Rio Ferdinand Confirms Talks with Ed Woodward Over United Director Role



Manchester United’s search for their first ever Sporting Director has been a long one, and it doesn’t appear that we’ll reach a conclusion any time soon. Like United’s activity in the summer transfer window, it’s been almost all conversation, and very little action.

Club legends such as Darren Fletcher and Rio Ferdinand have been discussed as potential candidates to fill the newly created position, with the latter openly discussing the process to BBC RM Sport. A snippet and link to that interview is below:

“So, if I’m asked to play some sort of role at the football club, have that conversation, of course I would,” said Ferdinand, a BT Sport pundit who earned 81 caps and played in three World Cups with England.

“I’d have that sit and chat and then you’d flesh out what that role is and if there’s a possibility to do it or not, but again, as I said, I’m very happy on the sofa, in my seat, in the studio.”

Whomever does get the Sporting Director position, if/when it gets filled, must have a great relationship with Executive Vice President Ed Woodward, who seems to have almost absolute power at the club right now.

Ultimately, the success or failure of the position will hinge on the individual’s ability to outline and maintain a true footballer talent acquisition and development strategy independent of Woodward, a brilliant businessman who is anything but a football guy. (Just ask Louis van Gaal)

All the while keeping the all-powerful former investment banker happy with what he’s doing.


Rio Ferdinand says he has a great relationship with the EVP.

“I’ve always spoken to Ed since I left, anyway,” Ferdinand continued.

“I had that type of relationship with him. I’ve not seen him at a game so all the chats I’ve had with him have been on the phone or I go and see him when I’m in London. I’m not the type to dilly-dally around. I’ve seen the stuff in the paper. ‘What’s that role about?’ I’ve asked that question, so yeah, I have spoken to him.”

“I’m very honest and Ed’s open and honest with me. Manchester United and the powers that be will decide as and when they are going to put someone into that role.”

Ferdinand concluded that he will be content either way, whether or not the club decide to go with in the Technical Director role.

“If I am the person on that list and the person they are going to talk to, then that time will come. It’s nice to be on a list in such a responsible role at such a prestigious club,” the 40-year-old former central defender added.


“If the call comes I will say: ‘thank you very much for that.’ But if that call doesn’t come, I’ll not lose sleep over it.”

Ferdinand certainly has nice, lucrative cushy gig right now, so you can understand where he’s coming from. Whomever it is that fills this position, it should definitely be someone who knows the United club culture and history inside and out.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, 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 and Chicago, also contributes to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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