News that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is the preferred bidder for Manchester United has been met with optimism from some sections of the United fanbase.
Ratcliffe is viewed as being a stable, genuine Manchester United fan whose experience of building successful companies will help him turn around United’s recent poor fortunes.
Amid the wave of early optimism, however, there are doubters who point out that the INEOS founder has an extensive sporting portfolio, and he’s not had much success with it.
The suggestion, is, therefore, that United fans should temper any optimism with some caution. He began his foray into sports investing with the acquisition of Swiss football club Lausanne Sports in 2017.
While Lausanne was not a particularly dominant force in Swiss football at the time, the expectation would have been that he could help turn things around.
Instead, the team was relegated in Ratcliffe’s first year and has floated between the first and second tiers of Swiss football since then, currently playing in the latter.
Not to be deterred, the Lausanne investment was quickly followed by another in sailing, when, in 2018 he made an over £100 million investment in Sir Ben Ainslie’s Team Britannia.
The team’s 2021 America’s Cup challenge ended in disaster as it failed to recover from early mechanical setbacks, eventually failing to make the final.
Then, in 2019, Ratcliffe’s INEOS ventured into cycling, taking over the dominant Team Sky in a £40 million-a-year deal.
The team, now known as Team Grenadiers, had achieved Tour de France victories in each of the four years preceding INEOS’s intervention and did go on to win once more–and no more since then, in the year of the takeover.
In Formula One, it’s been mixed fortunes for the English tycoon. After buying a third of Mercedes AMG Petronas, he was rewarded with a first-place finish in the 2021 Constructors’ Championship, which was followed by a less stellar 2022 outing when the team placed third.
Sir Ratcliffe’s investments in football are likely to be of far greater interest to United fans than his forays into sailing, cycling or Formula One, however.
Following the Lausanne investment, Ratcliffe’s INEOS gave football another shot, with a takeover of French Ligue 1 side, OGC Nice F.C, in 2019.
The perennial mid-table team had a positive outlook, having just managed their highest finish in decades when they came third just two seasons before.
Additionally, away from the more familiar scene of European football, Ratcliffe also has investments in Africa, where he owns Racing Club Abidjan of Cote d’Ivoire.
Under Ratcliffe’s oversight, Nice’s highest finish has been 5th place on two occasions. While this in itself is unremarkable, what may catch the interest of United fans is the amount of investment he has put into Nice and his other football ventures.
Before the INEOS takeover, Nice ran a successful buy-to-sell model, acquiring relatively low-profile players and selling them for significant markups.
This changed with the arrival of INEOS, as the club dramatically went from reporting a habitual net-positive transfer spend to a net-negative spend by a spread of over €100 million over the last four years, as the Athletic reports.
The message is simple: Nice under Sir Ratcliffe should aspire to reach a “big club” status, beginning with regular Champions League qualification.
This hasn’t quite worked out according to plan, but few United fans would say no to the idea of an owner who puts much more into the club than they take out of it, even if things don’t translate into immediate success.
While Lausanne has yielded considerably less return on investment in terms of football success, the British billionaire has not been shy of pumping in much-needed funds there either.
Approximately £44.9 million–paltry by Premier League or even Ligue 1 standards, but a modest fortune for a club of Lausanne’s stature, has been invested over a five-year period, with a modern 12, 000-capacity stadium to show for it, alongside other benefits.
It may not be possible to state with any certainty, why his sporting ventures have yielded such mixed results. However, it is worthy to note that Ratcliffe’s potential investment in United, if it goes ahead, will far exceed the value of any sporting venture he has made so far.
With a figure of around £6 billion being quoted as the Glazer’s reservation price, any investment near this level will dwarf the sum total of all other sporting investments he’s made, put together.
It would be reasonable to expect, under those circumstances, that Ratcliffe would likely devote far more attention to the day-to-day running of Manchester United than he has or will to his other sporting ventures.
And with Erik ten Hag already charting a new course on the pitch, an owner who recognizes the needs of the club and is willing to provide the resources to meet them may be just what is needed at Old Trafford.
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Courtesy : https://thepeoplesperson.com/2023/05/17/does-sir-jim-ratcliffes-history-bode-well-for-manchester-united-264027/