Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe has explained why he won’t buy Manchester United , the club he grew up supporting.
Ratcliffe, 67, is worth a reported £20billion thanks to the success of his multi-national chemicals company, Ineos.
He used some of his wealth to purchase French club Nice for €110m in August, while he has also looked into the possibility of taking over several English teams including Chelsea , Newcastle and Leeds.
His company also provides financial backing for cycling’s Team Ineos, after broadcaster Sky decided not to renew their sponsorship.
But Ratcliffe says he would not be interested in buying United from unpopular owners the Glazer family, saying it would not make good business sense.
Asked whether he would be interested in a move for United, Ratcliffe told the Times : “Not at the moment, no. They are in quite a big pickle as a business.
“(Ineos) never wants to be the dumb money in town, never, never.”
He said United have made poor decisions – and insisted that in any case he would want to test the water at Nice before making a move for a big Premier League club.
“They haven’t got the manager selection right, haven’t bought well,” Ratcliffe said of United. “They have been the dumb money, which you see with players like Fred.
“We won’t look elsewhere until we have had a good run here (at Nice). We need to find out how to be successful before you ever want to write a big cheque. It’s quite difficult.”
He added that United have “lost the plot” since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
“United have spent an immense amount since Ferguson left and been poor, to put it mildly. Shockingly poor, to be honest,” Ratcliffe said.
“We have a different approach here to be moderately intelligent about it. Try to do it more grass roots, trying to locate young talent.
“Some clubs seem to have an ability to do that, Southampton , Lille. United have done it really poorly. They have lost the plot there somehow.”
With big six Premier League clubs valued at £2bn-plus, Ratcliffe said the costs would be “stratospheric” – particularly in the case of Chelsea which would involve potentially four years of stadium reconstruction.
“So you quickly get into some pretty stratospheric numbers,” he said.
“And even though clubs have those valuations today, nobody has ever paid those amounts of money.
“How much did Abramovich pay for Chelsea, £100 million? The Glazers [at United], what £500 million? You can say it’s worth three, four billion but no one has ever paid those sums.
“Ineos has always tried to take a sensible approach. We don’t like squandering money or we wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s part of our DNA, trying to spend sensibly.”
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