• Friday, April 19, 2024
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Beyond Finances: Ratcliffe says Manchester United investment not driven by money

Jim Ratcliffe

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe says his investment in Manchester United is not driven by the motive of making more money for himself.

The British billionaire’s acquisition of 27.7 per cent of Manchester United was officially confirmed on Tuesday evening, following Premier League and Football Association approval.

Ratcliffe made his fortune with petrochemicals company INEOS, remarked on the ‘great honour’ and ‘great responsibility’ of his new role and noted that his investment is to take Manchester United back to the pinnacle of club football.

Speaking to Helen Evans, and MUTV, Ratcliffe disclosed his motivations, philosophies and plans for Manchester United.

“Yes, I’m not interested in the financial aspects of this investment at all because I make enough money in chemicals and oil and gas really,” Ratcliffe said.

“This is not a financial investment. It’s because I’m interested in seeing Manchester United being successful again.

“It hasn’t been successful the last 11 years, but it needs to get back to where it should be, which is at the top of the game.”

INEOS is a global petrochemicals manufacturer which generates annual revenues of $65 billion.

In addition to Manchester United, they are involved with several other teams across various sports, including Nice – who sit third in France’s Ligue 1 table – the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team.

He further added that the club is currently weighing up whether to redevelop Old Trafford or build a brand-new stadium.

The future of our 114-year-old home has been the subject of much speculation in the last few years, with many fans keen to see the overall capacity increased.

The topic was one of the first raised in a new, in-depth interview Sir Jim gave to club media on Wednesday, following confirmation on Tuesday evening that the businessman had completed a deal to acquire part of the club.

Ratcliffe acknowledged that the stadium’s future was one of two pressing issues that he was particularly eager to confront.

“If you look at our role at Manchester United, there are two key issues that we have to address,” began the Failsworth-born INEOS chief.

“One is football, which is performance on the field really, which is always going to be our priority with Manchester United.

“But the second one, the second big issue really in the club, which a lot of people talk about and are conscious of, is where the stadium sits today.”

Sir Jim noted that Old Trafford still leads the way, in terms of size, when it comes to English club grounds, but was frank about the need for further progress.

“I mean, it’s an impressive stadium and it’s the largest Premier League stadium in the country – the second-largest stadium in the country to Wembley, I suppose,” he said.

“But it’s not quite of the standard you would expect of Manchester United today and it’s fallen behind. Maybe 20 years ago, it was [at the standard], but today, it’s fallen behind.”

Supporters are thirsty for more information on what happens next – given Ratcliffe has already pledged $300 million for ‘future investment in infrastructure at Old Trafford’ – but Sir Jim revealed that discussions are already underway.

“We do need to look at the way forward for the stadium, the redevelopment of that stadium, and that there are two roads we could take: we could refurbish the existing stadium or we could look at building a new stadium. And that’s what we’re looking at, at the moment.”

Ratcliffe also indicated that Old Trafford was very much the priority.

“Yes [Carrington is in our thoughts], but I think it’s secondary to Old Trafford,” he said. “Carrington is fairly impressive, I think. I quite like Carrington as a facility. I mean, I think there are things that we can do to improve it, but I don’t think they’re of the magnitude that the stadium requires.”