In his ideal world, Sir Jim Ratcliffe would herald a new dawn for Manchester United, finally making a welcome change after more than 12 months of exploring the possibility of buying the hometown club from the Glazer family.
But could it really be a new dawn at United’s board meeting on Thursday if the Glazers agree to sell their 25% stake in the club? It will certainly be a new deal on both sides, but will the new dawn the club’s fans and indeed staff want? As long as the Glazers retain total control, it certainly won’t.
The Glazers announced last November that they were “in the process of reviewing the club’s strategic options” in what was theoretically a long-overdue first step.
Among the options floated at that point was a minority investment, but it was not what the supporters or Ratcliffe and INEOS expected.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, another leading bidder, was not prepared to negotiate, agreeing to a minority stake. Angry that the Glazers rejected a 5 billion pound ($6.08 billion) bid for the club, their representatives announced on Saturday night that they would walk away from the process.
It’s a familiar story with Glazers frustrated. It remains to be seen if or how that will change with this new development. Even if INEOS takes over United’s sporting activities – and if they do so more successfully in football than the mixed practices of Nice in France and Lausanne-Sport in Switzerland – it is not clear that this is really the first step towards a full. Taking measurements.