A significant shift has occurred in the ownership structure at Manchester United. Joel and Avram Glazer, the American owners who hold the majority stake in the club, have offloaded 25% of their shares. The buyer, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, completed the acquisition on Christmas Eve, in a deal estimated at £1.25 billion. This transfer of shares is pending approval from the Premier League.
This development marks a significant change in the management of the club’s football operations, which will now be overseen by Ratcliffe. This shift is seen as a move away from the Glazer family, who have faced widespread criticism from the club’s fanbase.
Despite the change, there remains a sense of dissatisfaction among fans due to the Glazer family retaining a majority stake in Manchester United.
Amidst this backdrop, a leaked email from the Glazers to club staff has surfaced, offering a glimpse into their thoughts on the deal. Published by Sky, the correspondence from Joel and Avram Glazer highlights their perspective on how the partnership with Ratcliffe and his company, INEOS, will benefit the club.
The email reads: “Dear Colleagues. We are pleased to share the news that the Board has agreed a deal for INEOS Chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, to acquire up to 25 per cent of A & B shares of Manchester United.
“This follows the strategic review over the past year in which we have explored a number of different options to help strengthen the Club and ensure additional funds intended for investment in infrastructure.
“We know Manchester United has great strengths – not least its people. This deal will help to unlock more of the potential that you have helped build in this great Club.
“As part of the partnership, the Board has asked INEOS, with their agreement, to have oversight and responsibility for the Club’s football operations.
“This will include all aspects of the men’s and women’s football operation and the Academies, with the aim of delivering a world-class, high-performance environment supporting success on the pitch.
“This will build on the Club’s many existing strengths, including industry-leading success off the pitch.
“INEOS brings expertise and experience from inside and outside the game that we believe can benefit Manchester United. We know from our conversations that they share our ambition and aspiration to ensure that the Club returns to the top of English, European and world football and together we will work hard to help make that happen.
“The transaction is subject to the usual regulatory and Premier League approvals, and we hope it will be completed as soon as possible. During this period Sir Jim and INEOS do not plan to make any public statements.
“Moving forward, they will work closely with Patrick Stewart, as interim CEO, and the Executive Leadership Team as they integrate into the Club. We understand this process has taken time and has inevitably created some uncertainty for colleagues. But it has been important to conduct the strategic review thoroughly and to find the right partner to take us forward. Thank you for your patience.
“We are excited about the opportunity ahead and realistic about the hard work and commitment that it will require from everyone at Manchester United to help realise it. However, we know from more than 18 years’ experience working with you, that we can count on your diligence, dedication, and ability.”