Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Sir Jim Ratcliffe would like to oversee the construction of a new stadium for Manchester United after officially becoming the minority owner of the club. Phil Noble/Reuters

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is set to be rebuffed by the British government in his attempts to upgrade Manchester United's stadium by using taxpayers' money.

The INEOS Founder and CEO had his 27.7 per cent stake in Manchester United receive full approval earlier this week. The purchase is worth £1.25 billion and will see the 71-year-old and INEOS have an influential role moving forward as they have been given authority over football operations.

Ratcliffe has been envisioning his plans for Manchester United since becoming a minority owner and among his priorities is investing in the club's stadium. Plans include refurbishing the current stadium, Old Trafford, or building a new stadium from scratch in the area right next to the existing ground.

Building a new stadium would cost approximately between £1 billion and £2 billion, whereas improving the current venue would set the club back less, at around £800 million. However, a new stadium may be a better option from a financial sense in the long run as it would be built on modern infrastructure and last for decades.

Despite the current Old Trafford undergoing renovations in the past, the most recent changes to the ground came 18 years ago. In recent years, the state of the ground has come under mass scrutiny due to the lack of Wi-Fi service, roof leakage issues and cramped seating arrangements.

Supporters of Manchester United have been particularly critical of the lack of investment into Old Trafford from the club's majority owners, the Glazer family, with the stadium having gradually declined and losing its status as one of the nation's best grounds.

The deteriorating infrastructure led to Old Trafford not being selected as a venue for the 2028 UEFA European Championships, which is being held in Britain and the Republic of Ireland. This is despite the stadium being one of the nation's largest football grounds with a capacity of 74,310.

A majority of the nation's newest and noteworthy stadiums are located in southern England, such as Wembley Stadium and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

However, Ratcliffe spoke on his intention to change that and oversee an improved stadium for Manchester United. He told BBC Sport: "It's about time someone built a national stadium in the north of England. There is a bias in the UK in terms of where national stadiums have been built - they are all in the south."

Northern England will in fact be home to a new football stadium soon as Everton are poised to move into its new ground, Bramley-Moore Dock, for the start of the 2025/2026 season. The 52,888 venue is set to cost Everton around £500 million and comes at a time when the club is experiencing severe financial issues.

Whilst refurbishing the current Old Trafford site is something Ratcliffe will consider, he mainly has his sights set on a completely new ground, saying: "If it can be achieved, it would clearly be my preference. A new world-class state-of-the-art stadium could take England games, the FA Cup final, Champions League finals. It could serve the north of England."

When asked about having the government fund the construction of a new stadium, the 71-year-old, was open to the possibility, mentioning; "I think, as part of a regeneration project, there has to be a conversation with the national government. HS2 has been cancelled and all that is going to be spent on the rail network in London. The people in the north pay their taxes just as the people in the south."

According to The Times, Ratcliffe's wishes for public funding are unlikely to be granted. The only cases where this may be possible would be for regeneration projects in the area near the stadium but not for the stadium itself.

The public uproar would presumably occur if Ratcliffe was granted taxpayers' money for Manchester United's stadium development due to the large fortune he possesses. The most recent edition of the Sunday Times Rich List placed him as Britain's second richest individual with a net worth of approximately £29.6 billion.

Former Labour Sports Minister, Richard Caborn, is firmly against Ratcliffe's preferred avenue of paying for a new stadium, stating: "Public money should absolutely not be used for a new stadium for Manchester United. Look at how Everton are struggling to pay for their new stadium. It wouldn't be right."

Any plans on Manchester United's future stadium upgrades are likely to be set out in the coming months once Ratcliffe and INEOS firmly settle into the club.