Gary Neville believes Jim Ratcliffe would “do the right thing” by Manchester United if he were to complete a takeover.
The Glazer family announced back in November they were exploring options for new investment including the possibility of a sale of the club, opening the door for prospective bidders to make their move to complete a takeover.
This week, Ratcliffe, who previously failed with a takeover bid for Chelsea, announced his intention to enter the bidding process for United, his boyhood club.
Neville feels that Ratcliffe could be the ideal candidate to take stewardship should a takeover be completed, though urged caution on what a takeover would entail.
“The main thing is the Glazers leave as quickly as possible, but the second thing is if whoever takes over, if they could hand it over to people who have feelings for the club, that would be great,” he told Sky Sports.
“Jim Ratcliffe, he was born in Manchester, he knows the area. If he wins it, I think there would be a lot of very happy Manchester United fans as he would want to do the right thing by the club. I’m sure he would.
“I don’t think that United can afford to be with another investment fund that would expect a return on the money, that’s what worries me about private equity coming into football because, ultimately, they want a return on their investment.
“It might be that United aren’t like this club here [Manchester City] or Newcastle or other clubs who have benefactors, who are willing to let them live debt free, not leverage the club, and United need a debt-free football club with someone who is willing to put money into it.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 19, 2023
Asked what the priority for any new owner taking charge of United should be, Neville outlined performances on the field and improving the club infrastructure as the two most crucial elements.
“The priority for the new owner has to be winning, a winning Manchester United club is difficult to stop, we’ve seen that in the past. At that point, United become a very dangerous football club,” he added.
“The priority has to always be football performance. Then you’re talking about fan experience, which means the stadium has to be world class, and it’s not at this moment in time, it falls behind many stadiums that you come to.
“There needs to be investment in the team to get them winning and investment in the facilities, the fan experience. For me, they would be the two priorities.”
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