NewsMan United FC

“He will Stay But on THREE Conditions…” – Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos make a final decision on Ten Hag’s future after meeting with stakeholders

Ineos was once the largest company you had probably never heard of, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe was considered a reclusive billionaire similar to Howard Hughes. Now, he can’t stay out of the spotlight.

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Ratcliffe has reverted to being reserved but still faces many questions. His behavior at Wembley is closely watched. One newspaper highlighted the contrast between Ratcliffe warmly greeting Pep Guardiola in the royal box and the brief handshake and pat on the back he gave Erik ten Hag.

Behind Ratcliffe was Paddy Harverson, the former Manchester United communications director, whose firm, Milltown Partners, helped Ineos in their bid to secure a minority stake in United. Sir Dave Brailsford and John Reece, Ineos co-founder and United board member, also accompanied Ratcliffe.

Observant United fans might suspect Ineos is under pressure. Their X (formerly Twitter) account was removed, not by Ineos, but because X deemed it an “underage” account. Ineos is working to get it reinstated.

Ratcliffe’s PR team issued a statement that didn’t mention Ten Hag by name or title. A colleague next to me scoffed after reading the brief, 57-word statement, saying, “As if he actually said that.”

Ratcliffe has spoken extensively about renovating Old Trafford, criticizing its museum and Megastore, and sharing his vision for a new stadium. He has discussed United’s structure, playing style, and the challenge of overtaking City and Liverpool, as well as the Mason Greenwood situation.

However, he remains silent about the manager. When a reporter asked if Ten Hag was staying, Brailsford quickly ushered Ratcliffe away.

Brailsford should understand that the last thing he, Ratcliffe, and Ineos need is to become the story. But that’s what’s happening as they deliberate Ten Hag’s future.

United isn’t expecting a swift conclusion to their season review. Some external sources suggest an announcement could come next week.

Ineos is taking too long. Ten Hag left for his summer holiday on Sunday, and he could face more uncertainty upon his return.

Brailsford and his team should have reached their decision before the FA Cup final. Now, they seem to be influenced by the emotions of a potential FA Cup victory.

A Manchester Evening News poll after the 4-0 defeat by Crystal Palace on May 6 showed 64% of fans wanted Ten Hag sacked immediately or at the end of the season. After the Cup final, 78% wanted him to stay.

Many fans are fickle, and if the club’s decision-makers are too, it will show. United has contacted representatives of potential replacements for Ten Hag, which makes sense given the team’s poor performance this season.

However, this approach risks alienating Ten Hag if he stays. Previous managers like Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were lined up while their predecessors were still in post. United was so unprepared during Solskjaer’s downturn that his sacking took four weeks, leading to an interim manager and effectively writing off the season in early December.

Sacking Ten Hag would initially be unpopular with many, but matchgoers would eventually understand. Ten Hag’s trial period is over; now it’s Ratcliffe’s turn.

Ratcliffe didn’t build a £23.519bn fortune and reach fourth on The Sunday Times Rich List by making emotional decisions. During the Grangemouth refinery pension dispute, Ratcliffe was compared to a “Victorian mill owner” by the Daily Record editor.

Ratcliffe later regretted the distress caused to his family, as his son George had to cross the picket lines and was intimidated by a Scottish worker looking for the “wee Ratcliffe boy.”

Ratcliffe’s response? “I have thick Mancunian skin.”

He’ll need it with United’s fans during this review process.

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