Jim Ratcliffe has told Manchester United supporters he will prioritise silverware ahead of financial gain during his reign at Old Trafford.
British billionaire Ratcliffe agreed to buy a 25 per cent stake in United from the Glazer family on Christmas Eve.
The INEOS chairman will take control of football operations at the Premier League club under the terms of a deal that is expected to be officially approved in February.
The 71-year-old watched United in person for the first time since the deal when he sat next to the club’s legendary former manager Alex Ferguson for Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Tottenham.
Ratcliffe, a boyhood United fan from the Manchester area, returned to Old Trafford this week to engage with fan representatives and local leaders.
Ratcliffe met members of United’s Fans’ Advisory Board and leaders of the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST), before holding a video meeting with the larger Fans’ Forum.
Amid decades of criticism aimed at the Glazers, United fans were relieved to hear Ratcliffe is determined to put success on the pitch ahead of boosting the club’s profits.
“His main message was that everything at United needs to be ruthlessly focused on creating winning teams on the field – something we are sure all fans will agree on,” MUST said.
“He also expressed the view that he views our club as a ‘community asset’ and stressed that his purpose in taking a share in United is not to make money.
“We were able to set out to Sir Jim what we think the key priorities are – a clear plan to get back to the top, putting in place a football structure with the right people in the right roles; an investment plan in both the teams and the stadium; and building a genuine and strong partnership with fans that supports success.
“We all know the journey back for our club is not a short one – and the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. But most fans agree that the signals Ineos has sent in the last few weeks are encouraging.”
United haven’t won the Premier League since 2013 and last season’s League Cup triumph was their first major trophy in six years.
Erik ten Hag’s team have struggled this term, sitting seventh in the Premier League after being knocked out of the Champions League and League Cup.
The meeting with MUST lasted more than an hour, with Ratcliffe joined by Dave Brailsford, the INEOS director of sport, INEOS Sport chief executive Jean Claude Blanc and senior United officials.
MUST chair JD Deitch posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it was a good meeting and that Ratcliffe’s team “get it” but “proof will be action, not words”.
After speaking to fan representatives, Ratcliffe and his team met a range of local leaders to discuss United’s role in the community and potential development of Old Trafford, which has become increasingly dilapidated in recent years.