Will Jim Ratcliffe’s Investment in Manchester United Change Anything?

Can Ratcliffe's minority stake fix Man United? From player scouting to facilities, what to expect
Can Ratcliffe's minority stake fix Man United? From player scouting to facilities, what to expect

Will Jim Ratcliffe’s investment in Manchester United change anything for the red half of Manchester? That’s what fans of the Red Devils will be wondering after the British billionaire bought a significant stake in the English giants.

After an ownership battle that captivated us since the previous summer transfer window, Ratcliffe has now “taken over football operations” at Man United in what is the biggest shift in ownership at Old Trafford in almost twenty years.

So, will this signal a change in fortunes for a club that has fallen behind its rivals both on and off the pitch?

Will Jim Ratcliffe’s Investment in Manchester United Change Anything?

Manchester United’s current troubles are well-documented. United have been run like a business rather than a football club for far too long, and this has led to a steady decline in fortunes on the pitch. The Red Devils have the biggest net spend of any club in the world, but are now

On their day, they’re capable of beating most sides, but United are incapable of challenging for league titles, and increasingly find themselves on the end of poor results in Europe and the domestic cups too.

Man United were the envy of all but a few other clubs in England, but they’re now a step below three of their biggest rivals in Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.

The amount of money invested in the first team isn’t the issue, it’s where and how that money has been spent that’s been the overall problem. A look at United’s most expensive transfers of all-time list makes for shockingly poor reading.

While it’s too early to judge the likes of Mason Mount and Lisandro Martinez, it is hard to argue against the transfers of Angel di Maria, Romelu Lukaku, Antony, Jadon Sancho and Paul Pogba all being massive disappointments given their price tags.

If Ratcliffe is taking over footballing operations at Old Trafford, he’ll need to assemble a far better recruitment team than what has been vetting players over the past decade.

The deadwood needs clearing out too

We can’t talk about the issues at Manchester United without mentioning the terrible trio. In fairness, Jadon Sancho has been loaned to Borussia Dortmund this transfer window, so he has been dealt with, for now.

While Sancho will likely need to be sold for a considerable loss, getting him out of the country for the rest of the season will give Man United time to find a suitable destination for the winger on a permanent basis.

Antony and Mason Greenwood need to be shown the exit door as soon as possible too, for different, more serious reasons. Having dark clouds like these hanging over the club won’t allow United to truly move on and progress as a whole.

There are so many average players at the club, too. You can definitely make a case for Anthony Martial, Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Christian Eriksen being bang average at best in their time in Manchester.

Add to that the likes of Casemiro and Jonny Evans, who will likely be retiring in the next few years, and there is a huge recruitment drive that will be required over the next three seasons or so.

Let’s not forget the elephant in the room, either

The biggest elephant in the room, though, is Manchester United’s home Old Trafford. Old Trafford is the largest stadium in the Premier League in terms of capacity, but it is lagging behind United’s rivals in a number of ways.

The first is in terms of its facilities, which are put to shame by those at the Etihad, Emirates and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Corporate revenue is well behind compared to these newer stadia and the condition of Old Trafford has been allowed to decay for almost 20 years now.

Some might rightly point out that Liverpool are still at Anfield and Chelsea (despite their best efforts) still play at Stamford Bridge. A new stadium isn’t necessarily required, but a renovation like those we’ve seen at Anfield is required.

Image credit: Wikipedia

The stadium essentially hasn’t been touched since the Glazers took over in 2005, and it shows. Sections of the roof leak when it rains, the fans aren’t happy and even the stadium’s restaurants recently got slapped with a one-star rating out of five from the Food Standards Agency.

At this point though, it will apparently cost over £1 billion to get Old Trafford up to top-level standard. It might be cheaper and will definitely be significantly easier to start from scratch at a new site just down the road.

And this is all before we even mention the training facilities…

When Cristiano Ronaldo re-signed for the club in 2021, he went on record by saying the training facilities at Carrington hadn’t changed since he left United for the first time in 2009. When you see Man City opening a sporting complex that is the envy of most clubs in the world next door, you know there’s a severe problem.

So, will things change overnight? No, as just like the rot that has set in at Manchester United, this will take years to resolve, but it is doable. United have a huge fanbase that helps the club’s turnover stay so high.

There will always be funds available to complete a rebuilding job, they just need to be used in the correct way.

Questions have to be asked about how much power and influence Ratcliffe actually has at United. Although he has taken control of footballing operations, he’s only got 25% of the overall control and 25% of the vote in decisions meaning that the Glazers, in theory, can overrule him when they want to.

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