Ratcliffe calls for ‘time & patience’ with open letter to Man Utd Supporters trust

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has penned an open letter to the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) to call for unity as he settles into his new home at Old Trafford.

The INEOS chief completed his minority takeover of the Red Devils on Christmas Eve after months of negotiating with the Glazer family, who will remain at the club but have ceded control of football operations as part of the deal.

Now adjusting to life in Manchester, Ratcliffe wrote to MUST to reaffirm his commitment to making United a global force once again.

“I wanted to write to you at this time given the critical role of the fans to the future of Manchester United as we recognise our responsibility as custodians of the Club on your behalf,” Ratcliffe wrote.

“I believe we can bring sporting success on the pitch to complement the undoubted commercial success that the club has enjoyed. It will require time and patience alongside rigour and the highest level of professional management.

“You are ambitious for Manchester United and so are we. There are no guarantees in sport, and change can inevitably take time but we are in it for the long term and together we want to help take Manchester United back to where the club belongs, at the very top of English, European and World Football. I take that responsibility very seriously.

“Please note that, as with any deal, it is subject to the usual regulatory sign-off process and therefore we do not expect to speak publicly about Club matters until after the deal has completed.”

Ratcliffe’s letter comes in response to a MUST statement which called for an open dialogue with the new owners for confirmation of their plans for the club.

“During 18 years of debt, decay and mismanagement, Manchester United fans have loudly and consistently called for change at our Club,” the Supporters Trust wrote. “When the so-called Strategic Review was announced nearly a year ago, it finally appeared that the sale of the club was on the horizon, potentially bringing the new investment and new direction MUFC so clearly needs.

“Against that backdrop, fans have very mixed feelings [towards the takeover]. We welcome the investment from a boyhood red, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS company, but many will wish his ownership stake was greater than the initially rumoured 25%. We note the statements that he and his team will control sporting activities, yet puzzle how any organisation can put its very core business in the hands of a minority shareholder, and how that meaningfully works in practice.

“It is now incumbent on the Club’s owners and management to properly explain how this new structure will work, where the new investment will be directed and how it will benefit the team on the field. As the Supporters Trust, we expect to have discussions with the Club management and the INEOS team in the near future to understand their plans, and to put to them the very many questions fans have today.

“Today might – just might – be a step forward for Manchester United after some very difficult years. But with the Glazers still in charge, people should understand that United fans will remain sceptical and wait for the proof in the pudding.”

What we know

  • Ratcliffe completed a minority takeover of Man Utd on Christmas Eve
  • INEOS chief reached out to Supporters Trust shortly after
  • MUST are seeking talks with Ratcliffe about Man Utd’s future.

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