|Full name||Raymond Ranson|
|Date of birth||12 June 1960|
|Place of birth||St Helens, England|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Raymond "Ray" Ranson (born 12 June 1960) is an English entrepreneur and a former professional footballer. He started his football career with Manchester City, and played for Birmingham City, Newcastle United and Reading. After his playing career ended in 1995, he went on to amass a multimillion-pound fortune from the sale of various sports-related businesses.
Born in St Helens, Merseyside, Ranson's sporting career began when he was signed as an apprentice by Manchester City in 1976. A defender who usually played at right-back, he made his senior debut in a 0–0 draw against Nottingham Forest on 23 December 1978. He went on to be capped several times by England at under-21 level and was part of the Manchester City team which reached the 1981 FA Cup Final.
In November 1984 Ranson was transferred to Birmingham City, where he played 137 times in the League. With Birmingham he won promotion to the First Division in 1985, but the club were relegated the following season. He spent nearly five years at Birmingham before joining Newcastle United, for whom he made his debut on 26 December 1988 in a 2–1 win against Sheffield Wednesday, the first of 83 League appearances for the club. In January 1993 he returned to Manchester City, making 17 appearances to bring his total for Manchester City to 233. At the end of the season, he joined Reading, where he finished his playing career.
Overall, he amassed 445 professional league appearances over 17 years, scoring twice and earned 10 international caps at England under-21 level.
Ranson's playing career ended due to injury in 1995. A year later he took a job working for Benfield Greig, the insurance company owned by Chelsea director Matthew Harding. Ranson invested heavily in the company, and sold his stake for several million pounds in 2002. He then started a venture, funding football transfers on a sale and leaseback basis, including several deals with Leeds United chairman Peter Ridsdale.
In recent years, Ranson has taken an interest in taking over a football club. Ranson twice headed a consortium in unsuccessful attempts to purchase Aston Villa. The first bid £30 million in April 2004, and the second takeover attempt was valued at £45 million. In April 2007, he then bid an offer of what is thought to be £90million to buy former club Manchester City. However, on 30 May 2007, he pulled out of the proposed takeover bid of Manchester City after failing to come to an agreement with the board.
In October 2007, Ranson attempted to take over Southampton on behalf of hedge fund company SISU; however in December 2007 Ranson completed a deal to take over Coventry City, with just 30 minutes before the club was set to go into administration.
- "Ray Ranson – Manchester City". Football Heroes. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
- Clayton, David (2002). Everything under the blue moon: the complete book of Manchester City FC – and more!. Edinburgh: Mainstream publishing. ISBN 1-84018-687-9.
- "Ray Ranson – Newcastle United". Football Heroes. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
- Demetriou, Danielle (29 October 2003). "Profile: Ray Ranson". The Independent. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
- "Could Aston Villa soon be benefiting from the business skills of former Man City star Ranson?". Professional Footballers' Association. 6 July 2005. Archived from the original on 28 May 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
- "Villa reject Ranson takeover bid". BBC Sport. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
- "Ranson bids to take over Man City". BBC Sport. 24 April 2007. Retrieved 24 April 2007.
- "Ranson withdraws Man City offer". BBC Sport. 30 May 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2007.
- "No Saints board seat for Ranson". BBC Sport. 24 October 2007. Retrieved 1 November 2007.
- "Coventry saved by late takeover". BBC Sport. 14 December 2007. Retrieved 18 December 2007.
- Ray Ranson at Soccerbase