It’s already one-nil for Sir Jim Ratcliffe for having just turned up on Manchester United’s takeover bid

Richard Arnold (left) Sir Jim Ratcliffe (right) – Sir Jim Ratcliffe is already one-nil from having just turned up on Manchester United’s takeover bid – Telegraph/Eamonn and James Clarke

For Sir Jim Ratcliffe, it may be a case of marginal gains He arrived at the home of Manchester United with former cycling chief Sir Dave Brailsford, now sporting director at Ineos, in tow.

What are we to read into a smiling Ratcliffe being photographed and filmed outside Old Trafford in the next step in his bid to buy United?

What should we read to United CEO Richard Arnold, who steps out of the stadium to shake his hand warmly and knowingly be in these pictures?

Not that Arnold has anything to hide. More specifically, how does it all contrast with that Procedure of the Qatari bidders who had been at the club 24 hours earlier, but without the man behind their offer: Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.

In terms of ‘optics’ – to use a word that’s du jour – it was 1-0 to Sir Jim. Or so it seemed. The Qataris will understandably argue that what matters is that they had ten hours of substantive talks, not that Sheikh Jassim was not part of their party of senior advisers, lawyers and bank executives.

But still. Ratcliffe was there and for United fans at least it’s certainly more reassuring to see a potential owner actually bother to show up in person – even if the businessman isn’t exactly known for outspokenness.

Still, the Mancunian man can of course draw on the fact that he’s a well-made local – born in Failsworth, less than 8 miles from Old Trafford – and was a fan of the 1999 Champions League final.

In his statement announcing his bid, Ratcliffe outlined his desire to “bring the Manchester back to Manchester United”, which was clearly aimed at the fans, even if it didn’t make very much sense for a global club, particularly a tax-resident exile in Monaco.

The Qataris’ goal was to bring United back to ‘former glory’, which caused irritation at the Glazers. Their approach follows a similar pattern to other owners in the Middle East.

Sheikh Mansour is not visible at Manchester City; Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the Saudi chairman of Newcastle United, only became publicly involved after the takeover.

And few City or Newcastle fans will argue they were bad owners. Qataris will claim that the last two days have not been about photo opportunities, but about building relationships and trust.

The counterargument to this, of course, is that trust is better built by making an effort to be there in person. Ratcliffe will certainly hope so after showing his willingness to go through the front door.

Financially, despite his billions, it’s no contest between him and the Qataris, while he also needs to allay a lingering suspicion raised during his in/out and late hijack attempt to buy Chelsea that he’s not a completely serious bidder.

Will Ratcliffe’s PR win actually make a difference? Probably not. It will be hard cash and business at stake for the Glazers and it must also be remembered that the bank handling the sale, Raine, has already warned bidders that the process is to remain private.

But undeniably, it looked better that he actually showed up. Even if he fails, he has already improved his image.

Source :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *