Soccer-Ratcliffe calls decision to invest in Man United the most “exciting” of his life

By Lori Ewing

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who attended his first Manchester United game on Sunday since striking a deal to take a minority stake of the club, called his investment the most “exciting” endeavour of his life.

“I have done a few exciting things but this caps it all, there’s no question about that,” Ratcliffe said during a brief meet and greet with reporters before Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

“I am very excited to be here.”

Ratcliffe, who grew up a United fan, said because of the regulatory process, he could not reveal any plans for the club. His proposed 25% purchase, approved by United’s board on Christmas Eve, still has to be ratified, which he expects to take “three or four weeks”.

“I think it’s early February, I hope they don’t find anything dodgy on my CV,” the INEOS chairman said with a laugh.

“I have met (manager) Erik (ten Hag) obviously but it would be inappropriate to (to say anything) until it’s all formalised,” he added.

Ratcliffe, who plans to attend “quite a lot of games,” said he has dreamed of United ownership for a few years.

“It’s taken a few turns along the road, but it all turned out well in the end,” he said.

The 71-year-old explained he was “about 10” when he took in his first game at Old Trafford, and his most recent visit to the stadium before Sunday was two or three years ago.

He was spotted during Sunday’s game bending the ear of former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who was seated next to him.

Asked his thoughts of having Ratcliffe in attendance for the first time, Ten Hag said: “He will have seen a team fighting for each other and trying to get a win.”

(Reporting by Lori Ewing; Editing by Christian Radnedge)