This piece in The Guardian about Ed Woodward is pretty rum, to be honest. The idea that Woodward is some good guy is transparently not the case. The manner in which he leaked the sacking of David Moyes to the press pack was craven and incompetent, and Louis van Gaal holds a grudge for the way he was binned, too. Woodward has also stitched up the current manager with his incompetence - either transfer-based or contractual - and at the same time briefed about his own brilliance to the hack pack. It’s a sorry state of affairs, and the fact he is talked of in this way by a journalist shows just how poor the coverage of Manchester United is these days.
In pretty pathetic news, United fans are planning to fly an anti-Glazer and anti-Woodward banner over Turf Moor when the club visit Burnley. Of course, the sentiment against them both is entirely justified, but there are probably only two kinds of action that will make a dent in their confidence. One, financial, and two, physical. As the latter is illegal and is no way the right thing to do, it comes back to a boycott. Looking at Old Trafford, it seems as if there are very few people willing to go along with that.
There’s some very thrilling news here, though. Manchester United’s boss Jose Mourinho might be on his way out, but at least he won’t have to sort out any removal van, because he still lives at The Lowry, his sordid little grief tavern. Yesterday, for a change, it rained in Manchester, and the Daily Mail have exclusive photos (I don’t know if they are exclusive) of Mourinho standing in a rain, but crucially, under an umbrella.
Manchester United’s stock is at an all time high. That’s partly because the American stock market is in the throws of a fairly zesty bull market which, by some measurements, is about a decade old, but it’s also because they keep earning a flipload of money, with little sign of that abating. A few fairly mainstream fund managers have clocked sports teams, and United in particular, for their worth of late, and it will do little to persuade the Glazers that they should sell up, or that Woodward is an incompetent in many respects.
ESPN ask what would happen if Mauricio Pochettino had joined United instead of Mourinho in 2016. Pochettino is an excellent manager so far, who might have his toughest season ahead of him. You would imagine if he is frustrated again in the January transfer window then he would entertain the idea of leaving Spurs to go somewhere else. That he operates well on a budget is a double-edged sword, because it would only encourage more daft transfer nobbing about from Woodward. You might be seeing a subtext in what is the problem at United these days.
Here’s a profile of Paul Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola. Raiola is disliked by many fans and managers because it is his job to protect the long term financial interests of his clients, and to do so, he makes sure that his clients earn the most they can over the course of what is a short and precarious career. He is excellent at that job and there is little reason to dislike him, unless you think that modern football deserves your respect. It absolutely does not, and there is little to be gained from believing otherwise, unless you are willing to step away from it when it becomes intolerable. Yet people still attend games, and still shower the clubs with money, and indeed, websites continue to thrive around it.