I’ve no sympathy after Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Newcastle moan when Man United can still save £100m

You suspect Sir Jim Ratcliffe is only growing more irritated as Dan Ashworth’s garden starts to bloom. The Manchester United part-owner’s frustrations were certainly evident after completing the London Marathon on Sunday.

Sir Jim even went as far as to say that of all the issues in the game right now, extended notice periods were ‘one of the biggest problems’ the billionaire had encountered since purchasing a 25% stake in the Red Devils.

“You get these new guys to come into the team, really capable people, but they are all on gardening leave,” he told BBC Sport. “So it takes you six months, a year or 18 months – it’s a real issue in football. They can’t work for us. The fans are impatient.”

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Sir Jim, however, is unlikely to receive much sympathy from Manchester City, who have lost chief football operations officer Omar Berrada to their bitter rivals, or Southampton, who have watched Jason Wilcox move to Old Trafford just 15 months after appointing the technical director.

Newcastle, meanwhile, had to place Ashworth on gardening leave less than two years after reaching a breakthrough in their own prolonged negotiations with Brighton to hire the FA’s former head of elite development. Now Ashworth is on the move again, but not anywhere near as quickly as Manchester United had hoped.

Newcastle initially demanded an eight-figure compensation package of up to £20m to cut short Ashworth’s notice period, which Sir Jim branded ‘silly’, and the billionaire said it was ‘absurd’ that the sporting director could be out of action for the best part of two years if the Red Devils did not cough up. Sir Jim even suggested ‘that’s not the way the UK works or the law works’ despite Ashworth freely agreeing to such an extended period of gardening leave when he signed his contract with Newcastle.

It is the flip side of the transient, fluid nature of football. Players and staff members regularly change clubs, but hefty fees need to be met to enable them to do so while they are still under contract. “It’s not like my world of chemicals,” Sir Jim previously admitted. “Nobody ever goes from Dow to INEOS. You stay where you are.”

Football, though, is very different. If Sir Jim wants ‘one of the top sporting directors in the world’ so badly – to use his own words – Manchester United are going to have to pay for the privilege. However expensive that prospect may seem, Gary Neville has rightly pointed out that it could spare the Red Devils ‘blowing another £100m’.

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/ive-no-sympathy-after-sir-29037303

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