British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to buy Manchester United in a dramatic takeover.
And he has been hailed by Red Devils legend Viv Anderson as the ‘perfect’ man to take over the crisis club.
The current owners, the Glazer family, are said to be open to the sale of a minority stake in the troubled Premier League club, which has a reported combined value of £5billion.
After the big fan protests against the family in recent years, the pressure to give has increased.
Supporters marched on Old Trafford with anti-Glasers banners and flares ahead of the season opener against Brighton, with fresh protests scheduled for Monday’s game against Liverpool.
And Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest people, would jump at the chance to invest in the Old Trafford side and take “full control”.
Ratcliffe – believed to be worth around £11bn
A spokesman said: “If the club is for sale then Jim is definitely a potential buyer.
“If such a thing were possible, we would be interested in talking about long-term ownership.
“This is not about money spent or money not spent.
“Jim is reviewing what can be done now and knowing how important the club is to the city it feels like the time has come for a reset.”
Former United star Anderson said: “Sir Jim is a Salford boy no matter how much money he’s made. He knows the heart of the club, he knows the hearts of the fans.
“Sir Jim is a Manchester United man through and through and he would just be the perfect man to take over the club.
“The Glazers had their moment – they had their time at Manchester United.
“I would support Sir Jim’s takeover and I know the millions of United supporters around the world would do the same.”
SunSport can reveal that the American global public company Apollo – which two years ago tried to buy the famous Caesars Palace hotel complex in Las Vegas – is also interested in accepting the Glazers’ offer.
As the Daily Mail reports, exclusive talks are already underway between the US private equity firm and the Glazer family.
Former Manchester United director Michael Knighton is also desperate to oust the current owners.
He has teamed up with three billionaires to put pressure on the Glazers – and openly asked Ratcliffe for consortium support.
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Knighton told ITV: “They damaged the brand. This isn’t personally against the Glazers, they just always had the wrong model.
“We are not a national sovereign wealth fund that has oil revenues of two billion a day.
“If we can smoke out the great Sir Jim to buy Manchester United then my consortium will thrash the air because we have achieved what we set out to achieve.”
However, the Times reports that Ratcliffe “tends to take full control” of any company he invests in – and thus may be reluctant to be part of Knighton’s group.
Raised on a council estate in Failsworth, Manchester, Ratcliffe earned his living as CEO of multinational chemical company Ineos.
His value is now said to be down to around £6billion and he was ranked 27th on the Sunday Times Rich List 2022.
The 69-year-old, who is a lifelong Red Devils supporter, fell through in a last-ditch attempt to buy Chelsea in early May.
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But he already has experience in sports.
In 2017 he bought the Swiss first division football club FC Lausanne-Sport.
Then, two years later, he bought Nice in France and also pumped money into cycling’s Team Sky – which they renamed Team Ineos.
Ineos has also sponsored Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team and the Mercedes F1 team.
News of Ratcliffe’s interest in United comes hours after fans got upset over Elon Musk’s tweet suggesting he was trying to persuade the unpopular Glazer family to sell.
But the Tesla boss then let them down again by confirming it was a joke.
However, Ratcliffe’s interest sparked joy among fans at the prospect of seeing the Glazers’ back.
The Tampa-based family — led by brothers and co-chairs Avram and Joel — has drawn widespread anger for their leadership of the club since taking over in 2005.
We will celebrate Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of Manchester United more than we did the treble in 1999
Things are also going badly on the pitch.
United lost their first two games of the season under Erik ten Hag – against Brighton and Brentford – and are bottom of the league after their worst start under a new manager in 101 years.
Old Trafford bosses have declined to comment on Ratcliffe’s interest, but United supporters swarmed on social media to back the bid.
United Faithfuls tweeted: “If Sir Jim Ratcliffe succeeds in buying Manchester United we will celebrate it more than the treble in 1999.”
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust’s Ian Stirling grumbled: “It all came to a head given the lack of player investment and the performance of the team.
“It has been mismanaged for so long and is going down the drain.
“The manager is probably now wondering what he got himself into.
“We would welcome anyone with the financial means to make a serious offer for United – owners with the same priorities as fans.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6021331/jim-ratcliffe-buy-man-utd-talks-glazers/ Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe – worth £15bn – wants to buy Man Utd and hold takeover talks with Glazers