'Sir Alex is the world’s most iconic coach'

Thursday 22 February 2024 12:30

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has expressed his admiration for Sir Alex Ferguson and described him as “the world’s most iconic coach”.

Ratcliffe’s minority investment into the club was confirmed in a club statement on Tuesday evening and, on Wednesday, he gave an in-depth interview to MUTV’s Helen Evans. 

During a wide-ranging discussion at INEOS HQ, discussing his priorities on and off the pitch, including options for Old Trafford, Sir Jim also touched on the warm welcome he has received from staff at the club – something he puts down to United’s northern DNA. 

“Well, I think I mean, it's obviously fascinating to step inside the doors, but we've been very welcomed by people,” said Sir Jim. “People have, you know, it's a sort of Manchester, a sort of Lancastrian trait, isn't it, that you're welcoming. People are friendly and chatty. So, you know, I would have expected that anyway, I suppose. But no, it's been an interesting journey so far.”
Sir Jim Ratcliffe | The Interview Video

Sir Jim Ratcliffe | The Interview

Another chance to watch our unmissable Sir Jim Ratcliffe Q&A from February, exploring his plans on and off the pitch…

One person Sir Jim already knows is Sir Alex.

During an interview several years ago, he listed our former manager as one of his dream dinner guests and since then he has got to know the United legend.

Recalling his fantasy line-up, Sir Jim laughs: “I'm trying to remember, I think it was it was either [Lord Horatio] Nelson or Nelson Mandela. One of those two. I know it had a Nelson in it. Oh, I definitely mentioned Winston Churchill.

“I've met Sir Alex, two or three times since Christmas. And I knew him a little bit anyway. I mean he’s the world's [most] iconic coach, and he's just an essential part of that Manchester United history. I mean, he has made history for Manchester United in those 27 years he was there really. And, you know, he was the greatest manager of his generation.”

Of course, as well as being a football expert, and now horse racing, Sir Alex also has a legendary knowledge of wine and he is known to be a generous host.

But Sir Jim - a keen marathon runner and fitness enthusiast - admits they did not share a glass during a recent meeting because of a rule he places upon himself.  

“I met him on a Monday,” explained Ratcliffe. “I don't drink on Mondays, although I'm sure he would have [shared a nice bottle]. He does know his wine extremely well, I have to say.”

Our full interview with Sir Jim Ratcliffe is now available to watch.