Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and many other preeminent sociopolitical pundits have warned us about the calamity of corporate hegemony. Brilliant minds such as the aforementioned have spent their careers telling us about the disasters that will unfold when all that matters is profits, profits and more profits.
We didn’t really think we’d see it, at least not this explicitly, in the wins and losses of a sports team, but here we are. Manchester United, failing to beat the Premier League’s bottom side, a team that was already relegated and had nothing to play for, are now officially back into the Europa League next season.
Under Executive Vice President Ed Woodward, this has unfortunately become a regular occurrence.
The main problem lies with him, and the Glazer family ownership above him. The club has gone nowhere but down since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, and the last five years have essentially been nothing but a running on a treadmill/trapped in a hamster wheel- plenty of energy expended to go absolutely nowhere.
They keep changing the managers and splashing the cash out on players, see massively underwhelming results, and then rinse and repeat. Why does this vicious cycle keep spinning this way? How come even very accomplished, elite managers have come to United lately and failed?
How can such an astronomically expensive team not produce? Why are talented and accomplished players not reaching their potential at Old Trafford?
Watch and listen to NBC Sports’ Kyle Martino here below, he seems to have the best explanation that I’ve ever heard so far:
— White Gold (@Beewirks) May 5, 2019
He’s absolutely right about
1.) You have a finance guy making all the major decisions on everything else that has consequence on the club, but isn’t in his area of expertise.
2.) Ed Woodward is the corporate suit in the Premier League that everybody knows and that is a bad thing. CEOs in sports shouldn’t have such brand name recognition, and when they do it’s because everyone is angry that they are doing a bad job.
3.) Woodward is a brilliant marketer; he’s great with sponsorships and corporate partnerships.
Unfortunately, you need a football mind, and with all this talk of a Football Director to outline a recruitment and develop strategy (right now they have no transfer policy, except “just throw more money at the problem”), there is one extremely important aspect here that must be prioritized.
Ed Woodward needs to relinquish a lot of his power and responsibility, and it’s hard to believe that he actually will. If you’re going to have a Football Technical Director in place, whomever that may be, they will need real autonomy and authority.
This person would have to serve as a conduit between field manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Woodward/the Board of Directors. They can’t just be an appointed stooge for the guys in the c-suite.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets:Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.
Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, also contributes to Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.