May 16, 2019
On Thursday afternoon, Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward pledged to use the clubs ‘financial muscle’ which would allow manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to rebuild the club after what can only be deemed as a terrible end to the season. This came after United’s quarterly financial figures were revealed.
After the poor end to the season, which seems to have carried on from when United beat Paris Saint-Germain in Paris, they had the chance to break into the top four and a 15 point target was issued by the manager in order to achieve that. It was never achieved. United finished sixth once again, meaning that UEFA Champions League football would not be something they would be involved with, however, playing in the UEFA Europa League would, starting on the 25 July is Watford win the Emirates FA Cup this weekend.
Obviously, this is not good enough for a team like United and they must be aiming for better. It would be safe to say that after more than £700 million had been spent in the six seasons post-Sir Alex Ferguson, after that kind of investment, the club should be in much better shape but large amounts of that have been wasted by ineffective management at the highest level of the club. That is down to Ed Woodward. As reported by Sky Sports, Woodward, speaking about the path of the club, said:
“After a turbulent season, everyone at Manchester United is focused on building towards the success that this great club expects and our fans deserve.
“Preparations for the new season are underway and the underlying strength of our business will allow us to support the manager and his team as we look to the future.”
Saying things to the media, investors and to the supporters is all well and good but actions speak louder than words. Back in December, after the sacking of Jose Mourinho, it was suggested that United would be seeking a director of football. Now, six months after that happening, nothing seems to have been set in stone and it would have been ideal to get that sorted by around March. The lack of planning here is destroying the club. The ineptitude is never going to change unless sufficient changes are made. Is Woodward holding onto the power as he would feel like a failure if he did not have it? If so, it is this reason why the club is failing massively.
Adding more details on how the club finished the season and what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had achieved at the club ahead of that night in Paris, which seems to have seen the poor standards of football follow, Woodward spoke in more detail about how things are being established behind the scenes. Of course, what we do not know is whether a director of
There have been reports that Darren Fletcher would get a role at the club, the role of technical director was mooted in the media but that then turned into something along the lines of the player is wanted at the club but a role has not been offered and it would not be the director of football or technical director role. That said, we are no further forward in finding out what is going on. As reported by Sky Sports, Woodward continue by saying:
“The season that has just ended clearly didn’t end the way we hoped, finishing in sixth place and with a disrupted managerial change part way through.
“However, Ole and the squad battled back from mid-December to put us in contention to qualify for the Champions League next season, but ultimately we came up short.
“While the last few weeks were disappointing, we are delighted to have confirmed the appointment of Ole as our manager on a three-year
contractand to have recently confirmed the key members of the coaching team.
“Mike Phelan, Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna and Mark Dempsey will all be remaining at the club.
“Everyone at the club – the board, the manager, the squad and all the staff are resolute in our desire to get United back to the top of English football. We continually look to improve staff on and off the pitch to achieve this.
“The strength of our business means we have the financial resources to continue to provide a solid foundation for backing the manager and creating success on the pitch. This, as ever, remains our number one goal.”
The main point here is that saying things and doing things are two different things. If you intend to right all the wrongs that have been caused at the club after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, it is imperative that these words are followed with actions that will restore the supporter’s faith in Manchester United, suggest that there is a plan and it is being worked on in the right way. That the deadwood in the squad would be cleared and that it will be down to the manager and his coaching and backroom staff, not down to one of the owners of the club and their love for a specific player.
It was suggested in the media that Anthony Martial would be retained by the club this summer as he is Joel Glazer’s favourite player. I am not saying that this is true but if it was, what has this statement done to the club. Why would Martial need to break a sweat in the future knowing that he was the favourite player of one of the owners of the club? Why would he need to do anything more than he is currently doing? Could he get away with doing a lot less? Comments like this cause more damage than good. What will other players think? Will they want to try for this club? The entire situation is becoming even more toxic that I thought it could become.
United need to make some major statements this summer. That would be in getting rid of the underperforming players, no matter how much it cost them. Also clearing the club of the deadwood which has been at the club for a long time, players who have been given new contract and were not exactly deserving of them. That would make a statement. Then, bringing in the players who want to play for this club, will be extremely proud to wear the short of Manchester United and will dig deep when wearing that shirt, performing for themselves, their teammates, the club, the manager and more importantly the supporters of the club.
It is a massive job and I hope that Woodward has picked the right man to do it. If not, more questions are going to be asked of him and there is only so much abject failure that one man can get away with before he, himself, become disposable.