Sir Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest men, is in the running to buy Man Utd from the Glazers; Sky Sports pundit Neville says INEOS owner “will want to do right thing by the club”; bids are to be made by mid-February with a possible decision in March.
Gary Neville has outlined the priorities for any new potential owner of Manchester United, with winning football, fan experience, facilities investment and debt-free operations at the top of his list.
The Glazer family, United’s current owners, announced in November they are willing to listen to offers for the club after a 17-year reign dominated by fan protests, debt and declining on-pitch performance.
Former United captain and Sky Sports pundit Neville welcomes Ratcliffe’s interest and sketched out what he called a “manifesto” for whoever takes over the ownership of the club.
Neville points to the need for investment in the club’s infrastructure, from the training ground to Old Trafford, the matchday facilities for fans and the need for the club to be on a secure, debt-free footing going forwards.
However, he says that driving all of that must be a successful football team, which means providing head coach Erik ten Hag with what he needs.
“There could be any number of buyers – it won’t just be Sir Jim bidding. I’d like to see criteria set for what a new Manchester United owner looks like.
“They have to be debt-free and make sure they invest in the facilities, the infrastructure, the training ground, the stadium.
“Making sure they put money into the football project, the fan experience and fan involvement: they’re really important things as part of a manifesto that the Glazers haven’t been transparent about.
“I just hope the highest bidder sees this as more than something they can flip in three years for a billion more.
“The priority for the new owners has to be winning. A winning Manchester United is difficult to stop – we’ve seen that in the past.
“With significant investment, the club then can become dangerous as a force again. The priority has to always be football performance and then you talk about fan experience. The stadium and the facilities have to be world-class again.”