Sir Jim Ratcliffe says Manchester United fans have to be ‘a bit patient’

Sir Jim Ratcliffe says Manchester United fans have to be “a bit patient” while he tries to change the fortunes of the club.

The 71-year-old’s petrochemicals firm INEOS completed a deal to buy a 25 per cent stake in the club in February and control of the football operations at United.
United announced the appointment of Jason Wilcox as the club’s new technical director earlier this week.

British billionaire Ratcliffe missed the start of his side’s penalty shootout victory over Coventry City in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday after taking part in the London marathon but made it for the second-half.

Speaking after completing the 26.2-mile course in 4hrs 30.52secs, Ratcliffe told BBC Sport that he was “about 10 kilometres” (6.2miles) into rebuilding United, and was frustrated that new recruits have not been able to start work sooner.

United’s new CEO Omar Berrada is on gardening leave after leaving Manchester City, while the club has not yet agreed a deal with Newcastle United to enable them to appoint Dan Ashworth as sporting director.

“It’s a long journey really, the football,” said Ratcliffe. “One of the problems with football is you get these new guys to come into the team, capable people, but they’re all on gardening leave. So it takes you six months, a year, 18 months before they can join. It’s a real issue in football.

“The fans are impatient. I knew that, yeah. But it’s a journey. Whether they like it or not, they have to be a bit patient. It’s not a light switch. You can’t just turn it around like that. It takes a bit of time. But we will.”



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United and Trafford Council’s joint Old Trafford task force was finalised earlier this week with the addition of four new members.

The joint task force was created at the beginning of March to explore options for regenerating the Old Trafford area of Greater Manchester, with the building of a new stadium at the heart of plans given greater priority since Sir Jim Ratcliffe acquired a minority stake in the club.

When asked about the possibility of building a new stadium, Ratcliffe said: “I’d love to do that, if we can do that. I think it would be fantastic for the north of England too.

“I think that whole area of southern Manchester. It’s where the industrial revolution began. That’s why they built Old Trafford there, because the workers had finished their shifts and they walked to the ground.

“There wasn’t any public transport or anything – it’s where industry and manufacturing began in the world. It’s a really important area but it’s run down. To regenerate that area and build a Wembley of the north would be, I think, a marvellous project, really, if we can achieve it.”

Manchester United, who will face Manchester City in the FA Cup on May 25, are next in against Sheffield United on Thursday.



The Briefing: Coventry 3 Manchester United 3 (2-4 on pens)

(Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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