Ed Woodard was asked about Manchester United’s plans to add a head of football to the staff at Old Trafford at today’s meeting with investors.
United revealed record revenues of £627.1million for the last financial year in Tuesday’s conference call, but it was the football side which will prompt most interest after United’s poor start to the season.
After the financial results had been unveiled investors were invited to ask questions and executive vice chairman Woodward was probed on United’s plans to add a sporting director-type role to the club’s structure.
United were said to be looking for a suitable candidate over the summer, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying in April: “Me and Ed (Woodward, executive vice-chairman) and Joel (Glazer, co-chairman), we are looking at how can this club be ran as smoothly and as well as possible.”
Paul Mitchell of RB Leipzig, Ajax’s Edwin van der Sar, Monchi and Atletico Madrid chief Andrea Berta have all been mentioned as target over the last 18 months, but nothing has come off the speculation with United yet to make an appointment.
And when he was asked about the situation, Woodward said: “Regarding the speculation around the Head of Football, we are continually reviewing and looking at the potential to evolve our structure on the football side. Much of the speculation around this type of role revolves around recruitment – an area that we’ve evolved in recent years.
“As we’ve already mentioned, we feel the players we’ve signed in the summer demonstrate this approach is the right one.”
Woodward’s financial statement was in much more depth.
“We and our growing global fanbase demand success. Success means winning trophies. That target and that standard has never changed for Manchester United. The progress we made on the business side, that Richard and Cliff will shortly describe, underpins the continued investment in the football side,” added Woodward.
“Much of the progress made around that investment – the academy, the recruitment department and the training ground facilities – is behind the scenes and therefore isn’t immediately apparent to those on the outside looking in.
“For example we’ve materially expanded our recruitment department in recent years to increase its efficiency and productivity. Some of the senior staff in these roles have been at the club for over 10 years. Recruitment recommendations and decisions are worked on, on a day-to-day basis by this department and the manager and his team.
“These investments together with the commitment we made to Ole and his coaching staff in March have given us the building blocks for success.
“Whilst we’re confident this investment will deliver results, it’s important that we’re patient, while Ole and his team build for the future. We will continue to focus on the long-term strategy and wont be influenced by short-term distractions.”