in the world, boasting millions of followers in every nook and corner of the world. All that changed after the club's long-time manager Alex Ferguson retired. In his last season in 2012-13 he led the club to a Premier League trophy, the last time they won a top-flight title.

They have since only won a handful of lesser trophies. Their American owners, the Glazer family, at the helm since 2005, have been at the receiving end with fans accusing them of lacking passion and accountability to run a club of the stature of Manchester United.

Ratcliffe was born in Greater Manchester and since childhood has been a Red Devils fan. When the news of his attempts to take over United surfaced shortly after the Glazer family revealed they were looking for buyers in 2022, there was jubilation among fans who were convinced because of his England and more importantly Manchester connection he would be much more result-oriented and caring. The kind of things Ratcliffe has said in the interview one can see why fans' faith in him wasn't misplaced.

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"The deal itself isn’t perfect, though I am happy that the Manchester-born billionaire has a stake in the club because fans have plenty of reason to believe this is a foot in the door that may eventually lead to the end of the Glazers," a United fan voiced their opinion on BBC Sport’s “Fan’s Voice”.

Ratcliffe has committed to bringing back the glory days which only suggests one thing a massive shake-up is in store. The way he spoke... it seems he has been given a free hand by the rest of the co-owners to turn United's fortunes around.

Not just fans, even rivals believe Ratcliffe can rid United of all the infestation that has plagued the club. Pep Guardiola, who belongs to the other half of Manchester as City manager, is one of them who believes the 71-year-old billionaire can do the fixing job at Old Trafford. Speaking of which Ratcliffe has also made it clear he is looking at the possibility of a new stadium. The current stadium has come in for a lot of criticism in recent years over not being in touch with international-standard requirements.

Despite his determination to change the order of things at the club, by the look of things, he is unlikely to do anything before the ongoing season ends. There isn't just enough time to crack the whip and get desired results in 2023-24. But believe him to take charge in the off-season up to the hilt and set things in motion for 2024-25.

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