Old Trafford has seen better days
"no comment from us on United," was the response that was given on behalf of Failsworth's most famous son now that the club is officially up for sale. This comes three months after it was announced that Sir Jim Ratcliffe was interested in ending the occupation of Manchester United by the Glazer family.
At an event hosted by the Financial Times on the 13th of October, Ratcliffe stated: "We can't sit around hoping that one day Manchester United will become available." Forty days later, that day finally arrived.
Ratcliffe is going to investigate United in great detail and depth. Ben Ainslie's never-ending pursuit to win the America's Cup is supported by Ratcliffe, and Nice have risen from being a mid-table fodder in Ligue 1 to being contenders for the Champions League thanks to the head of the Ineos petrochemicals empire, who is a driven enough billionaire to have bankrolled Eliud Kipchoge's successful attempt to run a marathon in under two hours.
Ratcliffe has the sporting clout to pass whatever fit and proper test there is in the absence of an independent regulator in English football. Ratcliffe has been a lifelong fan of United, and he has supported the team throughout his life. Beating all of his previous records with United by leading them to championship glory would be his crowning achievement.
Ratcliffe is the closest thing we have to a throwback owner in this day and age of sportswashing ownerships that taint the names of certain English football institutions. He is a local boy who has done very well for himself. Ratcliffe has emphasized that Ineos must run any football club as a "community asset," which is an essential requirement.
He possesses enormous wealth, but is it sufficient for him to be the sole owner of United? Perhaps not. The net worth of Ratcliffe was estimated to be £6.075 billion by the Sunday Times. He was ranked as the 27th richest person on the planet, with Roman Abramovich one place below him, and it is the sale of Chelsea that has piqued the interest of the Glazer family in handing over the keys to United. He was ranked as the 27th richest person on the planet.
The radical protesters against their ownership will take credit for the development that occurred this week, which was that only two of the Glazer siblings attended the first game of the season against Brighton. Some people will laughably attribute the news that broke on Tuesday night to Cristiano Ronaldo's egotistical interview with Piers Morgan, in which he justifiably questioned the Glazers' motives. Others will not attribute the news to Ronaldo's interview at all.
The Glazer family is driven by a desire for wealth, as evidenced by the fact that the family's late patriarch took his six sisters to court over their mother's $1 million will.
United is the third Premier League club to be put up for sale in this calendar year, and before the generational nadir of Brentford away, the Glazers were always going to require additional investment to boost the club's cash flows. United is the third Premier League club to be put up for sale in this calendar year. Although Joel and Avram's confirmation of the story after it was published on Sky News was significant, the story itself did not come as a surprise.
The takeover of Chelsea was estimated to be worth up to £4.25 billion. United is a significantly larger club than Chelsea, boasting a more illustrious history, a larger fan base, a longer list of honors, and a stadium that is nearly twice as large as Stamford Bridge. Best, Law, and Charlton are all members of United as a club. The original oligarch club was Chelsea Football Club. Even in this day and age of rising costs of living, where prices are only going to get higher, a valuation of United at £5 billion seems relatively low.
It was agreed that Todd Boehly would pay £2.5 billion up front for Chelsea and an additional £1.75 billion over a 10-year period. If an investor wanted to become a major shareholder in United, then it is likely that a similar arrangement would be made, with the separate sum being spread out over a decade and logically being dedicated to the stadium.
Old Trafford is the subject of ongoing debate regarding whether or not the expansive land located behind the Stretford End should be used for the construction of a new stadium. It is generally accepted that the total cost of either project would be the same; however, there is a consensus among the power brokers that it would be more beneficial to rehabilitate Old Trafford while retaining its historic charm and grandiosity.
A new stadium, on the other hand, is thought to be a project that could be completed more quickly than a gradual renovation, which, according to some preliminary estimates, could take a decade from the planning phase. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium came in at a cost of one billion dollars and was finished in time to beat the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result of rising prices for materials, the cost of constructing a new Old Trafford or renovating the existing one might be twice as high.
In addition to that, there is the Carrington training complex to get better at. Mags Mernagh, who designed the luxurious training ground at Leicester City, has an office on-site and is supervising a project that is scheduled to include a state-of-the-art recovery room for the first-team and a dedicated gym for the women's team that United plan to build in front of the academy building. In addition, Mags Mernagh has an office on-site. The total price will be significantly higher than eight figures.
Despite all of this, there is no mention of a transfer budget to help United become credible competitors. That amounts to an annual expenditure of at least £100 million in the current market, and it has the potential to skyrocket if United's lack of trophies continues for another decade.
If Ratcliffe wants to make sure that his operating budget is reasonable, he should think about acquiring an equity partner. He would hold the majority of shares in the company, but Ratcliffe could seek out investors and, in the hypothetical scenario, offer them minority stakes in exchange for helping to pay the substantial bill.
Fans of United are holding out hope that this day will come.
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