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    5. After 18 years of Glazer silence, Sir Jim Ratcliffe has ..

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    After 18 years of Glazer silence, Sir Jim Ratcliffe has finally spoken the language of Manchester United fans.

    Sir Jim Ratcliffe admits Old Trafford is “tired and in need of renovation”; Photo: PA/Peter Byrne

    Finally, Sir Jim Ratcliffe's agreement has been ratified. His 27.7 percent stake in Manchester United was approved by the concerned authorities. He is officially a new player at Old Trafford. And so he was allowed to tell us what his ambitions are, what he would like to see in the club and what he wants to do.

    It's clear what most United fans would like to hear from the new manager. After 18 years of silence, obfuscation and prevarication during the Glazer years, they want some leadership, some direction, some purpose from their club leaders. And Ratcliffe, brilliantly briefed by former King Charles public relations guru Paddy Haverson, is doing his best to do just that. His first interview is coherent, believable and quite ambitious. It's also funny how he neatly misrepresented Sheikh Jassim's obvious offer to buy the club. Given that he never met any of the participants, never made any public statements and never made any proposals, Ratcliffe noted, there is every chance that the supposed ruler of the Persian Gulf did not actually exist.

    < p>Of course, those United fans who were swayed by the ghostly sheikh's fantastical financial promises will be disappointed by Ratcliffe's initial claims. There was no bid for Kylian Mbappe, no insistence that the Champions League would be won next season, no promise to put Pep Guardiola in the dugout. And, even more disappointingly, there was no promise to pay off the debt imposed by Glaser with one stroke of his golden pen.

    Instead, he addressed the problems that United's more rational supporters want to see fixed at their fractured, weakened and woefully mismanaged club. He wants to end what he calls “11 years of misery” following the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. He wants to see trophies, he wants to see good football, he wants United to be top of the competition again. But his approach is to gradually improve, establish a hiring system, hire good people. Every sane fan will agree with this.

    Ratcliffe's arrival as the club's new co-owner was received very warmly. from fans desperate for change. Photo: Getty Images/Simon Stackpool

    They would also like to see lessons learned, ideas borrowed and top managers shamelessly poached from the club's great rivals Manchester City and Liverpool. Sir Jim wants it too. Moreover, while speaking in the language of a fan, he wants these institutions, in the words of the great man himself, to “lose their place.”

    In short, Ratcliffe wants what we want: for the club to once again become a world leader, both on and off the pitch. Anyone who has witnessed Glaser's illness institutionalize drift and decline will understand that this will not happen overnight, no matter what Jassim's visionaries claim. It will take time, it will require patience. And in the stands, the new person will be given this if the progress is obvious from the very beginning. Say so, and there will be support.

    Not that United fans have historically had it easy with their owners, whether they hail from Florida or Alderley Edge. And some of what Ratcliffe said irritates him. His insistence, for example, that public money be made available to rebuild Old Trafford, given that “people in the north pay taxes the same way people in the south pay taxes”, might carry more weight if he I myself paid taxes in this country. instead of living in exile in Monaco.

    Two potential ways for our home ❤️

    Sir Jim says options are being considered for the future of Old Trafford…#MUFC

    — Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2024

    However, such caveats should not detract from the logic of his early statements. With this interview, Ratcliffe immediately proved that he clearly understands the problems he faces. He said good words. Now all he has to do is deliver. We'll watch.

    Ratcliffe's nod to Ferguson hit the sweet spot, but he has to do it. -1a6e-4c92-aa46-6be79c49a0f7.html?direct=true&id=5197d1d3-1a6e-4c92-aa46-6be79c49a0f7' class='tmg-particle embed wrp-5197d1d3-1a6e-4c92-aa46-6be79c49a0f7' title='Jason Burt, Chief Football Writer' data-business-type='editorial' loading='eager' Scrolling='no' Frameborder='0'allow='web-share' style='width: 100%; min-width: 100%; border: none; position: static; display: block; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;'>

    There is no doubt that Sir Jim Ratcliffe hit the sweet spot when he stated that his intention was not simply to restore Manchester United's fortunes, but to thereby “knock both Liverpool and Manchester City” out of their place ” Even on the global stage, there's nothing better than a little local rivalry.

    This phrase resonates so deeply with United fans. This phrase takes us back to our former glory; the fame they have craved for the past decade. The phrase will forever be associated with Sir Alex Ferguson.

    Ferguson first used the phrase in response to a column in The Daily Telegraph written by former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen. This quote has become one of the most famous in football.

    It was September 2002 and Ferguson was under pressure. He may have won seven Premier League titles, he may have achieved a then-unprecedented treble in 1999 (Ratcliffe was present at Barcelona's triumphant Champions League final against Bayern Munich when Ferguson also came out with his “football, damn” take it!”). ) and may have been knighted.

    But attention has intensified due to claims that Ferguson is falling behind innovative managers such as Arsene Wenger, who led Arsenal to the title by winning the Old Trafford, and were already six points ahead of United.

    In his Telegraph column, Hansen wrote that Ferguson faced the “greatest test of his career” when he announced his retirement, and reversed the decision last summer.

    What was the reaction? It was calculated and became legendary. “My biggest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment,” Ferguson said, before delivering the killer line: “My biggest challenge was to knock Liverpool off their damn position. And you can print it out.”

    Since then it has been published and quoted many, many times. And now Ratcliffe was using it. Ferguson knew exactly which button to press – just like the Ineos billionaire.

    Sir Jim Ratcliffe took a page out of Sir Alex's Guide Ferguson with opening comments Photo: Getty Images/Matthew Peters

    In fairness to Ferguson, he meant the same thing as Ratcliffe. Ferguson's obsession with overthrowing dominant Liverpool has been evident since he arrived at United from Aberdeen in 1986. “This job is not for me. That's the mission,” he later said.

    The argument put forward by another great former Liverpool defender and current Telegraph Sport columnist Jamie Carragher may also ring true: it is Liverpool, not United, knocked themselves out because of poor decisions, and they were out of contention when Ferguson won his first title in 1993 – but the same can be said about the words of the now former United boss.

    A senior official said that it was actually more important for United to finish and compete against Liverpool than for United to beat any of their rivals. The argument was that despite Liverpool not winning the title since 1990 before Jurgen Klopp finally won it again in 2020, Liverpool remained big and remained relevant.

    United also remained big and remained relevant – sometimes to everyone. the wrong reasons in recent seasons – but unlike 2002-03, they won't turn things around as quickly as when Ferguson rose from ninth to first to win another title without losing a league game since Boxing Day . But Ratcliffe certainly struck the right note. It's always easy to remember yesterday, but Ratcliffe, a true lifelong fan and local guy, can afford such indulgence. But he also has to succeed, and beating City and Liverpool makes the task even more difficult or it will come back to bite him.

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