Why Manchester United Minority Shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe Was Unsuccessful In His Bid To Buy Chelsea

Sir Jim Ratcliffe Manchester United Co Owner
Sir Jim Ratcliffe Manchester United Co Owner

On February 20, INEOS CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe officially became Manchester United’s co-owner, as the Premier League and Football Association (FA) finally green-lit his £1.25 billion ($1.6 billion) bid to acquire 27.7% of the club.

Ratcliffe, a boyhood Red Devils supporter, is in dreamland after completing the purchase, but things could have been a lot different had the stars not aligned.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe Wanted To Buy Chelsea But The Timing Was Off

A couple of years before acquiring a minority stake in Manchester United, Ratcliffe attempted to buy the Red Devils’ Premier League rivals, Chelsea.

As reported by 90Min, it all started following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which brought down a sanction upon Chelsea’s then-owner, Roman Abramovich. The Russian billionaire had to sell the club as soon as possible, which drew the likes of Ratcliff and Todd Boehly to the table.

Shedding light on his Chelsea interest, Ratcliffe revealed (via EPL Index):

So we’ve always had an interest in having a Premier League club – but they don’t come up very often, and at the time we had no inkling that Manchester United might ever be sold. So that’s how we finished up in that Chelsea equation.”

According to 90Min, Ratcliffe matched Boehly’s £4.25 billion ($5.4 billion) offer to buy the Blues, but his bid arrived a little too late. A few months after losing out to Boehly, Ratcliffe got another opportunity to get a foot in the door, courtesy of Manchester United’s decision to seek ‘strategic alternatives.’

Qatari billionaire Sheikh Jassim reportedly wanted complete ownership of the Red Devils. Ratcliffe, meanwhile, was content with a minority stake. The Glazers still wanted to keep a seat at the table, which would not have been possible with Jassim. So, after months of pondering, the Glazers family agreed to sell 27.7% of the club to Ratcliffe and give him the reins of all things soccer.

Ratcliffe Claims Chelsea Cannot Hold A Candle To Manchester United’s Stature

In a recent interview, Sir Jim Ratcliffe openly expressed his pride in being a co-owner of Manchester United, claiming there was no comparison between United and Chelsea or any other London club.

Ratcliffe said (via Fabrizio Romano):

There is no comparison between Chelsea and Manchester United. 

The scale of Manchester United is incomparable to any of the London clubs to be honest with you.”

The Brit wants United to fight for the major trophies by 2027. It will be interesting to see what changes he makes to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.

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