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British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe said buying a stake in Manchester United is the most exciting thing he has ever done.
The founder of the petrochemicals giant INEOS grew up as a United fan and was at Old Trafford on Sunday to watch the Red Devils for the first time since he agreed to buy 25 percent of the club for a deal worth $1.3 billion.
“It’s the first match for me since we sort of got there, if you like,” said the 71-year-old as he met with media before kick-off.
“I have done a few exciting things, but this caps it all. There’s no question about that.”
A deal with the Glazer family, who remain in control of the club despite being deeply unpopular with supporters, was announced on December 24.
However, it is still going through regulatory practices that he hopes will be fully ratified by the middle of next month.
“I think it’s three or four weeks,” he added on the process before joking: “We hope they don’t find anything dodgy in our CV!”
Ratcliffe took his seat alongside legendary former United boss Alex Ferguson in the directors’ box.
And his task is to bring back the glory days the club enjoyed under Ferguson.
The 20-time English champions have not won a Premier League title since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
The Ratcliffe deal brought to an end a protracted process to sell either a stake or full control of the club that lasted over a year.
Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Ratcliffe quickly emerged as the front runners.
However, after multiple rounds of bids were made, no offer matching the Glazers valuation for a full sale was met.
As part of the deal, Ractliffe’s INEOS team will take sporting control of the club.
“It’s taken a few turns, as you know, along the road, but these things quite often do,” added Ratcliffe. “It all turned out well in the end.”