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Ways that Ratcliffe can get Manchester United back on track
sokapro-Ways that Ratcliffe can get Manchester United back on track

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is set to control the sporting operations of Manchester United once his purchase for 25% stake of the club is approved and he has plenty of task ahead of him in bringing United back to football glory.

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.

Ratcliffe and INEOS sporting director Sir David Brailsford will have to revamp United's recruitment network to ensure they have a large pool of players to choose from and are not taken for a ride, as they were when paying £60 million ($72 million) for Mason Mount this summer or £85 million ($103 million) for Antony in 2022. United have not just bought badly; they have developed a worrying habit in recent years of paying high prices for players and then letting them go for almost nothing. Their City rivals meanwhile have managed to sell very well. Manchester City managed to make a profit in their 2022 transfers despite signing Erling Haaland. In fact, City have turned their academy into a money-printing factory. Ratcliffe is considering hiring Paul Mitchell as his new sporting director for the club, this will spell bad news to John Murtough who is currently in charge of that position. Mitchell has worked at Southampton, Tottenham, RB Leipzig, and Monaco. Ratcliffe will also be looking into empowering the women's team and strengthening the Manchester United academy. In order for the club to have a thriving sporting academy, there needs to be investments in the training ground just like the stadium. The training ground has lacked investment channeled into it in recent years just as as Ronaldo decried in his infamous interview with Piers Morgan.

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