- Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £1.25billion purchase of 25 per cent has finally been confirmed
- Gary Neville described the Christmas Eve timing from Man United as ‘truly awful’
- Ratcliffe has also committed £245m to improve Old Trafford and Carrington
Gary Neville has torn into Manchester United, claiming the decision to announce Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s minority share takeover on Christmas Eve makes 2023 a ‘disgrace to the end’.
The INEOS petrochemicals billionaire will take charge of football operations at Old Trafford after buying a stake in the club from the Glazer family.
The official announcement of the deal had been delayed several times but the deal has now gone through.
But Neville was far from impressed at the timing of the announcement, claiming it is a move not one of their rivals would have made.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s buy-out of 25 per cent of Manchester United has finally been confirmed
Gary Neville was left totally bemused that the deal was confirmed on Christmas Eve
‘Manchester United 2023 has been a disgrace to the end,’ Neville posted on X, formerly Twitter.
‘The timing of this is truly awful and no functioning organisation would even think about it.
‘Anyway all the very best to Jim Radcliffe and I hope he can somehow work out a way to get the club right again and back to being something respectable on and off the pitch.’
As part of the minority deal, Ratcliffe and his INEOS team will take control of the playing side at United, including player recruitment.
That will officially happen once ratified by the Premier League, a process which could take between four to six weeks.
The Glazer family have relinquished 25 per cent of United but remain as majority owners
Back in October, Neville claimed Ratcliffe’s minority stake raised ‘more questions than answers’ at Old Trafford.
A £245million commitment to improve the infrastructure at Old Trafford and the Carrington training ground has been pledged by Ratcliffe, as well as trying to improve fortunes on the pitch.
Industry experts have warned that the sum – should it be spent in its entirety on what is a decaying Old Trafford – will not be transformative.
Neville has previously laid out his six rules for a Manchester United takeover, which he wanted in full to remove the Glazers from office.
He noted his five longstanding rules regarding the takeover of United, including a new training ground and new or renovated stadium – and added a sixth amid the turmoil surrounding the management of the club in recent years.
Neville’s sixth demand read on X: ‘The club requires leadership that is statesmanlike on major issues that enables a fairer, more inclusive and diverse game.
‘Leadership that builds a positive environment and culture whilst adhering to the clubs values and principles and one that is willing to make tough decisions to prevent an erosion in the clubs public image.’
It remains to be seen what Ratcliffe’s takeover of United’s football operations will mean for their under-pressure manager Erik ten Hag
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Neville, who played for the club for his entire senior career from 1992 to 2011, added: ‘How does a minority stakeholder positively impact the club to achieve the above?
‘Can a minority shareholder have any impact on the above. It leaves more questions than answers.
‘My preference is and always will be now for a Glazer family full exit. They have overstayed their welcome in Manchester yet seem oblivious to this fact.’
Ratcliffe, 71, admitted the potential of the club had not been realised in recent years when the deal was officially announced.
The businessman said his INEOS Sport group will drive further improvements at the club.
‘As a local boy and a lifelong supporter, I am very pleased that we have been able to agree a deal with the Manchester United Board that delegates us management responsibility of the football operations of the Club.
‘Whilst the commercial success of the club has ensured there have always been available funds to win trophies at the highest level, this potential has not been fully unlocked in recent times.
‘We will bring the global knowledge, expertise and talent from the wider INEOS Sport group to help drive further improvement at the club, while also providing funds intended to enable future investment into Old Trafford.
‘We are here for the long term and recognise that a lot of challenges and hard work lie ahead, which we will approach with rigour, professionalism and passion.
‘We are committed to working with everyone at the Club – the Board, staff, players and fans – to help drive the club forward.
‘Our shared ambition is clear: we all want to see Manchester United back where we belong, at the very top of English, European and world football.’