Man Utd are looking for a saviour – but what suggests it will be Sir Jim Ratcliffe?

Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be the newest billionaire moving into the Premier League owners’ room, arriving at Manchester United to plenty of fanfare – but there are no guarantees

If success in business has amassed you a fortune of £16billion, the chances are not everyone will find your principles and/or morals particularly palatable.

And that much certainly applies to trade union-bashing tax exile, Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

But unless it ever becomes a law that football clubs in the UK must have majority fan ownership, characters such as Ratcliffe will be liberally dotted around the Premier League.

If we needed a grim reminder that, in the eyes of most supporters, relative success on the pitch simply obliterates any owners’ sins, there is Newcastle United. And if and when Ratcliffe comes into Old Trafford, any reservations about his character, about how he has become so unimaginably rich, will be gone at the slightest sign of a significant upturn in the team’s performance

But what is there to suggest Ratcliffe – when, as seems accepted, is given control of the football operation – will produce that significant upturn, particularly as he will only own a quarter of the club? Not a great deal, to be frank.

In 2018, Ratcliffe invested well over £100million in a bid to claim sailing’s America’s Cup in 2021. INEOS Team UK, led by Sir Ben Ainslie, lost an eliminator 7-1 and did not make it to the final.

Although Egan Bernal made sure Ratcliffe’s £40million-a-year deal for cycling’s Team Sky got off to a winning start in the 2019 Tour de France, the INEOS Grenadiers have not won that race since.

Again, there was early success after INEOS bought a third of the all-conquering Mercedes team ahead of the 2021 Formula One season (they won the constructors’ championship even though Lewis Hamilton was controversially pipped for the drivers’ title) but the Silver Arrows have been way off the Red Bull pace since then – and show few signs of closing the gap. Ratcliffe and his company have also invested in the All Blacks and, football-wise, in Nice and in Lausanne-Sport, all with mixed fortunes.

A lot of these investments will be just that – investments.

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