It pains me to say but, Manchester United is declining as a football club, not only on the pitch but also off it. Their authoritativeness whether it was with pulling power in transfers,
commercially/sponsors, or intimidating our opponents before a game. We can no longer rely on the history of Manchester United, and it’s becoming noticeable. Man United have got themselves in a bit of a muddle over the years and they need to just simplify things.
Yes, we may or may not have the manager, players, or owners we want.
But, by having football people taking care of the football side of things and business people taking care of the business side, we would see changes right away.
Here are 4 things I think Ed Woodward and Glazers need to sort.
1.Transfers & Contracts
Man United’s transfer efficiency has been poor, since the departure of Fergie. It has been majorly highlighted recently with the way Chelsea has made multiple signing in quick succession, and all there other big clubs getting business done. Furthermore, in the Premier League, Man United are the team with the least active during this transfer window.
It seems other teams are being linked to a player one day, and have agreed on a transfer deal and personal terms two or three days later. In contrast, Man United is still negotiating the Jadon Sancho deal which came about in July now we’re in the final week of the transfer window.
The contracts United have given out is another season why our transfer windows are a shamble because even if we had to sell players to raise the funds for new players all our players are on such high paying contracts (including the players who aren’t that good) makes it hard to offload these players to other teams because teams are reluctant to equal the player’s wages and players rarely want to take a pay cut which ends in a stalemate.
Let me clear this up a bit:
|Manchester United Team Contracts||Weekly||Yearly||Contract Expiry|
These are players who are considered not to have a future left at Manchester United OR who the club would be willing to sell if the opportunity arose. As you can see, from the table above these players are either on the decline or not ever going to be good enough for Man United. If I’m being honest they probably wouldn’t be a starter for any a top 4 side.
Manchester United pay out high wages to all their players, so when it comes to trying to sell the players, clubs don’t want to pay them the same wages and quite rightfully. To make t worse, the players rarely want to take a pay cut. This leaves us with:
1) players we don’t need, causing a big squad with not enough quality
2) Struggle to sell these players to raise transfer funds & high wage outputs
3) Potential buyers unwilling to match current wages
4) Players running down their Manchester United contracts because they know they are not getting the same/higher wages elsewhere
Which, leads nicely to my next point…
2. Director of Football
Why do Man United not have a director of football? You might argue not all teams have/need them and you would be right, in the history of Manchester United we’ve never had one. However, with the growth of football and all the other elements, It now involves, for such a huge club I think it’s time we looked to appoint one.
Furthermore, we do not have football knowledgeably people in important positions, and the ones we do have, don’t have much experience at this level. (Ole Gunnar and co).
There have been light talks of Man United looking to put a director of football in place, but they have just been little rumors with ex-players like Rio Ferdinand being mentioned, which is another point, this whole thing about ex-players with no experience in the actual role is not the answer. If we have an inexperienced manager, inexperienced coaching staff then let’s put specialist people around them not have a whole infrastructure of inexperience at of the biggest football clubs in the world.
Edwin Van Der Sar has also been mentioned, an ex-Man United player but has done a great job at Ajax as their sporting director. Would be a good option for Man United to consider.
3. Ed Woodward Stick to What You’re Good At
Manchester United has become such a huge business over the years and as much as we dislike Ed Woodward’s involvement with other aspects of the club, we have to admit he does a damn good job on the commercial side of things. Even when Man United are not competitive in the Premier League and Champions League we still bring in good commercial revenues. Which begs the obvious question, why not get the football side of things back to where they used to be? Would surely be better for commercial revenues…
Ed Woodward once said, “Playing performance doesn’t really have a meaningful impact on what we can do on the commercial side of the business”.
Which is basically saying business over football. So why is he still in charge of the football things?
Louis Van Gaal said “At Bayern, the people in charge are football men. I always appreciated that. At Manchester United, on the other hand, Ed Woodward was installed as CEO – somebody with zero understanding of football who was previously an investment banker”.
I must have my input as I think it’s just common sense, but playing performance might not have an impact short term because our fan base is still huge and always will be. However, in years to come,(Bearing in mind 7 years have already have gone by since we’ve won the Premier League and 12 since the Champions League) new football fans tend to support the teams winning, the best players want to play for teams where they can win trophies, etc. I’m not saying I know more about business than Ed Woodward but what I am saying is, from that quote, it sounds like Ed Woodward and the Glazers are thinking short term and don’t care about United’s long term where essentially United will feel the effects of these decisions.
4. The Glazers Ownership of Manchester United
With speculation that the Glazers could sell their ownership of Manchester United is music to most fan’s ears, however, nothing has yet materialized. We have to admit, despite the poor recruitment they have invested a lot of money into the squad but equally took a lot of money out. Now, my problem is that the Glazers are not really fussed about Man United being competitive across all fronts. A bit like Arsenal, the Glazers have slowly turned the Man United fans base into a fan base that is content with a top 4 finish.
Glazers have only really reacted when they are put under immense pressure by the Manchester United fans, they rarely seem to be in touch with the club football-wise so, we can expect a lot more low moments and frustrations while they’re in charge.
We have been spending money on players but the recruitment has been poor over the last few years with previous managers also complaining about their not getting their first-choice players.
Also, the handling of the transfers always seem to drag, weeks always go by before Manchester United get a deal done. Donny Van Der Beek was the quickest transfer United have done in years!
Manchester United’s contracts don’t need to be so generous to every single player. You could argue even our highest earners are undeserving of such high wages because they’re no way near consistent enough.
A director of football will give us direction and structure. Right now it seems the commercial side of things is mixed in with the football side of things simply because Ed Woodward s trying to do both parts.
With the Glazers’ ownership of Manchester United, it’s hard to say, they should be gone because who can sack them? Ultimately, they’ll leave when it’s financially beneficial for them. So, I say at the very least, they should respect the club and fan a lot more. Understand the history of Manchester United and try to get us as close to that as they possibly can. If everything is about money/profit then the sooner they realise the more successful Manchester United are on the pitch the better financial revenues they will gain.
What’s your thought? And what else would you add for Ed Woodward and Glazers to change?