Sir Jim Ratcliffe is “not going to tiptoe” around Erik ten Hag or anyone else at Manchester United when he takes over football operations, and the INEOS owner will be on the lookout for the “marginal gains” that his second-in-command Sir David Brailsford is famed for.
Ratcliffe is on the verge of acquiring a 25 per cent stake in United and will be handed the football reins by the Glazer family, who look set to take a step back from on-pitch matters at Old Trafford.
Manchester United fans will be wary of what to expect from the British billionaire, and Dion Dublin believes Ratcliffe will take a ruthless approach to turn things around.
“He’s not going in to tiptoe around people,” Dublin told Mirror. “He’s going in to say: ‘Right this huge brand needs to do better’. First and foremost it needs to win football matches because I don’t care how much merchandise you sell, if it’s not right on the pitch it’s not right off the pitch. That’s a fact. So he’s got to get it right on the pitch first.
“I think Mr Ratcliffe thinks about the bigger picture, he thinks about the brand and how he’s going to change it,” he said. “To get to where he’s got to, he’s got to be doing something right. And I think one of the most important things with Mr Ratcliffe is his team and who he puts in place to do things. He’ll just delegate the best in the business to do that job.”
David Brailsford – who made his name as the marginal gains mogul of Team Sky in cycling – will be tasked with implementing a strategy that’s already been used by INEOS at OGC Nice and Lausanne-Sport.
“I think they’d go in and do that. But the fans can see those little changes. For instance, we might see [Jadon] Sancho back – that’s a little marginal gain, he’s going to put it right, going to try to put a smile on his face so we might get a £90m pound player back on the pitch. I think Mr Brailsford will see all that. There are lots of conversations with Erik ten Hag which I’d love to be sat in on.”
Sancho was signed for £73m in the summer of 2021 and is now frozen out of the first team following a falling out with Ten Hag.
And with his own business hat on, Dublin – who runs an auction house and a building company – explained how Sancho could well be seen as a marginal gain by Brailsford and Ratlcliffe, and reckons the United boss will be made to see the bigger picture, from a business perspective.
“Now, that’s a stagnant gain that’s just sat there waiting to be used,” he explained. “It’s waiting to enhance the business.”
“Something seriously had gone wrong between the two in regards to the relationship. I’ve met Erik ten Hag many times and interviewed him a couple of times as well. He’s just very straight and very honest, very much like a boss in a business.”