[Music] Manchester United's need for a sporting director has been an issue since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 Ferguson's involvement in club life was so complete and his influence over the various departments was so profound that his departure was always likely to necessitate a structural redesign

and create areas of obvious weakness over the past seven years one of those issues has been recruitment well united remain an enormous ly wealthy Club capable of paying vast transfer fees and enormous wages their use of that advantage has been at best inefficient and at worst counterproductive the

lack of a sporting director has commonly been the diagnosis for why increasingly European football views the position as a necessity sitting between the board and the head coach the sporting director is not only tasked with providing ideological continuity but also overseeing and managing the various departments which comprise

any modern sporting operation analytics strength & Conditioning hiring and firing of technical staff and of course recruitment manchester united have not had that figure and they continue to operate without it since 2013 David Moyes Louie van hull Josee Mourinho and currently all Egon associa have all reported directly

to Edward wood the club's executive vice chairman who in turn answers to the Glazer family and different problems have presented at different times under Moyes Woodward an accountant by trade with a strictly financial background was deemed too involved in the transfer process not only at the point of

identification but also in the negotiations for specific players consequently United not only failed to sign available players who appeared on the market such as Thiago alcântara and Tony Krause but overpaid for the two players they were able to sign Moran Fellaini from Everton for 32 million pounds and

later in the season one matter from Chelsea for 45 million pounds Louie van hulls rain was arguably worse with far too much faith being placed in the Dutchman's judgment informed by high-profile disasters such as our held the Maria Radamel Falcao Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis depay was a general

recognition that van hulls vision for what a Manchester United player should be was different to the club's the result in spite of an FA Cup win was stale football and an imbalanced side under Mourinho the issues were different again big-name Shining's were made including Paul Pogba for then

world record fee on RIT McCotter Ian and Romelu Lukaku but his reign was characterized by disagreements over further additions and his growing irritation over the club's failure to strengthen the defence Marino's proposed options Toby alderweireld Jerome Boateng Gary Mena and Harry McGuire were all rejected but without it

being particularly clear by whom the Portuguese who never knowingly backs away from a fight was vicious in his criticism which spilled out in front of the press during the 2018 pre-season tour to America following a 4-1 defeat to Liverpool in Ann Arbor Michigan he gave a facetious commentary

on a summer which to that point had equipped him with just midfield of Fred and young fullback at Diego Della I want two more players he said I think I'll get one for that one I gave my club of five names of course Mourinho would not get his

two players United would fail to add to the squad and that contributed not only to Marino's worsening mood and the sides under performance but also among supporters created further concerns over the club's ability to behave as a footballing superpower should later in the season shortly before he was

sacked Mourinho publicly congratulated West Ham Scouts for the signing of center Hathi sturdy up after his united side had lost at London Stadium without question that was intended as a commentary on his own club's performance in that area now among these many difficulties one issue was consistent United

had no clear direction in the transfer market if there was a trend at all it was in their tendency to default towards well-known and famous players giving rise to the accusation that commercial potency was a greater priority for the club than technical coherence in recent years edy Woodward

has become antagonized by accusations that United are directed by non-sporting employees and was quoted by the Guardians Jamie Jackson in late 2019 as saying that there is a myth that we have non footballing people making footballing decisions and it's insulting to the brilliant people who work on the

football side in this club many of the senior staff on the football side of the club have been in their roles for over 10 years some of our scouts have worked with us for more than 25 now it's a frustration which is easy to rationalize because United have

made significant strides in recent years evidence of a more coherent strategy has even begun to emerge with the signing of younger players to complement a head coach willing to give chances to developing talent from the club's Academy in addition United have also made noticeable structural improvement in several

areas including to their scouting ranks in 2016 the club identified a need to modernize the department engaging a sporting head hunting company Nolan partners to help appoint a small army of new Scouts and dramatically increase their global coverage it led to the arrival of Hannah direct the former

IX scout to assist with Academy recruitment and for all intents and purposes it's a process which remains active to this day in the summer of 2019 former Manchester City spotter Romain Poirot was appointed exclusively to identify developing players in France and continued the department's exponential growth it remains

helmed by longtime chief scout at Jim Lawler and head of global recruitment to Marcel POW and supported by head of youth recruitment Derek Langley Steve brown head of scouting operations isn't of coordinating the network and processing the reports which are filed back to the club it is for

all intents and purposes a very broad operation with United employing nearly 60 individuals across the globe and there are also plans to revolutionize the dynamics of recruitment with United currently in the process of identifying and hiring a new analytics team in an attempt to reclaim some of the

ground loss to rival clubs including Liverpool who have been using a data assisted approach for some time united hope to have an eight-person unit in place before the 2021 season begins so the picture is relatively healthy particularly given the early success of playmaker Bruno Fernandez who is signed

from Sporting Club in January and looks to be a very astute acquisition but welcome as those changes are however the absence of a sporting director at the center of these disparate strands continues to provoke suspicion and cause confusion particularly as United publicly recognized the need for one as

far back as 2018 ultimately if wouldwould is right and no non-sporting personnel are responsible for footballing decisions then what exactly does the hierarchy look like at Old Trafford who is ultimately in charge of judging performance and to whom to the scouts and data scientists and coaches and physios

all report to well until this appointment is made and Manchester United conform fully to modern thinking those questions will remain unanswered more importantly no hermetic seal will exist between the club sporting operations and their commercial objectives leaving ed Woodward to continue to fight against the same old accusations

United have certainly evolved but at the cost of clarity and perhaps accountability you

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