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Could Hamilton be involved in potential Man Utd takeover?

Ahead of the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was asked if he'd been contacted by Jim Ratcliffe about a possible takeover of Manchester United

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Lewis Hamilton said he wants to be more involved in sports team ownership in the future but hasn’t spoken to Mercedes part-owner Jim Ratcliffe about any involvement with Manchester United.

Ratcliffe owns a third of Hamilton‘s Mercedes F1 team and has run cycling giants Ineos Grenadiers since 2019, alongside a host of other sports involvement through his Ineos chemicals group.

A fan of United, Ratcliffe recently expressed interest in buying Manchester United as fan outrage reached new heights following two embarrassing defeats to open their Premier League campaign this season.

“It’s the first time I’ve heard of it,” Hamilton told the press when asked of a potential partnership. “I haven’t had time to catch up with Jim since I was in Namibia [following the Hungarian Grand Prix].

Jim Ratcliffe | REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

“I haven’t had a call from him asking if I want to be involved in that just yet but I do want to get more and more involved in teams”

“But Jim’s part-boss and part-partner, I would say we’re more partners because we’re in this together and I hope in the future to do something with Jim and build with him, I don’t know when that’ll be or what that’ll be.”

Manchester United’s predicament

One of the biggest and most valuable sports clubs in the world, Manchester United have been owned by the Glazers since 2005.

It’s estimated the family have extracted over a billion pounds from the club to pay of the debts they took on to buy the team in the first place, and there’s been fan opposition since the start of their reign at the club.

FC United of Manchester, currently sitting in the seventh tier of English football, are a protest club set up by fans disillusioned at the Glazers’ takeover, and are currently the second-largest fan-owned club in the UK.

However, anti-Glazer sentiment reached new heights at the start of this Premier League after the Red Devils suffered back-to-back defeats to unfancied Brighton and Brentford.

Fans with a banner protesting the Glazer family’s ownership of the club | Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Routed 4-0 by Brentford in a first-half blitz, rumours around a possible Ratcliffe takeover exploded following the game to add to his sailing, rugby, running and motorsport portfolio.

Relatively unknown before he took over then, Team Sky in 2019, Ratcliffe‘s Britain’s richest man but has been criticised for the environmental impact over his chemical firm and hypocrisy over Brexit.

Broncos, Blues and black ownership

If he were to be part of a takeover at Old Trafford, it wouldn’t be Hamilton’s first involvement with sports ownership or even Premier League bids.

He was part of a consortium that attempted to buy Chelsea earlier this year following Roman Abramovich stepping down from the Blues, despite Hamilton himself supporting Arsenal.

Serena Williams also invested in the consortium that was headed up by former Liverpool and British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton, but ultimately it was American Todd Boehly that took over at Chelsea.

However, Hamilton was successful last month with a different code of football, as he was part of a group that purchased the NFL’s three-time Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.

Denver Broncos quarterback Josh Johnson against the Minnesota Vikings | Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

“I really do believe in black ownership which there’s a lack of it in sports,” Hamilton added, ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix.

“When I do get involved for example with the Broncos, I really try and focus on what I can do within the team.

“Within the infrastructure and within the surroundings in terms of the stadium and the homes that you end up building when you do eventually get a new stadium and all those sort of things so it’s an exciting one for the potential there is there.”

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