Sir Jim Ratcliffe was at Old Trafford to watch Manchester United in person for the first time since his 29% stake in the club was announced. The INEOS chief is still waiting for his position to be fully ratified so he can take control of football operations.
Ratcliffe expects to be in his new post within the next four weeks. And he confirmed that he has already met with United boss Erik ten Hag before the clash with Tottenham.
“It’s the first match for me since we got here. I’m very excited to be here, but I can’t answer any questions really. It’s a big match and we normally do well against Spurs,” Ratcliffe said. “I have met Erik [ten Hag] but it would be inappropriate [to comment on that meeting] until it’s all formalised.”
Ratcliffe was in good spirits as he spoke to the media at Old Trafford, joking “Hopefully they don’t find anything dodgy on the CV!” when discussing the vetting process. He thinks the deal will be completed by “early to mid February”.
The 71-year-old is Britain’s richest man but his latest venture is the most exciting of his career. “I’ve done a few exciting things, but there is no question [this is the most exciting],” Ratcliffe explained. “It’s taken a few years and it’s taken a few turns, as you know, but these things take some doing.”
“I can’t come all the time, because I have some other things. But I will come.”
Ratcliffe struggled to answer all of the questions put before him, particularly around United’s biggest challenge going forward. “Good question, but it’s probably not appropriate to answer that,” he said.
Earlier this month Ten Hag spoke of his training ground meeting with Ratcliffe. He said: “It was very positive, I have to say. We had a long meeting, many hours we sit together and on many issues we are on the same page so it was very positive.
“I think from both sides it was a very constructive meeting and we look forward to working with them.”