The Manchester United takeover saga is coming to an end after almost a whole year of negotiations and Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS company are almost on the verge of securing a 25 percent stake in the club, subject to approval from the club's board of directors on Thursday. The Glazers family are widely despised by the Manchester United community of fans who accuse them of mismanaging the club but they will largely remain in control of the club as they keep charge of the commercial operations of the club. This was not the solution the club fans were hoping for as they were looking forward to the Glazers not being part and parcel of United's hierarchy. INEOS has a good track record of working across elite sport and is now expected to shake things up at Old Trafford. The club has experienced a decade of decline under the Glazers' watch. Ratcliffe's arrival comes just at the right time amid United's horrendous start to the season. United are sitting at position 10 in the Premier League table and have lost all the UEFA Champions League games they have been involved in this season.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe was many fans' top choice to become the club's next owner, however, most of them would have liked him to take full control of the club and not a minority stake as the one he has negotiated in his deal. It should not be hard for Ratcliffe to win over the fans' support therefore as he starts his United tenure. He grew up in a council estate in north Manchester, just a mile from where Manchester United was founded and he attended the 1999 Champions League final in Barcelona, one he described as "my most extraordinary football memory". After initially targeting a 69% stake and then a 50% stake, the 25% stake he is set to receive is only going to anger more fans as it still leaves the Glazers family well in control of the club. In France, Ratcliffe is known for engaging with Nice supporters and it should not be hard to get people on board again if he shows his face in public, attends matches regularly, and speaks to the fans' advisory board and other supporters groups, while demonstrating he is committed to getting Manchester United back on track.
Related Article: Sir Jim Ratcliffe Purchases Manchester United as Sheikh Jasim bin Hamad Withdraws from the bidding process.
Old Trafford remains the biggest club ground in Britain and one of the biggest in Europe, but its status has been diminishing significantly due to a lack of investment in the stadium's infrastructure. The last meaningful upgrade to the stadium came back in 2006. Since then, the only change has been the odd lick of paint or the successful installation of Wi-Fi. The stadium feels increasingly outdated, especially compared with the shiny new homes of Arsenal, Tottenham, and West Ham, and the modernized grounds of Manchester City and Liverpool. City's Etihad Stadium was even chosen over the Theatre of Dreams to host matches in the Euro 2028 which will be hosted in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is understood that Ratcliffe wants to increase Old Trafford's capacity to 90,000. He will, however, have to do more than just add seats and that will require a substantial amount of investment. Barcelona are set to spend up to €1.5 billion (£1.3bn/$1.58bn) to revamp Camp Nou and Real Madrid will cough out a cost of up to €1 billion (£868m/$1.05bn) on modernizing Santiago Bernabeu.
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