Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


Is John Murtough the man to make Manchester United great again?

As Manchester United appoint John Murtough as Football Director, Miguel Delaney helped us deciphe...


Is John Murtough the man to make Manchester United great again?

As Manchester United appoint John Murtough as Football Director, Miguel Delaney helped us decipher whether this is a Director of Football by any other name.

United have promoted Murtough from head of football development to a role that will see him have 'overall leadership' and 'responsibility' for operations and strategy across the club.

The search for such a figure has been ostensibly going on since the summer of 2018 under Jose Mourinho, but Delaney summed up the general air of skepticism around the appointment of Murtough.

Manchester United football director

"When that news came out today, someone in the game texted me saying 'It's curious that after a two and a half year search that the best in the world was actually already at the club,'" Delaney said.

"The significance of that is that it is no great change; it is the formalisation of a few roles, a few tweaks here and there rather than any great change in structure at the club.

"It is also an endorsement of the current model and business as usual, and how much stock they have placed in Solskjaer as well.

"Woodward very much believes that this is the right kind of model. I suppose results over time would bear that out."


When the news broke this morning, it came as a surprise to many Manchester United fans who have been looking for a Director of Football to aid the club with signings. Matt Judge's title at the club has changed to director of football negotiations, reporting to Murtough.

The target is to change United from a club that has become 'streaky' to consistent contenders, according to Delaney.

"Going by the last few years, I don't think anyone should be surprised that they went and won at the Etihad after a recent drop-off.

"They are the ultimate streaky team where they go on these incredible runs and it looks like everything is possible, only to be followed by one of these tedious drop-offs."


Delaney believes that United's current situation and the dangers of getting things wrong have wider ramifications for the game.

"It is like a kind of purgatory. Things are never going to get bad enough for them to make a change [...] but it is never going to be quite good enough to maximise a club's resources in the way they should.

"That is important for the future of the game because with the directions things are going, we could have a football world very soon [...] where Paris St-Germain and Manchester City are on another level to everyone else and can pay wages no-one else can.

"We are already seeing the effects on the big Spanish two. It is possible that Chelsea and Manchester United are the only two that can challenge them and make things interesting.

"As it stands, even though United have made progress, they don't seem to be as sophisticated a football structure as Manchester City."

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