Old Trafford

Woodward: Winning trophies is always our aim

Tuesday 24 September 2019 19:00

Ed Woodward says the club has installed "the building blocks for success" by focusing on long-term strategy and continued investment on and off the pitch in "a desire to get Manchester United back to the top of English football."

Speaking to investors on a call to announce our quarterly earnings, the executive vice-chairman explained that many of the improvements have been made in areas away from the spotlight, for example at the Aon Training Complex and in the Academy and the recruitment department.

“Success means winning trophies; that target and that standard has never changed for Manchester United,” said Woodward.

“The progress we have made on the business side underpins the continued investment in the football side. Much of the progress made around that investment is behind the scenes and therefore isn’t immediately apparent to those on the outside looking in.
Ed Woodward, United's executive vice-chairman.
“For example, we’ve materially expanded our recruitment department in recent years to increase its efficiency and productivity. Many of the senior staff in these roles have been at the club for over 10 years. Recruitment recommendations and decisions are worked on by this department as well as the manager and his team.

“These investments, together with the commitment we have made to Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and his coaching staff in March have given us the building blocks for success. Whilst we are confident this investment will deliver results, it’s important that we are patient while Ole and his team build for the future. We will continue to focus on the long-term strategy – and won’t be influenced by short-term distractions.”

As to whether the club will recruit a Head or Director of Football, Woodward explained that while the summer recruitment process was successful, the opportunity to evolve the structure and roles on the football side is one the club is still exploring. 

“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 focuses purely on recruitment, an area that we have evolved in recent years.

“We feel the players that we have signed this summer demonstrate that this approach is the right one. As always with Manchester United, speculation around the summer transfer window was intense and the club was linked with hundreds of players, almost all without foundation. Despite this, our recruitment department’s robust process and early alignment on targets with the manager meant we were able to approach the window in a focused and disciplined way.

“Our new signings - Dan James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire - joined a strong squad and we executed contract renewals for a number of our key players, including Marcus Rashford, David De Gea and Victor Lindelof as well as Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw amongst others earlier in the season. 

“The sale and loaning of players this summer has also allowed the manager to involve more of our young players and provide a firm foundation and a culture ready for building the next trophy-winning squad.

“Returning to the roots of our club’s ethos of youth-led attacking football is the right way forward and everyone at the club - the Board, the manager, the squad and all of the staff – remains resolute in our desire to get Manchester United back to the top of English football. We will continue to make the necessary investments to make this happen across our first-team players, our Academy and our recruitment department.

“This long-term approach to building a squad is the right one. We are optimistic for the future.”

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