Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill says he believes Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS’ minority investment will be a good thing for the club, insisting “they understand we have to win”.
United confirmed in December that they had agreed a deal for Ratcliffe to purchase a 25 per cent stake in the club. The Glazer family are diluting their shares in the Premier League side, rather than leaving. INEOS is buying an even split of Class B + Class A shares at $33 (£26) each for an overall cost of $1.3bn.
Ratcliffe and INEOS have already begun initiating changes after appointing Manchester City’s chief operating officer, Omar Berrada, as United’s new CEO.
INEOS CEO Jean-Claude Blanc and Sir David Brailsford, the company’s director of sport who was formerly an executive at British Cycling, will sit on United’s board alongside Berrada.
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“I don’t know Dave Brailsford that much, I’ve met him a few times, but I know Jean-Claude Blanc,” Gill said on Rio Ferdinand’s Vibe with Five podcast. “He was at Juventus and then Paris Saint-Germain, and I think he’s an experienced executive in the football world and knows what works and what doesn’t work. I think that’s positive.
“Brailsford has shown, albeit in slightly different sports, that he’s a winner as well, and I think he will leave no stone unturned and think, for example, ‘What’s happened with this appointment?’
“It (INEOS’ minority investment) has got to get approved by the Premier League. But they’re prepared to act quickly and they understand we have to win. You’re not guaranteed it, but we have to win and get that into everyone.
“Coming with the latter days of Arsenal with Arsene (Wenger), they’re saying, ‘Champions League is acceptable, get into the top three or four to get into the Champions League, and the odd run in the cup.’ That was deemed to be acceptable. Well, that’s not good enough.
“I am (excited). I think there will be some good moves and I think there are a lot of very good people at Manchester United. It’s not as if we have to get rid of all these people. I just think they need a new direction, a new motivation and a new outlook and I think we’ve got that. So I am positive. But the proof will be in the pudding.”
The appointment of Berrada as United’s CEO was confirmed after The Athletic broke the news last month.
United were seeking a candidate with a proven track record in football and strong business acumen. Berrada has demonstrated his expertise in both areas during his tenure at City, and previously while working for Barcelona. He will take executive leadership of both areas and report to United’s fresh ownership set-up.
Berrada was identified and pursued by INEOS but with endorsement from the Glazers in what has ultimately materialised as a joint decision.
“I think it’s a good idea they’ve appointed (someone) from outside (the club),” Gill added. “I think someone coming in with some new ideas and a new perspective coming from a clearly a very successful club (will be good).
“The first thing to do, as you’ve seen with some of the announcements, is to really focus in, be it Dave Brailsford and whomever on that side is on, the whole recruitment, scouting, negotiation side, to get that, understand that, get the focus back, get that (area) hopefully working better to actually then deliver because there’s some great teams (departments).
“They’ve just negotiated an extension, the Adidas deal, a superb deal they’ve done there. They’ve got other sponsors coming in all the time, so that (commercial side) I think is working pretty well. But if you ally that with a great team performance, it’s going to get even better.”
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