Success, not returns: Manchester United co-owner Jim Ratcliffe on his sole focus for the

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Jim Ratcliffe of INEOS meets members of the press ahead of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on January 14, 2024 in Manchester, England.

Ash Donelon | Manchester United | Getty Images

New Manchester United co-owner Jim Ratcliffe said on Friday that return on investment had nothing to do with his decision to invest in the English soccer giant.

Instead, he says success on the field will be his sole focus.

Ratcliffe’s comments come shortly after the British petrochemicals billionaire and INEOS chief executive finally completed a deal to buy a minority stake in Manchester United.

Ratcliffe on Tuesday finalized a deal to buy a 27.7% stake in the club. The Glazer family, which have owned Manchester United since 2005, retain a majority stake under the terms of the agreement.

However, the deal allows Ratcliffe’s INEOS Group to take control of soccer operations at the club after the minority investment was announced on Christmas Eve.

Asked by CNBC’s Arabile Gumede about the return-on-investment potential from his expanding sporting portfolio, Ratcliffe replied: “We’re not driven by ROI in sports investments though. That’s not where we’ve come at it from really.”

Ratcliffe said he and others at INEOS had “got to an age in life where we’ve made some money and we’d like to enjoy it,” adding that sport was a shared interest.

“And also, we have moved into consumer markets, you know certainly automotive is a huge consumer market obviously, and the INEOS name wasn’t particularly well known so, through sport, obviously people are getting to know INEOS,” Ratcliffe said.

A general view at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United. Picture date: Thursday October 19, 2023. 

Martin Rickett – Pa Images | Pa Images | Getty Images

“Certainly the latest one, they are getting to know about INEOS. My investment in Manchester United is nothing to do with ROI, I would just like to see Manchester United back to where it should be,” he continued.

“We only have one focus at Manchester United and that’s to get the performance on the field working as it should.”

‘A turning point’

The 71-year-old, who was born in Manchester, has said he is lifelong supporter of the club and described assuming his new role as co-owner as a “great honor.”

Shares of Manchester United, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, have fallen nearly 25% year-to-date.

Manchester United co-owner Jim Ratcliffe shares his sole focus for the soccer club

Manchester United is recognized as one of the world’s most popular and successful sports teams, but the storied club has endured a torrid time in recent years.

The club, which holds the record for the most Premier League titles with 13, has not won the domestic topflight title since the departure of manager Alex Ferguson in 2013.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) on Wednesday welcomed news that Ratcliffe had successfully completed his initial investment in Manchester United.

“After the difficulties of the last decade, United fans are realistic about the journey back to the top and we know it won’t happen overnight,” MUST said in a statement.

“But Sir Jim has declared his mission to restore United back to the top of English and European football and we dearly hope we can look back on today as a turning point in that journey,” they added.

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