Former Manchester United Chief Executive Ed Woodward’s argument that the club could be a success commercially without playing performance is ‘probably the comment he would regret most of all’ according to football finance expert Kieran Maguire. The 51-year-old has been proved wrong by the success of Manchester City on and off the field with new CEO Richard Arnold tipped to make major changes in the future.
Woodward was a divisive figure during his 10-year spell as the Red Devil’s CEO with the Englishman regularly baring the brunt of fan protests. His reign coincided with a decline in on-field performance, particularly after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, with the most successful club in Premier League history failing to claim the title since 2013.
However, in an infamous comment made during the investors’ call in May 2018 Woodward suggested the team’s struggles would have no impact on the club’s revenue, stating: “Playing performance doesn’t really have a meaningful impact on what we can do on the commercial side of the business.”
Now, financial expert Maguire has given his view on the former CEO’s belief suggesting it would be one of his biggest regrets after he was proved wrong by the Sky Blues. City are widely considered to be a smaller club than the Red Devils yet their commercial revenue now dwarves their rivals due to their on-field success.
Woodward finally left his position at the club in February this year with Richard Arnold taking over in his place. The new chief has been tipped to make big changes as he tries to help the club return to its glory days with a fresh approach to recruitment one of the key facets.
“With Ed Woodward moving on, I suspect Manchester United might now try to catch up with the other clubs,” Maguire explained. “There’s no doubt that they are a long way behind the remaining clubs in the big six when it comes to using moneyball data analytics, training and data science as a means of recruiting players. They’ve not historically used that approach and I suspect under Richard Arnold that may change.”