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No European football is actually a major boost for Man Utd and Sir Jim Ratcliffe



Manchester United ended their nightmare Premier League season on a high note on Sunday afternoon, beating Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 at the Amex Stadium. However, it wasn’t enough to prevent humiliation in the form of the club’s worst-ever finish in the competition, outside of the European qualification spots.

As it stands, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have qualified for next season’s Europa League by finishing fifth and sixth, respectively.

Meanwhile, Newcastle United pipped the Red Devils to seventh on goal difference after beating Brentford 4-2 at the Gtech Community Stadium.

A -1 goal difference has cost Erik ten Hag‘s side, with Newcastle currently occupying the Conference League spot handed to seventh due to Champions League-bound Liverpool‘s Carabao Cup win.

United have one final chance on Saturday when they face Manchester City in a repeat of last season’s FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

They will replace Chelsea in the Europa League if they lift a 13th crown, demoting the Blues to the Conference League and leaving Newcastle with no European football.

Failure to cause a shock and deny City of the double would leave United with no European football for the first time in 10 years.

However, if there was ever a season to go without the more gruelling schedule that comes with European fixtures, there’s a strong argument for it to be 2024/25.

It feels like United are entering their 11th rebuild in the 11 years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement this summer. But this time, it’s different.

The summer transfer window marks the start of the club’s new chapter under a new ownership structure for the first time since the Glazers’ controversial takeover in 2005.

And this time around, individuals fit to run a football club have full control over operations under the stewardship of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS.

United’s new-look structure will reportedly decide on Ten Hag’s future after the FA Cup final, with the Dutchman entering the final year of his contract at Old Trafford.

Whether it’s Ten Hag or a fresh face in the dugout next term, no European football offers something that has not been available for a long while—significant time on the training pitch.

And with INEOS looking to move away from the manager role, instead opting for a head coach who focuses on the training pitch, that could have a major impact on performances.

United also reportedly plan to oversee a mass clear-out this summer, with almost every first-team player believed to be in the shop window to re-shape the squad.

No European football makes that substantially more straightforward, with a failure to qualify for the Champions League already sparking a 25 per cent salary decrease.

And the fewer games on the calendar next season would require fewer players, giving the club more reason to get ruthless with sales.

United are making the freshest start in their modern history in the coming months. It wouldn’t be all bad if Ratcliffe were truly starting his quest to restore former glories from the very bottom.

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