Glazer incompetence & the importance of long-term strategy at Manchester United

It’s becoming obvious that the money hungry mercenaries that are the Glazers have focused so much on monetary gain from the commercialisation of “Brand United” that they have, as a consequence taken their eye off the ball – quite literally. No matter how much merchandise is sold, from Vietnam to Venezuela the simple fact remains; the club is great because of its success on the field. United’s unrivalled accomplishments over the last two decades has provided the platform upon which such economic reward can be attained, however it is fundamental to note that this is facilitated by, and only achievable because of success on the pitch. The Glazers now have to deal with the financial implications of failure.


The regression of standards in both playing staff and management will inherently affect the potential for sponsorship, and ironically, it is only now that the Glazers are beginning to realise that “Brand United” is only as good as its last game or disastrous campaign, hence the concerted action to remove Moyes as soon as it was mathematically impossible to reach the money spinner that is the Champions League.

For what is perceived as a well-run organisation from a business perspective, in terms of sponsorship anyway, there does seem to be an inherent lack of strategy with regards to the direction of the club in relation to what is most important – football. As such, the immediate future of the club will be personified by the appointment of Moyes successor.


The paradox of the current predicament is that United now find themselves in a conundrum that is characterised by contradiction. Currently, United have two options; agree in principle with Van Gaal to take over upon the completion of the his tenure with the Dutch national team, after the World Cup, or, wait and diligently go through a thorough process of extensive analysis and interviewing  that if carried out correctly, should distinguish whom is the right man for the job.

With United now being the iconic brand and global superpower it is from a business perspective, raking in millions from commercial deals, one would assume that the latter mentioned process of selection would be modus operandi, however as we know, this was not the case in the appointment of Moyes.

The problem with appointing Van Gaal is that one can’t help but think it’s solely based on financial factors, the easy option with preference based on penny pinching and ease of access due to availability. At 62 years of age the Dutchman hardly embodies the long term sense of strategy that transcends United.


With the departure of Ferguson and his trusted left-tenant Gill, the brains and brawn and heart and soul that characterised the modern Manchester United has ultimately vanquished. Craving stability, given that our most successful periods have emanated from such, it is hard to envisage how a 62 year old coach whose longest tenure at a club since 1997 is just four years could put head to the chaos that is engulfing Old Trafford.

While the Dutchman admittedly holds a more than admirable CV which includes seven league titles in three different countries, three domestic cups as well one Uefa Cup and a Champions League, it is worth noting that he was sacked by Bayern Munich and has had a less than impressive spell at Barca in which he walked out on the club as they languished just above the relegation zone.

Furthermore his first  spell in charge of the Dutch national team can be described as a disaster, as the Orange failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2002, and it is well documented that his  authoritarian style of management often leads to internal conflicts, see his spell at Ajax as technical director.

Conversely, Van Gaal, as alluded to, is a proven winner, he has extensive experience in not just a number of different countries, but also a diverse range of roles, and he has an aura that will demand immediate respect. Van Gaal may well steady the ship; he may, in fact, win a major trophy or two, but would this come as a detriment to what could be gained from appointing someone with an eye on long term strategy?


My lack of excitement in the probable appointment of Van Gaal is not based on his lack of ability to succeed, but more born from the fact that United are now in a precarious position of power in the sense that immediate success is not expected, but mere improvement from last year. The task of replacing Ferguson took its toll on Moyes, as it would the majority or men, but the task of replacing Moyes with the added incentive of a big budget must surely equate to the most enviable job in football.

With pressure somewhat subsiding, now is the ideal opportunity to pave the way for a long term project upon which the foundations of a new Manchester United can be defined. A team that is no longer living in the shadows of the Ferguson era and a side that is characterised by  a dynamic manager who embodies excitement, exuberance and a footballing philosophy that is built on  long term perspective… that man is Klopp.

Klopp is the perfect fit for United, not just because he is a proven winner with an enviable and equal measure of eccentricity and charisma, not just because his footballing philosophy is based on the premise of all action and attack, not just because he is a firm believer in youth, but also because he is a man of principles who’s philosophy is based on building long-term, hence his continuous reference to Dortmund as a “project”.


Such noble principles may ironically be the main reason as to why Klopp won’t end up at Old Trafford next season, but if Woodward and Co. don’t try everything in their power to convince Klopp to spearhead the new project that is Manchester United I will be extremely disappointed if not borderline manic.

If  he then turns us down, so be it turns us it may be time to revaluate alternatives of which their are a few obvious contenders (Simeone, Conte, Blanc) but, all come with question mark. As such, Van Gaal may be the man, but even then I would hope that he is assisted by someone who is potentially groomed to take over after, perhaps Giggs, maybe even De Boer.

The immediacy of modern life doesn’t lend itself well to the “business” that is contemporary football, where it is the manager that suffers more than most. It is now imperative that United get their next appointment right, overlooking long term implications of a short term choice may well lead to short term gains, but could well have drastic repercussions on the future of Manchester United.


  1. I am just so happy that ‘The Ego’ has gone. Fagin and his ‘Artful Dodger ‘ sons have no idea of how to run a football club.Their big signings are focused on tyre and shirt deals…….it has cost the owners ‘big time’.They cannot afford another one, so patience and we will see them go to.

  2. .

    Van Gaal has had his ups and downs coaching at the elite level but he has won titles with Barcelona and Bayern, and is well regarded. Having experienced both success and relative failure (not qualifying for 2002 World Cup) can be a positive factor in a coach’s development. At 62 he can bring his experience to bear and with a young assistant eg. Giggs, as a protege, a three year contract will suit. Personality-wise, I see parallels with Ferguson. Van Gaal is a strong, no nonsense, clear thinking man with a committed philosophy of attacking football.

    In the meantime good luck to Giggsy and Scholesy. They’ll both be on the bench against Norwich (but will they have their boots with them?). I would like to see Giggs get his goal for the season and so be prepared to play himself at some point. Alas, of course the Ginger Ninja’s playing days are well gone, even though he hasn’t been replaced yet.

    (Ciaran, I hadn’t realised that Fergie was David Gill’s landlord and that he had evicted him. You learn something new every day.)

  3. For giggs and scholes will direct united in right ways to trophies and success wish they recall m.phelan with them also.

  4. Would be great if Giggs and gang could prove they were special and get a good winning team going,especially with a few youngsters from Britain.Looks like it will be BIZZ that takes over.High paid manager with cv and coaches,expensive brand name foreign players like ManC.ManU has been capitalised on like all the rest of the big Clubs.Sadly the football is not as exiting as it was,maybe Real Madrid are showing some good counter football.The wages are up for the few so called experts with smart frisures and fall down no leg contact diving.Why Arnt there more good dribblers and goal scorers.When you look at yaaaahn Byern,you could teach a team of apes to pass the ball round just as good and it would be more entertaining.Sounds like capitalism in general,a few so called Experts running the show,the rest can like it or lump it.

  5. I really don’t agree with the anti Glazer arguments since the sacking. I think they have handled themselves exactly how I would want them to handle themselves.

    The let Fergie decide his succesor, I don’t think anyone argued with that at the time. I mean it was Fergie people presumed Fergie knew football better than anyone and therefore Fergie knew best.

    The hands off approach they took with Fergie worked fine so they didn’t interfer, they tried that again with Moyes. It didn’t work, so they stepped in and stopped it. Thank Goodness. I was worried it would last till Christmas. But they have done it earlier and are now taking a more sensible approach to getting a new manager.

    Everyone seems to blame them for every decision they make calling it penny pinching etc. But what’s good for the Glazer’s is good for United. If we fail the business model fails, therefore they don’t make profit, we don’t make profit. So it’s in their interest to make sure it works. That’s good for us right.

    They have set the club up to make money on it’s own, same can’t be said about Chelsea and City. There has to be a day when for Chelsea and City the owners, say enough of that and pull out their ownership and funding. I mean I personally don’t want our club funded by disgusting oil money from countries that I quite frankly take issue with regarding their human rights violations.

    Make United into a brand machine is a good business model, unless you want to be a traditional club which doesn’t rely on the brand or Oil money. In which case it would be impossible for us to maintain the position at the top of the football hierarchy.

    The only person to be somewhat to blame is Fergie for overrating his own powers of perception.

    I don’t want the owners interfering all the time, so I quite like the way the Glazer’s operate. The issue with the debt I think is blown out of proportion, Moyes was able to buy when he wanted to, the useless git was just so slow at making decisions that he didn’t make his bloody mind up quick enough it seems. But Mata was hardly cheap. Clearly we are going to have money to spend this summer. What’s the issue?

    If they are spending because they see it as damaging the brand, what’s the difference between that and spending because they want to win and want the best players. Outcome is the same regardless of the motivation. I would rather have business men who know business than a business man who knows football but doesn’t know business so well.

    I ain’t a Glazer lover but I think people are being a little bit one sided and narrow minded about this.

  6. Ciaran – I enjoyed that article! Thank you. Unfortunately, Klopp is sooo good in terms of character that he won’t break his promises. If it was someone’s wife we were trying to entice, not for one night but forever, we’d value that loyalty.

    Dave ‘Bassett’ Moyes Fan club – yep. I heard the figure of > £600m taken out by the Glazers in fees since they bought us – and of course, not a penny of personal money put in. The money being talked about ‘them’ spending is the club’s money (well, ours, really), not theirs. I don’t like the smell, £600m or whatever would have bought quite a few decent players over that period.

    Ah, Mr Everyman – LvG also seems to be credited with setting Barca and Bayern in the way they operate as clubs and teams. If LvG could take Giggsy under his wing, now there would be the long-term plan!!!

    Mikael – besides my first comments, my immediate worry is Mr Woodwoodwood. He may be commercially VERY capable and a great commercial-deal salesman – but someone who sells mobile phones isn’t necessarily experienced enough to run Talk Talk……..

    And finally – the other reason why it would be great for Jurgen Klopp to be the next manager is that we could then keep ‘The Chosen One’ banner – just take the ‘C’ off it – The hosen One…. boom boom…. groan.

  7. Glazer bring L.blanc to united. He is not signing his contact extension with PSG. He the best man. He know united well. And is ex player as well.

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