No Question About That - a Manchester United Podcast

He is the Glazer’s poster-child; the man who masterminded the family’s 2005 leveraged takeover of Manchester United and has executed on the Americans’ vision of a globally sponsored brand. Yet, all is not well with Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice chairman – the man who has led the club into the most troubling period in a generation.

United finished seventh in the Premier League last season and to compound supporters’ growing frustrating Woodward has seemingly struggled to strengthen the club’s squad this summer. Despite spending some £80 million on Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo, star names have failed to appear, beaming, before the Manchester press pack holding a Red scarf aloft. It has left hollow Woodward’s hubris about United’s supposedly awesome financial power.

Indeed, with a little over a week before the transfer window closes it is hard to characterise United’s squad as stronger than the one David Moyes left behind at the end of last season. Not least after eight, mostly experienced, players departed Old Trafford this summer: Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidić, Patrice Evra, Alexander Büttner, Anders Lindegaard, Bebé, and Nani.

It was a similar story of failure in the transfer market last year, with the club humiliated by a series of failed bids for big-name European stars. Woodward then oversaw the farcical £27.5 million purchase of dud Marouane Fellaini – and for £4 million over the player’s buyout clause fee. Little wonder Woodward has become the butt of supporters’ contempt. Many, most perhaps, have begun to characterise the former JP Morgan banker as inept and naïve.

On the positive side Woodward has overseen a massive increase in United’s commercial revenue, including a £750 million 10-year kit deal with adidas that is the world’s most lucrative. The executive’s strategy has so vastly increased United’s enterprise value that the Glazer family will extract around $200 million from the sale of shares in New York before the summer is out. He is seemingly untouchable in the top post.

Yet, to paraphrase Sir Matt Busy, it is on the pitch that supporters would rather see money spent – a cause in which Woodward has failed more often than not. Should the Essex-born executive fail to secure further players before the window closes Van Gaal will be left with fewer resources than he contemplated when accepting the job in June.

While Woodward has seemingly excelled in delivering new revenues from brands desperate to be associated with the club, he has failed to replicate those riches on the pitch. It leaves an obvious question:

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87 Comments

      1. +1 on that. Don’t sack him, just send him back to his desk to do new Adidas like and let somebody else take over transfer business…

  1. Idk if he should be sacked, considering all the money his commercial deals have brought into the club, irrespective how cringe-worthy it is too see. But there definitely needs to be an experienced transfer market worker at OT. I don’t want to say “Director of Football”, but something akin to what Txiki Begiristain does for City would be useful in aiding our under pressure vice chairman.

    1. We live in the hyperbole age! Talk about Rose-tinted specs, short memories and all that.

      People were transfer windows under David Gill & Sir Alex always smooth and plain sailing? Not really. At different times we missed out on, or failed to secure the signatures of several so-called big names. The likes of Benzema, Ribery, Bale, Hazard, Moura, Ozil (despite Rooney’s prompting in 2010) to name but a few.

      The word is that LvG has personally KO’d some of the names that were on the original summer short list courtesy of the Moyesian era. e.g. Kroos, Fabregas and apparently Vidal. Woodward has always maintained that the final say on player recruitment should be the sole decision of the Manager.

      Please, please, please let’s try to maintain some perspective – it’s very early days, it’s only one game, we have a good coach, a well-run club, and some very talented players, despite the general media and so-called pundits propaganda about “the worst Untied they’ve seen”

      I believe LvG will build and develop a strong Man Utd side over the coming months.

      Let’s be patience and enjoy the journey!

      1. P.s. In short, Woodward should not be sacked!

        CORRECTION: let’s be patient and enjoy the journey!!!

  2. He seems to do well as a commercial director, embarrassing as it is to see “Official Diesel Engine Partner” on an OT billboard.

    I’ve voted “yes” purely because he hasn’t performed well at all in regards squad strengthening. He’s known for a while that three very, very, very experienced defenders were leaving. From the moment he fired Moyes, it was up to him to bring in recruits until Van Gaal started.

    In his defence, he’s in the same boat as Moyes. They’re the two new guys replacing a pretty successful partnership. This needs repeating.

    So while we mostly vote “yes”, perhaps this is a role which can be allowed a little more time. But it’s basically on his head (and to a lesser extent Moyes, and then other parts of the club). If we don’t finish Top 4 then he’s out.

    We’ve been overtaken in quality of squad comprehensively now. I do not even hope for wins in the four Chelsea & City ties. Damage limitation. Liverpool & Arsenal compare well. Shit, if Martinez gets Everton another good run then we’re Europe. If Spurs do well then we’re ruined. I think 4th is the best we can hope for.

    If he is fired then it needs to be soon so we can try and minimise the financial bumming we’ll take in January when we panic buy.

  3. Here’s the problem with all of this: Does it even matter?
    With all of the protests, complaining, etc about the glazers, they still came in and bought the club. They rode out the green and gold campaign. They have continued to suck United dry and not one thing that any of us fans say will EVER affect them.
    Ed Woodward has done a lot to help bring more money into the club. He has done a fantastic job doing this. He is NOT the right person to be attempting to bring in new players. Other directors and chairmen see him coming and start laughing. There is very little he can do at this point to rectify the situation.
    Yes, he probably should go, but will he? No. He is a “company man” through and through and there is no way the glazer’s will sack him, just like there is no way the glazer’s will get their dirty fingers out of United.
    No matter how much we fans complain. No matter how much we continue to hate having them involved in the club, they are here to stay indefinitely.

    1. Little Ed is too valuable to the Fagins. He brings in all the Noodle and Tyre Sponsors and also takes the flak……..If we sign Di Maria it will be surprising…..BEST THING IS FOR VAN GAAL TO WALK….For telling him lies….AND SEE THE SHITE FALL OVER THE HEADS

  4. I dont think he should be ‘sacked’. But moed to a different job within United. To be fair to him he’s fronted deals which sees us when adidas take over rake in nearly 200 million a year on sponserships alone. Yes it goes into the Glazers pockets but no matter who we hire it’ll be the same deal. Give him a job in marketing.

  5. he should be handed to ISIS and placed in the execution department. the speed at which he delivers will save lives.

  6. either sack him, make him commercial director or hire someone who knows how to get a deal done.

    the worse part is his big talk and lack of follow up.

  7. Quite simply Woodward should stick to what he is good at, just like everyone should in life. He is obviously good at getting multi million sponsorship deals which are still essential for our club. Transfers and Player Contracts he SHOULD STAY AWAY from..So I would definitely vote for a new CEO/.Exec Vice Chairman to run the ship with Woodward Commercial Director / Sponsorship Director…

    I am just like so many true red fans here and am really frustrated and disappointed in our transfer dealings this summer of all summers..Last year was awful but we could of moved on from it if lessons learned..Clearly lessons have been learned as a blind man could see what went wrong last year…Problem is, Woodward is NOT the man to make sure lightning didnt strike twice..

    Now, I will add….without our massive Global Sponsorship and kit deals we would NEVER be able to offer the astronimical wages and contracts to our top players and to offer to world class players to join…We need these deals to stay so massively profitable…However, it’s clear we need a different Captain of the ship in terms of getting the Best Players who the Manager wants into our Club to help us get back on top of the mountain that is getting steeper and more difficult to climb..

  8. Get out for me. I realy feel unease in my asps holy.

    Well, he’s so good with off the pitch biznessis, but I think I will take the field biznessis for Paul Scholes. Fellow ranters do I speak your mind all? Because sooner than season end, Lvg isn’t going to be that silent kid on a hot kneel (seat?).

    out wood go go manU.

  9. If they continue like this we soon cant get any players because they keep & calling players names then the player are they agent come out with a complete different story….look how long Daley Blind & is club say he’s available all now

  10. Whilst Ed is amazing in securing sponsorship deals for Manchester United, he’s utterly incompetent when it comes to buying players.

    For all the money he’s secured for the club, the guy cannot buy a Mars bar, never mind the types of players we desperately need!

    Time to go Ed….adios

  11. Agree with Andy. He is clearly good at getting us an official noodles snack and responsible drinking partners. So maybe he should stick to that? Don’t understand why we can’t get someone with prior experience in transfers.

  12. He should never have been in charge of signings, he’s a bloody accountant. The Glazers won’t get rid, look at the prize he got them. The mans a fool and thinks he can spout nonsense about, “watch this space” and “we have the money” etc. football supporters are generally intelligent when it comes to matters on the pitch. So cut the crap Woodward and give the job to someone that knows what they are doing. Who would want to come to the mess at Utd at the minute.

  13. It would be a bit short sighted to sack Woody without a replacement waiting in the wings. Clearly the man is great at maximising commercial deals. Not so good at closing deals on transfer targets though.
    SkySports saying no formal bids have gone in for any other player stinks of incompetence to me.

  14. No.
    Let me explain. He ia a very talented at money making, as I could not see anyone else being able to secure the sponsership deals he has when utd failed to qualify for any european cup and finish 7 th.
    We need though to bring someone in to deal with players transfers and the such. The glazers are the main problem, they ate draining our club pf all the money woodward is bringing in. but I do agree woodward.shouldnt

  15. No.
    Let me explain. He ia a very talented at money making, as I could not see anyone else being able to secure the sponsership deals he has when utd failed to qualify for any european cup and finish 7 th.
    We need though to bring someone in to deal with players transfers and the such. The glazers are the main problem, they ate draining our club pf all the money woodward is bringing in. but I do agree woodward.shouldnt be alowed near another player contract

  16. Seen it suggested that Ewar Woowar’s seeming bunglings in the market are in fact deliberate and calculated: designed to create the appearance of big ambition without needing to follow through with the fees and wages.

    So last year, chases for the likes of Ronaldo and Bale who were safely never going to sign for Moyes, and this year no actual bid for Vidal precisely because that deal was do-able. Starting to seem increasingly plausible.

  17. I think sacking is a bit hash though the fact remains that he has no ability of strengthening a squad. Let an experienced specialist be employ and strengthen the squad while Woodward focus on his normal business world in Manchester united.

  18. God no – That’d be childish. Just sign on a director of football to take over the transfer business, that’s the ONLY issue with Woodward – Leave him at the club to continue his unrivaled sponsorship work.

  19. I do believe there is someone else in the background dictating to him on how or how much to spend on certain targets. We need to find out who this person or persons are and get rid of them. The midfield is still a problem because Herrera, Mata and Fellaini were the wrong signings, therefore no balance. Should have bought Vidal and Cabaye instead of Herrera and Mata. And to fix the central defence, bring back Pogba and buy Benatia. For left wing, buy di Maria and right wing, Douglas Costa or Cuadrado. To replace Hernandez, buy Falcao for 12 million or Cavani for 30 million. Now we got a top 4 squad.

  20. I wonder if there couldn’t be a third way, where he could continue to oversee the club’s commercial activities (where he clearly excels) but delegates all transfers to somebody who is adept at that, somebody with the right contacts and the nous to influence agents and other clubs presidents in a less public manner. The responsibilities needn’t be lumped together, since a different skill set is required for each task, even though David Gill was seemingly good at both. It doesn’t appear that Woodward is getting any better at this. In fact, based on the stories around Mata’s and Herrera’s signings, it looks like we are better off when he isn’t involved at all.

  21. Like others have said, hiring a techical director makes sense. Someone who’s main focus and experience is handling football related jobs, mainly transfers. Let Ed do what he’s good at on the commercial side, but don’t him near any business relating to the team, he’s proved incompetent in that area.

  22. We should do what shittyyy did and hire a specialist in transfers and leave him raising money for the club

  23. We should do what the blue mode turds did and hire a specialist in transfers and leave him to raising money for the club

  24. SACK F** YES THE SHIT OUT OF HIM!!!He is clueless ..keeps wasting time on players he can’t get ..The man is a novice ** He treatiing Man utd like Arsenal..More money less players ** what an anoying Dir….Woodward ma a**

  25. To be fair to Woodward, he’s a business man, from a world of spreadsheets, profit margins and corporate dinners.
    He’s the perfect man to grow Manchester United ‘the brand’. On a commercial level he’s breaking records left right and center.

    What Man Utd need is a Sporting Director or Director of Football. A guy who knows football inside out, who can work FOR Van Gaal in getting the players Van Gaal wants. We need a savvy man who knows the world of football transfers inside out.

    It’s a foreign land to Woodward, one which he is increasingly showing he is uncomfortable working in.
    Back him and Van Gaal up with a man who knows his was around player transfers and we can carry on growing commercially whilst getting back to being a success on the pitch.

  26. We’ve signed three players. All of which I would class as good signings in important positions, that will hopefully bring something to the team.

    The problem is not a lack of signings, or even United making bad ones. It’s the lack of top class signings, on top the deals made already, Di Maria/Vidal etc. Woodward’s got days to bring in a top class player, and then a decision about his future should be made.

    Even then though, how much of it is Woodward’s fault? Why aren’t these players coming to United? I don’t think it’s money, despite what people think. We sign Mata for £37M, Herrera for £28M. I think the money is there, the issue in top players signing, is the lack of CL football.

  27. I voted yes, because he’s failed so miserably in the transfer market. But like a lot of people are suggesting….leave him in charge of the commercial side, he’s doing a fine job there. A corporate restructuring. We need someone more competent in charge of the football side of things, no doubt about that.

  28. So in summary: we’re happy for him to handle the commercial/corporate side, but we’re desperate for somebody to handle the player side.

  29. I voted for Woodward and the Glazers to go, although I really do think there is someone else calling the shots. I know SAF would never spend 40 plus million on any player. He would say there is no value for money. Is SAF calling the shots or does van Gaal have the same mindset as SAF? These are different times now and you have to spend big to buy world-class players. There’s no getting around it. I see Liverpool signed Balotelli today for 16 million so I guess their transfer busines is finished. Something is really wrong with the way we do business and the fans are going to protest if we don’t get our targets.

  30. we shud use him as a cleaner, david moyes left crap all over the place he needs 2 clean it up………

  31. Well, Herrera is now out injured and Rojo cannot play as of yet because he does not have a work permit.

  32. I must say he is one of the best at finding money for United. Sadly, he is rather clueless at spending them.

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