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Sir Jim Ratcliffe vows to help Manchester United knock Manchester City 'off their perch'

Ratcliffe vows to help Man United knock Man City 'off their perch'
© Reuters
Manchester United's new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe vows to help knock dominant force Manchester City 'off their perch'.

Manchester United's new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe has vowed to help return the Red Devils to former glories and knock dominant force Manchester City 'off their perch'.

Ratcliffe's arrival at Old Trafford was officially confirmed on Tuesday evening, and the INEOS owner and founder has huge plans when it comes to the football department at Old Trafford.

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Sport, the 71-year-old billionaire also opened up on the emotion that comes with him being a significant part of the club.

"In the north west, we have two neighbours who are really impressive football clubs. I want to knock them all off their perch," he told sports editor Dan Roan. "We are friends in the sense we're all in the north west but they are our biggest enemies. They are clearly our biggest competitors in the UK.

"When Manchester City played Real Madrid at home and won 4-0 last season [in the Champions League semi-finals], that was the best football I have ever seen. If we can ever get to that point, it would be a great achievement.

Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe is pictured at Old Trafford in Manchester, Britain, March 17, 2023© Reuters

"[We are] a long way behind. It's not going to change tomorrow. People unfortunately need to give us time to get back. It will be two to three seasons. Patience is needed. Spending money lavishly in the summer is not the solution, it is much more complicated than that."

Ratcliffe continued: "I was at primary school in north Manchester and in my class half were pale blue and the other half were red. My family were a red family, my mother and father were always Manchester United fans, and my only regret is my parents aren't here today.

"I automatically became a Manchester United supporter from the age of six or seven. It's an important element of your life, and hugely important to all those who support Manchester United.

"Without question [my favourite memory was] the [1999 Champions League final] victory in Barcelona against Bayern Munich. I was there with my son, who was about 11.

"The last three minutes were unforgettable. It was a remarkable moment ingrained in the mind - and that is what football is all about.

"It is a boyhood dream, but they never come true normally. This is the exception. It's ruled by the heart. This is not a financial investment for me. If I wanted to make a financial investment, I would buy another chemical company.

Nice owner Jim Ratcliffe before the match on April 20, 2023© Reuters

"It's very much taking on one of the great challenges in the world. It is a very worthy challenge and very exciting.

"The only reason I got involved is because I want to see Manchester United restored to where it should be. I might be biased but I believe it is the biggest and most well-known club in the world. It should be playing the greatest football in the world.

"It has clearly been a difficult 11 years since Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill retired. It's not switching a light switch. It's not just a simple short-term fix. We have to walk to the right solution, not run to the wrong one.

"The short-term issue is we want to get into the Champions League. It's a two-to-three-season challenge to get the organisation and environment right, to get the performances on the field right and win football matches. That involves the design and structure of the organisation being correct.

"In the last 11 years, Manchester United have had a lot of coaches and nobody has been very successful in that environment. That says to me there is something wrong with the environment. It is not constructive for me to blame anyone, it's just a fact. My focus is on how I change that environment to get the best out of the coach and squad."

Man United's recent form has put them in a strong position to challenge for Champions League football next season, and they will go in search of a fifth straight Premier League win when they host Fulham on Saturday.

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