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Manchester United fan and billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe interested in buying club | UK News

One of Britain’s richest men, Manchester United supporter Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is interested in buying the Premier League club if it was for sale.

A source told Sky Sports News that Ratcliffe, who owns cycling team Ineos Grenadiers, is serious about purchasing United, and ex-players would be involved along with Grenadiers general manager Sir Dave Brailsford, a former performance director at British Cycling.

The 69-year-old billionaire is the chairman and chief executive of chemical company Ineos and also owns French Ligue 1 football team Nice, which he took over in 2019, and Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport.

The British billionaire, who has a net worth of $7.18bn (£5.96bn), according to Bloomberg, was unsuccessful in his last-minute £4.25bn bid to buy Chelsea in May, as American businessman Todd Boehly successfully acquired the club, and Ratcliffe has now turned his attention to the Red Devils.

His interest comes after a Bloomberg report said that the Glazer family, who have owned United since 2005, are considering selling a minority stake in the club.

Preliminary discussions have been held about bringing in a new investor, according to the broadcaster, which ranks Ratcliffe as the sixth-richest person in the UK.

A spokesperson for Ineos said the company would be interested in purchasing a smaller stake with a view to eventually buying the club.

More on Manchester United

“If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership,” an Ineos spokesperson said in The Times.

“This is not about the money that has been spent or not spent. Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset.”

Manchester United chairman Avie Glazer with President Joe Biden in July 2021. Pic: AP
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United chairman Avie Glazer with Joe Biden in July 2021. Pic: AP

The Glazer family is not ready to concede the controlling stake and has an expectation of valuing the club at more than double its current market cap of $2.2bn (£1.83bn), another source said.

The Glazers are unpopular with United fans, who are unhappy at the club’s ownership model and declining performances on the pitch, having not won a Premier League title in nine years and not landed a trophy in five.

The side is currently bottom of the league with no points after two games, while United’s net debt had grown 11% to about £496m by the end of March.

The owners have also been criticised for not improving the Old Trafford stadium, the biggest club ground in the country with a capacity of around 74,000 fans.

Supporters regularly protest against them.

Manchester United supporters at Old Trafford hold up a banner that read 'Glazers Out' on the stands in April. Pic: AP
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United fans at Old Trafford hold up a banner that read ‘Glazers Out’ in April. Pic: AP

Manchester United did not comment on the story. The club have declined to speak on rumours and speculation.

The news comes on the same day that Tesla founder Elon Musk clarified an earlier tweet which appeared to suggest he was buying the club.

He later wrote: “I’m not buying any sports teams. Although, if it were any team, it would be Man U. They were my fav team as a kid.”

Sir Salman Rushdie: Satanic Verses author is on a ventilator and may lose eye after he was stabbed on stage, says agent | US News

Author Salman Rushdie will likely lose an eye and has suffered severed nerves in an arm and damage to his liver after he was stabbed, his agent has said.

The 75-year-old remains on a ventilator after being airlifted to hospital and undergoing hours of surgery following the attack in New York state.

“The news is not good. Salman will likely lose one eye, the nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” Andrew Wylie said in a written statement.

The Indian-born British author was being introduced to the audience ahead of giving a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, when a man stormed the stage and began attacking him, according to witnesses.

Author Salman Rushdie, behind screen left, is tended to after he was attacked during a lecture. Pic: AP
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Medics put up a screen as they tended to the author’s wounds. Pic: AP
Pic: Mary Newsom
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Pic: Mary Newsom

As Sir Salman fell to the floor, the man was pinned down by audience members and staff who ran on stage. The suspect was arrested by a state trooper soon after, and is now in custody.

He has been identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar from Fairview, New Jersey, who bought a pass for the event. Police say they do not yet know a motive for the assault, but they believe the suspect was acting alone.

A person was pictured being detained outside the Chautauqua Institution. Photo: AP
Image:
A person was pictured being detained outside the Chautauqua Institution. Photo: AP

Read more: Why is Salman Rushdie so controversial?

Witness Pilar Pintagro told Sky News: “We were very scared because the first place (he was stabbed) was in the neck and that’s where the blood started to splash everywhere, and then he stabbed him in the shoulders and continued stabbing several times because it was so fast.

“People from the audience actually jumped onto the stage to try to put him down and Salman was trying to walk away from this guy, but he continued stabbing several times, and he was finally pinned down.”

Salman Rushdie
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Sir Salman was airlifted to hospital

‘In shock’

The writer was helped by a doctor who was in the audience before emergency services arrived.

Police said the event’s moderator, Henry Reese, suffered a minor head injury after also being attacked.

Another witness Julia Mineeva Braun told Sky News that as Sir Salman was being introduced “all of a sudden from the left-hand side of the stage a short man, (dressed) all in black, ran out, and he approached Mr Rushdie”.

“It was very quick… we thought he was fixing his microphone, and then we saw the knife. He started stabbing him in the neck first… and Mr Rushdie got up and started running. We’re still in shock.”

Rushdie continued to write despite threat to life

Salman Rushdie is an Indian-born British author whose writing about religion and politics has made him controversial in some parts of the world.

His first three novels – Grimus (1975), Midnight’s Children (1981) and Shame (1983) – were all met with praise but it was his fourth – The Satanic Verses – that brought criticism.

Some of the scenes in the 1988 book depict a character modelled on the Prophet Muhammad and this was met with anger from some members of the Muslim community in the UK.

Protests spread to Pakistan in January 1989 and the following month, the spiritual leader of revolutionary Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, condemned the book and issued a fatwa against him.

A bounty was offered for his death. Rushdie went into hiding under the protection of Scotland Yard in the UK, although he appeared in public occasionally.

Despite the threat to his life, he continued to write and in 1998 the Iranian government said it would no longer enforce the fatwa. But Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor as Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in 2005 that the fatwa was still valid.

Rushdie wrote about his experience in the third-person memoir Joseph Anton in 2012. He was knighted in 2007, a move that was criticised by the Iranian and Pakistani governments.

Sir Salman’s publisher Penguin Random House said they were “deeply shocked” by the incident.

“We condemn this violent public assault, and our thoughts are with Salman and his family at this distressing time.”

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan described the attack as “appalling”, adding: “We’re thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping him so swiftly.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter he was “appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend”.

He added: “Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay.”

Sir Salman lives in New York City and became a US citizen in 2016. His lecture was expected to discuss America’s role as an asylum for writers and other artists in exile, and as a home for freedom of creative expression.

Novelist Salman Rushdie holds paperback copy of his controversial novel. "The Satanic Verses" March 4, 1992. Pic: AP
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Pic: AP

His fourth book, The Satanic Verses, was banned in 1988 in a number of countries with large Muslim populations, including Iran, after it was considered by some to contain blasphemous passages.

In 1989, Iran’s then leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Sir Salman’s death.

The Middle East country also offered a bounty of more than $3m for anyone who kills the writer.

Britain’s former ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer dies | UK News

The former British ambassador to the US, Sir Christopher Meyer, has died aged 78.

According to the Daily Mail, the former diplomat suffered a stroke while on holiday with his wife Catherine in the French Alps.

Confirming his death on Twitter, the current ambassador Karen Pierce wrote: “Very sad to see former British Ambassador to the US Christopher Meyer has died.

“He was one of my predecessors, but I first met him 30 years ago when we served under Robin Renwick.

“He was a great diplomat and a great character. All our thoughts are with Catherine and his family.”

Sir Christopher served as ambassador to the US for six years from 1997, having previously been press secretary to then Conservative Prime Minister John Major between 1994 and 1996.

His memoirs, DC Confidential, released in 2005, centred on his time in Washington and were heavily critical of Tony Blair over his handling of the period leading up to the Iraq War.

That conflict was to be the dominant feature of George W Bush’s presidency, but when Sir Christopher first met him he said he was confronted with a politician with a limited world view.

He wrote: “Bush admitted that, apart from Mexico, he did not know much about international affairs and that he would do well to broaden his experience.”

George W. Bush (R) smiles after receiving a bust of Sir Winston Churchill from British Ambassador to the US Christopher Meyer at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington in 2001
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George W. Bush (R) smiles after receiving a bust of Sir Winston Churchill from British Ambassador to the US Christopher Meyer at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington in 2001

After retiring from the diplomatic service, Sir Christopher served as chairman of the Press Complaints Commission between 2003 and 2009, his time there coinciding with the phone hacking scandal and the jailing in 2007 of the News of the World reporter, Clive Goodman, and the enquiry agent, Glenn Mulcaire.

As the scale of the scandal grew he was criticised for not having brought more those responsible to account, despite lacking the powers to actually do so.

In 2018 he was hospitalised after being attacked by a teenager at Victoria Station.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says he sacked shadow minister for making up policy ‘on the hoof’ at picket line | Politics News

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said one of his shadow ministers was sacked yesterday for making up policy “on the hoof” as he stood on a picket line during rail strikes.

Sam Tarry was dismissed from his role as a junior shadow transport minister after he disobeyed orders for frontbench Labour MPs to not appear on picket lines during Wednesday’s rail strike.

He told Sky News workers should be offered pay rises in line with inflation – however Labour’s position is that pay negotiations are for unions and ministers.

Speaking for the first time since he was sacked, Sir Keir explained: “Sam Tarry was sacked because he booked himself onto media programmes without permission and then made up policy on the hoof.

“That can’t be tolerated in any organisation because we have got collective responsibility, so that was relatively straightforward.”

“Of course, as far as the industrial action is concerned, I completely understand the frustration of so many working people who have seen the prices go up, have seen inflation through the roof and their wages haven’t gone up.

“So the Labour Party will always be on the side of working people but we need collective responsibility as any organisation does.”

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Labour minister defies Starmer

Earlier, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who is still an MP, told Sky News he was backing Mr Tarry’s position and criticised Sir Keir for sacking him.

He said it was a “severe mistake” as the Labour Party was formed by the trade unions “so when the trade unions have a just cause, we support them – and this is a just cause”.