​​Under the Spotlight: Jim Ratcliffe. The next buyer of Manchester United

In August of this year, it was reported that British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe was interested in purchasing Manchester United Football Club. This news sent shockwaves through the world of football, as Ratcliffe is not your typical football club owner.

So, who is Jim Ratcliffe? And what would his ownership of Manchester United look like?

Who is Sir Jim Ratcliffe?

Ratcliffe is a businessman and chemical engineer who has an estimated net worth of £21 billion. He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Ineos, a multinational chemicals company. Ineos is one of the largest private companies in the UK, and its products are used in a wide range of industries, from construction to automotive to healthcare.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe

How did he make his money?

Jim Ratcliffe started his working life as a chemical engineer for British Petroleum (BP). He then left BP in 1986 to set up Ineos with two partners. The company was originally called Ingenium, but the name was later changed to Ineos.

Ineos started off small, with just three employees and a single factory in the UK. However, Ratcliffe quickly grew the company through a series of acquisitions and investments. In just over 30 years, Ineos has grown to become one of the largest privately-owned companies in the UK, with over 18,000 employees and revenues of £40 billion.

Under Ratcliffe’s ownership, Ineos has made a number of high-profile acquisitions, including the Swiss chemical company BASF’s operations in Grangemouth, Scotland. Ineos has also invested heavily in shale gas exploration in the UK and US.

Ratcliffe is known for his hands-on approach to running Ineos. He is involved in all aspects of the business, from the factory floor to the boardroom. He is also known for his no-nonsense management style, which has been compared to that of a military general.

What are his football credentials?

Ratcliffe is no stranger to the world of football. He is the owner of Swiss Superleague football team FC Lausanne-Sport. He bought the club in 2017, and has since made a number of changes, both on and off the pitch.

Since his ownership, FC Lausanne-Sport has been relegated and promoted back to the Swiss Superleague. In his time as owner, Ratcliffe has made a number of changes to the club, including sackings and changes to the playing squad and staff. He has also been involved in a legal dispute with the City of Lausanne over the lease of their stadium.

So, what can we expect from Ratcliffe if he does take over Manchester United?

Ratcliffe is not a typical football club owner. He is a businessman first and foremost, and he will no doubt approach ownership of Manchester United with a business mind. We can expect him to be hands-on in the running of the club, and he is not afraid of making tough decisions.

In 2017, Ratcliffe sacked FC Lausanne-Sport’s manager after just six months in charge. The decision was met with criticism from some, but Ratcliffe stood by his decision, saying that ‘a change was needed.’

This sounds quite similar to Roman Abromovich at Chelsea…

In 2003, Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich made the decision to sack then-manager Claudio Ranieri just a year after he had led the club to its first ever Premier League title.

If Ratcliffe does take over Manchester United, we can expect him to be ruthless in his pursuit of success. He is not afraid of making tough decisions, and he will no doubt want to see immediate results.

We can also expect Ratcliffe to be focused on making Manchester United a profitable business. He is not the type of owner who will invest large sums of money into the club without seeing a return.

Any potential issues?

In 2019, Ineos signed a 10-year, £50 million sponsorship deal with the Tour de France. The deal was criticised by some, as it was seen as a way for Ratcliffe to promote his company rather than invest in cycling. However, Ratcliffe defended the deal, saying that it was a ‘commercial decision’ and that he wanted to see a return on his investment.

Is he likely to see profit through investment in players? Or by investing in the Manchester United brand?

Only time will tell…

Wrapping up

So, Jim Ratcliffe is the potential next owner of Manchester United Football Club. He’s a no-nonsense businessman with a track record of making tough decisions, which means he’ll likely be hands-on in running the club. His focus will be on making Manchester United a profitable business, so it’ll be interesting to see what his ownership looks like and how it affects the club long-term.