Manchester United: Gary Neville lists priorities for potential new owners as Glazers listen to offers | Football News

Gary Neville has outlined the priorities for any new potential owner of Manchester United, with winning football, fan experience, facilities investment and debt-free operations at the top of his list.

The Glazer family, United’s current owners, announced in November they are willing to listen to offers for the club after a 17-year reign dominated by fan protests, debt and declining on-pitch performance.

This week, Sir Jim Ratcliffe entered the running, with his company INEOS confirming a formal interest in taking over.

Man Utd fan Ratcliffe was born in the area and has experience running sporting organisations, with his ownership of Ligue 1 side Nice, Swiss club FC Lausanne-Sport and cycling team INEOS Grenadiers. He also had a £4.25bn bid for Chelsea rejected last year.

Former United captain and Sky Sports pundit Neville welcomes Ratcliffe’s interest and sketched out what he called a “manifesto” for whoever takes over the ownership of the club.

Neville points to the need for investment in the club’s infrastructure, from the training ground to Old Trafford, the matchday facilities for fans and the need for the club to be on a secure, debt-free footing going forwards.

However, he says that driving all of that must be a successful football team, which means providing head coach Erik ten Hag with what he needs.

“The main thing is that the Glazers leave as soon as possible,” Neville told Sky Sports. “The second thing is that the club needs to be now in good hands and with someone who has feelings for the club.

“Sir Jim Ratcliffe was born in Manchester and knows the area. If he wins it, there will be a lot of happy Manchester United fans as I think he’ll want to do the right thing by the club.

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Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol reports that Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company INEOS has officially entered the bidding to buy Manchester United.

“Beyond the Glazers leaving, I don’t think United can afford to be with another investment fund where they’re expecting a return on the money. That’s what worries me about private equity coming into football.

“People are still looking for a return on their money and a return on their investment. Manchester United need a debt-free football club with someone who is willing to put money into it.

“The problem is the price they’re going to have to pay for it is going to be big so you’re going to have to have deep pockets. I don’t know if Sir Jim is going to be able to bring people in with him, but I’m hopeful that can happen.

The priority for the new owners has to be winning. A winning Manchester United is difficult to stop – we’ve seen that in the past.

Gary Neville

“There could be any number of buyers – it won’t just be Sir Jim bidding. I’d like to see criteria set for what a new Manchester United owner looks like.

“They have to be debt-free and make sure they invest in the facilities, the infrastructure, the training ground, the stadium.

“Making sure they put money into the football project, the fan experience and fan involvement: they’re really important things as part of a manifesto that the Glazers haven’t been transparent about.

“I just hope the highest bidder sees this as more than something they can flip in three years for a billion more.

“The priority for the new owners has to be winning. A winning Manchester United is difficult to stop – we’ve seen that in the past.

“With significant investment, the club then can become dangerous as a force again. The priority has to always be football performance and then you talk about fan experience. The stadium and the facilities have to be world-class again.”

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