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Is it time Manchester United appointed a Director of Football?

In recent years Manchester United’s chief executive Ed Woodward has been exclusively responsible for completing any transfers requested by David Moyes and Louis van Gaal. This has led to the club and Woodward himself receiving criticism for falling behind in the football world by failing to appoint a director of football to take responsibility for any transfer dealings completed by Manchester United. In his first season as chief executive Woodward completed just one summer transfer: the £27.5 million deal for Marouane Fellaini, which was £4 million more than his release clause just one month earlier. That summer he is rumoured to have missed out on signing the likes of Cesc FabregasGareth Bale andThiago Alcantara, which led some to question his ability in the role.

Many clubs across Europe and England have now opted to appoint a director of football alongside a chief executive. The director of football would be in charge of most of the footballing aspects away from the pitch, such as transfer dealings and assisting and advising the manager whilst planning for the future of the club. The manager of the team would still be in charge of team selection, tactics, training, so basically everything that has an input on what we see on the pitch every week, whilst the director of football would be a go-between for the manager and the board. This would allow the manager to focus entirely on the team performance and upcoming fixtures. The director of football would then be able to relay any information back between the board and manager, about what each feel is best for the club.

The director of football is usually in control of most age groups at the club, from the academy up to the first team, this allows consistency as players progress through the youth ranks until they become seniors for the first team. This can be due to the director of football wanting the team to play a certain style of football, therefore appointing coaches who follow that philosophy so it can be drilled in the players from a young age. An example of this is prominent at Barcelona, where the youth players have developed whilst playing a “tiki-taka” style throughout their time at La Masia. A style of play which led them to great success in recent years.

However this began a lot earlier as Johan Cruyff first suggested the construction of La Masia whilst he was a player at Barcelona in 1979, Cruyff later returned to Barcelona in 1988 as manager and reaped some initial rewards from La Masia after introducing Pep Guardiola into the first team. Guardiola had been educated in the “tiki-taka” style of play ever since he joined the Barcelona academy in 1984, so when he became manager of the first team in 2008 it was no surprise to see him adopt this style of play and perfect it, winning 14 trophies in just four years as manager, including three league titles and two Champions League trophies.

The director of football is usually placed in charge of the transfer policy of a club, this would not mean that the manager has no say in incoming and outgoing transfers, but instead he would leave the recruitment side of transfers to the director of football. The manager would be able to give his list of for example top five players he wants to sign for each position and then the director of football would decide how much each player would be worth and how attainable they are depending on whether they fit the philosophy of the club. As a result the manager would not be left with a group of players who he did not want to be signed but rather a squad who fit the profile of the club and were chosen by the manager.

The director of football would not replace the role of the chief executive either as the director of football would report back to Ed Woodward, whilst allowing him to focus on the more commercial side of the club, such as sponsorship deals like “Nissin Food Group”- the clubs official global noodle partner, and the Adidas kit manufacturing deal worth £750 million. This would also allow Woodward not to be forced out of his comfort zone as he could be responsible for the financial side of the club through commercial and media income, rather than being forced into paying £59.7 million for Angel Di Maria, and making a loss of over £15 million on him just 12 months later, a move which a director of football could have blocked and saw the risk in, rather than the inexperienced Ed Woodward.

Overall a director of football would add actual footballing experience to the board and would help the manager, whilst adding a consistent identity to the club through transfer dealings and through the structure of the academy. The director of football would  be able to simplify the footballing side of the club and set realistic targets to the board based on the current state of the club. At Manchester united the director of football would have to focus on the academy yet still be able to attract superstar names to Old Trafford. A role that could be perfect for Louis Van Gaal when he steps down as manager in 18 months time.

source: http://mufclatest.com/is-it-time-manchester-united-appointed-a-director-of-football/

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It's time for this old chestnut again. Ed's done well with the deals, I wish maybe he'd hold out for more when selling, but by and large, he's wrapped up the requested targets. Di Maria is unfair to level at him, we got the third best player in the world, yeah we paid through the nose, but quality isn't cheap. There's a risk with any transfer that a player won't settle - be that a league 2 player on a free, or a world record international. I guarantee there would have been a queue of clubs behind us to get Angel di Maria last summer.

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It's time for this old chestnut again. Ed's done well with the deals, I wish maybe he'd hold out for more when selling, but by and large, he's wrapped up the requested targets. Di Maria is unfair to level at him, we got the third best player in the world, yeah we paid through the nose, but quality isn't cheap. There's a risk with any transfer that a player won't settle - be that a league 2 player on a free, or a world record international. I guarantee there would have been a queue of clubs behind us to get Angel di Maria last summer.

Whilst I agree and think that this season's failure is more on Van Gaal than it is on Woodward I think we need a DOF to reestablish the continuity that we had in the Fergie years. Continuity breeds stability but as we've seen from the way the English game is heating up expecting that continuity from a manager is misguided and stupid at best because like it or not results determine the length of a manager's tenure. If we brought in a competent DoF he would be in control of all football matters, diluting the manager's influence and hence giving us a soft landing pad should a manager's reign implode like Van Gaal and Moyes did. It also means we would have a senior figure concentrating on the transfer issues which would ensure that our transfer spending is planned not the haphazard shit we've seen for almost half a decade. Woodward can then concentrate on what he does best - whoring out our brand for all it's woth.

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Supposedly we're targeting Atletico Madrids sporting director Andrea Berta to take over a similar role here i'm guessing alongside Jose, that's according to Di Marizo

Can't say I know much about him, but he's supposedly meant to be very good and  was behind some of thier shrewd signings in recent years

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I think we should certainly be considering a DoF. I said the same during Moyes' time when this topic came up.

Nobody can doubt that Ed Woodward is brilliant at his job as a money man, but football wise he doesn't look like he has a clue. Of course there are others around like Fergie and Sir Bobby who are there to offer advice, but it still looks like we don't really have a strategy football wise. On top of that, it looks fairly obvious we're now in a position where we're going to have had two short-term managers, so for the third time we are starting from scratch to an extent with no stability or continuity at all.

You can still have many of the same problems with a DoF I guess, You might pick a bad one, but at least we can have some continuity and we're spreading power out amongst people at the club. I think we're past the era where managers have complete control.

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I like the Director of Football role, and I think it is really needed in modern football. Having said that, Mourinho worked so hard to get rid of his director of football at Real Madrid. So if journalists are right and we are going to appoint a DoF, then they are wrong about Jose.

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I like the Director of Football role, and I think it is really needed in modern football. Having said that, Mourinho worked so hard to get rid of his director of football at Real Madrid. So if journalists are right and we are going to appoint a DoF, then they are wrong about Jose.

But what if those are the little little sacrifices he has agreed to land his dream job. I know Jose many not give in too much but on the other hand he's not in a great bargaining position at the moment though.

Also looking at from the other side, it would be hard for someone to accept the DoF role if Jose is the manager. 

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4 hours ago, venusplanet said:

Interesting read, UTD appointing a secretary from Spurs who will report to DOP...

 

https://www.101greatgoals.com/news/transfers/man-united-sign-tottenham-rebecca-britain/

 

any one can authenticate it or add on...?

 

 

I can add that Jose welcomed this "daughter of a whore" to United and that the role referred to is not the same as a Director of Football...

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/man-utd-director-of-football-14471751

Edited by gav81

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I think people need to realize that a Director of Football role can vary greatly from club to club. For some clubs, they're given more power than the manager over transfers and are essentially working for the club owner / president - more than the club specifically. I'd venture certainly that this is the case at Chelsea and Real Madrid. Understandably I can see why Managers get upset with this - being reduced essentially to a coach rather than a manager.

The way I see it working at United (and what I believe is the ideal way) is that the DOF works with the Manager - Jose tells the DOF what he wants (a player profile, or specific player) and the DOF then takes charge of making it happen, organizing scouting, handling negotiations etc. The final yes or no is then required from the Manager to ratify the transfer. This leaves Jose free to concentrate on his management of the playing staff, tactics and training.

A Director of Football should be, essentially there to help the manager - not overrule him or interfere with his job.

(According to the MEN article, this is something else)

Edited by MikeM

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1 minute ago, MikeM said:

I think people need to realize that a Director of Football role can vary greatly from club to club. For some clubs, they're given more power than the manager over transfers and are essentially working for the club owner / president - more than the club specifically. I'd venture certainly that this is the case at Chelsea and Real Madrid. Understandably I can see why Managers get upset with this - being reduced essentially to a coach rather than a manager.

The way I see it working at United (and what I believe is the ideal way) is that the DOF works with the Manager - Jose tells the DOF what he wants (a player profile, or specific player) and the DOF then takes charge of making it happen, organizing scouting, handling negotiations etc. The final yes or no is then required from the Manager to ratify the transfer. This leaves Jose free to concentrate on his management of the playing staff, tactics and training.

A Director of Football should be, essentially there to help the manager - not overrule him or interfere with his job.

Real Madrid don't have a director of football since Valdano was sacked many years ago.

The only team in Spain that doesn't.

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2 minutes ago, Txrt said:

Real Madrid don't have a director of football since Valdano was sacked many years ago.

The only team in Spain that doesn't.

I didn't know they'd booted him. I assumed they still had their "Sporting Director" as I believe they called the role.

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2 minutes ago, MikeM said:

I didn't know they'd booted him. I assumed they still had their "Sporting Director" as I believe they called the role.

Director Deportivo. Every team in Spain have one except for Madrid. They are very highly regarded here in Spain and are seen as key in every team. Monchi was the most famous person in all the Sevilla club, possibly. There is a lot of talk about them too. In Italy every team have them too.

I think it's a key figure personally, and I think every team should have one.

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34 minutes ago, MikeM said:

The way I see it working at United (and what I believe is the ideal way) is that the DOF works with the Manager - Jose tells the DOF what he wants (a player profile, or specific player) and the DOF then takes charge of making it happen, organizing scouting, handling negotiations etc. The final yes or no is then required from the Manager to ratify the transfer. This leaves Jose free to concentrate on his management of the playing staff, tactics and training.

A Director of Football should be, essentially there to help the manager - not overrule him or interfere with his job.

That's how I see it too.

What frightens me is the potential for a Director of Football to have too much power in sales/recruitment. That's when there can be a clash with the manager over players, wages and transfer fees, none of which are good for the team.

It's a problem Keane encountered at Ipswich where the Chief Exec sold players he wanted, bought players he didn't want and paid over the odds for others without seeking the manager's approval.

I wonder how much the Pogba and Sanchez deals were down to Mourinho and how much they were down to Woodward looking to market some 'superstar' names.

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11 hours ago, gav81 said:

That's how I see it too.

What frightens me is the potential for a Director of Football to have too much power in sales/recruitment. That's when there can be a clash with the manager over players, wages and transfer fees, none of which are good for the team.

It's a problem Keane encountered at Ipswich where the Chief Exec sold players he wanted, bought players he didn't want and paid over the odds for others without seeking the manager's approval.

I wonder how much the Pogba and Sanchez deals were down to Mourinho and how much they were down to Woodward looking to market some 'superstar' names.

None, the manager gives Ed the names of players he wants. Ed tries to sign him. This isn't Chelsea.

Also, United will not appoint Director of Football because we've been a club that tries to let the manager have complete control. I know it sounds like we need a director but we don't if we find the right manager. SAF controlled every aspect of this club, that's how United do things.

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28 minutes ago, St!mpy said:

None, the manager gives Ed the names of players he wants. Ed tries to sign him. This isn't Chelsea.

But who sets the valuations and wages? Or if the manager handed Woodward a midfield list of Pogba, Kante, Wijnaldum, Gundogan, who decides how much effort/money the club throw at the latter three over the much more marketable Pogba?

Ferguson had absolute control of all this under Gill. Based on comments where Mourinho has shifted responsibility for signings and contracts to Woodward, it doesn't seem quite the same as under Fergie.

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1 hour ago, St!mpy said:

I know it sounds like we need a director but we don't if we find the right manager. SAF controlled every aspect of this club, that's how United do things.

Exactly, as we've done so well these last years. 

So in case we make a mistake again, let's make the mistake x10 bigger leaving the manager with complete control over everything football related. So that if we fuck up, we fuck up massively.

The players that we have are highly specialised to play in a certain position and do their job, it should be like that all the way. Mourinho/Van Gaal/whoever comes has to be in charge of training and making the team play football, and the task of signing footballers of a certain profile should be delegated to someone else. 

Then we complain why we sign every player of Raiola and Mendes, but vote for allowing complete control to a man who's signing endless players from his agent friends for ridiculous fees. 

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36 minutes ago, peterswellman said:

Well duh. Nothing will ever be like that again.

I know duh. The manager's power has been diluted with Woodward handling much of the transfer and contract dealings. I was responding to St!mpy who believes the manager still has absolute control: "SAF controlled every aspect of this club, that's how United do things." I was pointing out it's not the same anymore.

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