“Merry Christmas” – Fans react as Sir Jim Ratcliffe reaches agreement for a stake in Manchester United

OGC Nice owner Jim Ratcliffe before the match.

REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The new dawn is here – or at least that’s what many optimistic Manchester United fans are feeling on the eve of Christmas – as Sir Jim Ratcliffe has officially completed a deal to buy a minority stake in England’s biggest football institution.

The announcement came 13 months after the Glazer family revealed their desire to “explore strategic alternatives.”

The statement from United read: “Manchester United plc (NYSE: MANU) announced today that it has entered into an agreement under which Chairman of INEOS, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, will acquire 25 per cent of Manchester United’s Class B shares and up to 25 percent of Manchester United’s Class A shares.”

As part of the agreement, Ratcliffe will provide an additional $300 million to enable future investment into Old Trafford, the Red Devils’ home stadium. The most exciting update – and the one which perhaps has the most potential to change the club’s fortunes after decades of disappointment on the pitch – is the management of the club’s football operations going into the hands of INEOS.

According to The Athletic, Sir Dave Brailsford and Jean-Claude Blanc – who will join the United board as part of the deal – will spend time around the club next month. Perhaps after this development, concrete footballing changes will begin to take place.

However, many fans on social media are already excited and have accordingly shared their opinion. At the same time, a few are still skeptical about the whole thing.

The deal is still to be approved by the Premier League – a process expected to take around eight weeks. It’ll be interesting to see the moves Ratcliffe, who is supposedly a lifelong supporter of the club, would make once the Premier League gives their green flag.