Sir Jim Ratcliffe explains why he is not bidding to buy Manchester United from the Glazers
Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe is a Manchester United fan, and yet, he is bidding to buy Chelsea.
This has created plenty of confusion and frustration for Manchester United supporters desperate to see the back of the Glazers.
Ratcliffe, born in Greater Manchester, is worth at least £12 billion, report The Star, and he currently owns French football club Nice.
The businessman has recently entered the bidding to buy Manchester United’s Premier League rivals Chelsea, making a late offer, said by BBC Sport to be worth £4.25 billion.
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Sir Jim Ratcliffe is a Manchester United fan
Amid efforts from Red Devils supporters to pressure the Glazers into selling the club, it was disappointing to hear the billionaire is trying to sign Chelsea instead.
Ratcliffe responded: “Yes I can understand that.. but Manchester United’s not for sale.”
These words are frustrating to hear, and yet, not surprising given the fact the Glazers have shown no sign of wanting to sell Manchester United since taking over in 2005, amid fierce criticism.
The wide ranging interest in Chelsea, since the club was put up for sale, has shown there would be bidders if Manchester United were for sale. But they are not.
Of course, Ratcliffe or another party could try to change the Glazers’ minds, and make an offer far above market value which is just too good for them to refuse.
You could make an argument that Ratcliffe, a Manchester United fan, should do this, but given the vast finances involved, it is easy to say this from afar, and this is not typically how big businessmen operate and become highly rich in the first place.
Ratcliffe, who is based in Monaco, says elsewhere in the interview that he did go to watch Chelsea as a kid, when based in London, and had ‘split loyalties’ when they faced United. But this seems more to try and curry favour with Chelsea fans, rather than showing real passion for the Blues.
His initial offer has not yet been accepted, and there are rival bids. He says he is ‘not giving up’, adding, via The Telegraph, ‘London deserves a club of the stature of Bayern Munich or Real Madrid and Chelsea gives you that opportunity.”
If unsuccessful, we can only speculate that Ratcliffe could turn his attention to United, with his interest piqued in the Premier League.
But for this to happen, United need to be ‘up for sale’. This is why a group of Manchester United fans, The 1958 Group, have restarted a campaign promising ‘relentless’ protests against the Glazers, to try and make them uncomfortable and drive them towards selling. But this also needs potential buyers to become aggressive with approaches to buy the club.
The more publicity the anti-Glazer campaign gets the better, and this is a long haul goal, which will need a sustained push of protests next season, and beyond. There are buyers out there, but both they, and the Glazers, need to be convinced.