Man Utd ‘must walk to right solution not run to wrong one’

21 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

By Dan Roan and Harry PooleBBC Sport

It’s not a simple fix at Man Utd – Ratcliffe

Sir Jim Ratcliffe says Manchester United must “walk to the right solution not run to the wrong one” after he bought a 27.7% stake in the club.

The 71-year-old billionaire told BBC Sport “something is wrong with the environment” at United, who won the most recent of their 20 English titles in 2013.

And he called for patience from supporters as he aims to restore his childhood club to its former glory.

Ratcliffe, who is also chairman of petrochemicals company Ineos, was speaking to BBC sports editor Dan Roan hours after his £1.25bn investment was completed.

In a wide-ranging interview, he discussed his preference to build a new stadium which would “serve the north of England”, working with the Glazer family and trying to emulate rivals Manchester City.

Ratcliffe on being a Manchester United supporter

“I was at primary school in north Manchester and in my class half were pale blue and the other half were red. My family were a red family, my mother and father were always Manchester United fans, and my only regret is my parents aren’t here today.

“I automatically became a Manchester United supporter from the age of six or seven. It’s an important element of your life, and hugely important to all those who support Manchester United.

“Without question [my favourite memory was] the [1999 Champions League final] victory in Barcelona against Bayern Munich. I was there with my son, who was about 11. The last three minutes were unforgettable. It was a remarkable moment ingrained in the mind – and that is what football is all about.”

Ratcliffe on his reasons for pursuing a deal

“It is a boyhood dream, but they never come true normally. This is the exception.

“It’s ruled by the heart. This is not a financial investment for me. If I wanted to make a financial investment, I would buy another chemical company.

“It’s very much taking on one of the great challenges in the world. It is a very worthy challenge and very exciting.

“The only reason I got involved is because I want to see Manchester United restored to where it should be. I might be biased but I believe it is the biggest and most well-known club in the world. It should be playing the greatest football in the world.”

Ratcliffe on the scale of the challenge ahead

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Alex Ferguson at Old TraffordSir Jim Ratcliffe (left) has sat alongside legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford

“It has clearly been a difficult 11 years since Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill retired. It’s not switching a light switch. It’s not just a simple short-term fix. We have to walk to the right solution not run to the wrong one.

“The short-term issue is we want to get into the Champions League. It’s a two-to-three-season challenge to get the organisation and environment right, to get the performances on the field right and win football matches. That involves the design and structure of the organisation being correct.

“In the last 11 years, Manchester United have had a lot of coaches and nobody has been very successful in that environment. That says to me there is something wrong with the environment. It is not constructive for me to blame anyone, it’s just a fact. My focus is on how I change that environment to get the best out of the coach and squad.”

Ratcliffe on working alongside the Glazer family

The Glazers have owned the 20-time English champions since 2005 and will retain a majority stake, but Ineos will take control of football operations. Their decision to sell a stake follows years of protests from fans against the ownership.

“I only know Joel and Avram and they are, despite what you might read in the press, very nice people, very courteous and they are avid supporters of Manchester United. I understand the frustrations and the anger [of supporters] but I am looking forward not backward.

“Try to be patient and we’ll try to build Manchester United back to where it should be, which is as one of the very elite clubs in the world. The key to it working is the relationship we will have with Joel and Avram, which in my view is a very good and trusting relationship.

“I think in a way it might have been the easier solution for the Glazer family to sell outright to the Qataris. To be fair to the Glazers, they thought the best solution was to sell to me because they thought United would benefit more from that.”

Ratcliffe on recruitment on and off the field

“Ultimately the level we want to get Manchester United to is not the level we are at. That takes time. It’s not just about players, it is the whole machine. There are thousands of people in that machine and we need to get that machine working really well.

“We need to be as good as anyone else in the game at recruitment and we haven’t been. FFP [Financial Fair Play] is a new element in football and a really important part of managing a football club well. We will assess how much money we have available and use it well.

“We have to find the best people in the world, ensure they have the right character and personality, and create the right environment for elite sportspeople to be successful. All we’re doing is trying to drive performance on the pitch.”

Ratcliffe on the pursuit of Dan Ashworth

United have made an official approach to Newcastle for sporting director Ashworth, who has been put on gardening leave.

“I think Dan Ashworth is a 10/10 sporting director – one of the best around. He would be very good for Manchester United. It is understandable that somebody like Dan would see the Manchester United job as a very interesting challenge at this stage of his career.

“Ultimately, you can’t really criticise Dan for looking at maybe the most coveted job in football as a sporting director – particularly with the challenge at Manchester United. What doesn’t make sense is for Dan Ashworth to be sat doing nothing for 18 months.”

Ratcliffe on Mason Greenwood’s future at the club

Forward Mason Greenwood left the club by mutual agreement in August and joined Spanish club Getafe on loan after a six-month internal investigation into his conduct.

“We need to look at facts, judge fairly and take into consideration what the values of the club are. Then we come out of that with a decision. It is not appropriate for me to comment on Mason Greenwood.”

Ratcliffe on catching Manchester City and Liverpool

United are 13 points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool and 12 behind Treble winners Manchester City

“When Manchester City played Real Madrid at home and won 4-0 last season [in the Champions League semi-finals], that was the best football I have ever seen. If we can ever get to that point, it would be a great achievement.

“In the north west we have two neighbours who are really impressive football clubs. I want to knock them all off their perch. We are friends in the sense we’re all in the north west but they are our biggest enemies. They are clearly our biggest competitors in the UK.

“[We are] a long way behind. It’s not going to change tomorrow. People unfortunately need to give us time to get back. It will be two to three seasons. Patience is needed. Spending money lavishly in the summer is not the solution, it is much more complicated than that.”

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