20 hours agoWoodward’s suddenly talking: Why it’s good for Man Utd & fans

first_imgTagsTransfersOpinionAbout the authorChris BeattieShare the loveHave your say Woodward’s suddenly talking: Why it’s good for Man Utd & fansby Chris Beattie20 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveCOMMENT: The timing couldn’t have been worse. He’d set himself up for a right hammering. Mockery. Scorn. Take your pick. This decision from Ed Woodward to go public for the first time in his six years in charge at Manchester United was, ahem, courageous…But in the end fortune, inevitably, favoured the brave. That interview with the United We Stand fanzine. Just weeks after a lengthy and open address to shareholders. It was no PR job. If it had been, the publishing and roll out of it would not have happened over the past week. And thanks to a strong performance from the players against runaway leaders Liverpool on Sunday, there was little room for the cynics to pore over and twist Woodward’s words into another never before considered reason why United are in the state that it is.Of course a thumping at home – and to the club’s most bitter of rivals – could’ve led to a very different reaction. But it can be argued the backlash would not have been as bad as anything that flashed across Woodward’s mind.So the message to United’s vice-chairman exec should be: more of the same please. As mentioned, Woodward has said more publicly in the past month than the support have heard from him for the past six years. And the club, the fans and their relationship are better for it. After Woodward’s conference with United shareholders last month, this column encouraged him to speak more publicly. Our idea was a regular spot on the club’s in-house TV channel. But he went one better.Bypassing the media. Ducking their filter. Woodward went straight to the most valuable stakeholders of them all. And reading through the interview, it appears next to nothing was off limits.And the result is – or at least should be – a far happier supporter base and a less tense atmosphere around the club. Woodward did go into detail – deep detail – on various topics: the overhaul of the scouting team, the position of the Glazers, even the three-year scouting process of Daniel James. And fans should be examining everything carefully. Woodward was effectively giving you the blueprint of what United are now working from.Mistakes had been made. Problems had been allowed to grow, “…recruitment wasn’t at its best in recent years”. But a line’s now been drawn. The plan has been drawn up and put into action. The gist of it being, as this column’s sources have insisted since Christmas, United are going back to their roots. Their traditions.Discussing the prototype of today’s Manchester United signing, Woodward echoed the words of Dave McPherson, the former Hearts and Rangers captain, when discussing with this column the players of his era. It was about being “humble, but arrogant too”. In other words, United are rightly looking back to go forward.As Woodward said, “…we want players to come in who respect their teammates, the club, the history. They must understand that they are creating a legacy by coming to Manchester United. Nobody is bigger than the club.”There should be both a humbleness and an arrogance. Humble when you are on the team coach and you wear the club suit, you do up your top button and wear your tie, you represent the club in the right way. Then you sign autographs for the people who pay your wages.”Then, when you go into the dressing room, you put the red shirt on and you feel arrogant, self assured.”Essentially, Woodward was putting a bit more meat on the bones he offered shareholders – as it should be. And as much as the support can feel a little better about knowing the club’s plans; by being so open about their new approach Woodward also helps his manager in his work.Just as he did on that conference call, Woodward spelt out the reasons for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment and the board’s expectations. Which are fundamentally based around the long-term.”As Michael Carrick said in his book, you want to take the ball, you want the ball in tight spaces, you want a never-say-die spirit. Ole has brought a lot of the discipline back,” said Woodward, revealing he had actually read the recently released book of United’s assistant coach.“Whatever manager we have has to buy into that philosophy and Ole is a walking, talking version of that. Let’s let this play out with Ole in terms of the culture reboot.” Which effectively puts paid to all that talk about Max Allegri’s English lessons. The situation around Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham. Plus any old tenuous link between United and the likes of Thomas Tuchel, Julian Nagelsmann et al. The stories will be raised and floated. But they’ll also have a hollow ring to them. All thanks to Woodward’s words. Again, the club is in a better state thanks to the vice-chairman going public.This interview was a service to the support. Every United fan that reads it is better informed and has a more clear understanding of where the club wants to go. It may’ve been courageous, but it was needed.And no matter the timing or circumstances Woodward – for the good of Manchester United – needs to do more of it. last_img

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