Sir Jim Ratcliffe admits 'something is wrong in Man Utd environment'

  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe speaks for the first time since deal completed
  • Man Utd investor warns that patience for rebuild is needed
  • "That says to me there is something wrong with the environment"

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is Man Utd's new investor
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is Man Utd's new investor / Stu Forster/GettyImages

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has warned that restoring Manchester United to former glories is not a "simple short-term fix" in his first interview with external media since his buy-in was officially completed.

Ratcliffe will own around 28% of the club by the end of 2024 once further investments come into effect, making him United's single largest shareholder - collectively, the Glazer siblings still own the majority.

The British billionaire's impact has already been felt, with chief sporting aide Sir Brailsford quickly getting to grips with the inner workings of United's football operations and influencing the appointment of Omar Berrada as incoming chief executive and the pursuit of Dan Ashworth for a sporting director role.

Fans are understandably optimistic about the future, but Ratcliffe has suggested that restructuring United into a winning machine once more will require time so as not to make hasty mistakes.

"It has clearly been a difficult 11 years since Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill retired. It's not switching a light switch. It's not just a simple short-term fix. We have to walk to the right solution not run to the wrong one," he explained to the BBC.

"The short-term issue is we want to get into the Champions League. It's a two-to-three-season challenge to get the organisation and environment right, to get the performances on the field right and win football matches. That involves the design and structure of the organisation being correct.

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"In the last 11 years, Manchester United have had a lot of coaches and nobody has been very successful in that environment. That says to me there is something wrong with the environment. It is not constructive for me to blame anyone, it's just a fact. My focus is on how I change that environment to get the best out of the coach and squad."

Ratcliffe went on to defend the Glazer family, who have been unpopular with fans throughout the 19 years since patriarch Malcolm Glazer instigated a controversial leveraged buyout in 2005, insisting it would have been easier for them to fully sell to the Qatari bid headed by Sheikh Jassim. He is refusing to look back at past failings is only interested in what lies ahead.

"I only know Joel and Avram and they are, despite what you might read in the press, very nice people, very courteous and they are avid supporters of Manchester United," Ratcliffe reasoned. "I understand the frustrations and the anger [of supporters] but I am looking forward not backward.

"Try to be patient and we'll try to build Manchester United back to where it should be, which is as one of the very elite clubs in the world. The key to it working is the relationship we will have with Joel and Avram, which in my view is a very good and trusting relationship."