Sunday - Sep 24, 2017

The nearly men of English soccer feeling the financial effects

The nearly men of English soccer feeling the financial effects

This seasons’s European Champions League will be the first that Manchester United will not be taking a part in, a direct result of a period of painful transformation following the retirement of their iconic Scottish manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who has led the club to some of the finest achievements in their history over the course of more than a quarter of a century.

Ferguson’s retirement at the end of season 2012/2013 and what turned about to be the disastrous choice by his replacement, fellow Scotsman David Moyes is yet to be fully felt at the club, who are predicting a major dip in revenue for the 2014/2015 season.

Despite this gloomy picture, Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice chairman, in only his second season in charge of the club’s off field of fears, seems determined to calm the fears of the stockholders, with the U.S.-based Glazer family being fiery the largest, by reassuring that gains from the club’s buoyant commercial and broadcasting businesses, as well as a record-breaking sponsorship deal with sport outfitters Adidas, due to kick in next summer, will almost completely the loss of income from European Championship football this season.

Woodward, who took some stick last season by his indecisiveness in the transfer market, has been made well aware of the fact that United’s continued absence from the spotlight in the highest levels in the world of club soccer, in England and Europe, will inevitably lead to both the club’s supporters and their sponsors to begin to lose their patience, meaning that anything less than a little to top level European action next season will be totally unacceptable.

In order to achieve their target United have taken a serious plunge into the transfer market, through their new and highly experienced manager, Louis van Gaal who convinced Woodward to invest a total of £150 million ($225 million) to sign six new players, among them Argentinian Angel Di Maria formerly of Real Madrid and super striker Radamel Falcao, with the Colombian coming in on an expensive loan deal from Monaco.

After starting start, the new and improved Manchester United give a glimpse of what the fans had gotten used to during the Ferguson here, by putting on a tremendous show on Sunday, defeating London’s Queens Park Rangers by four goals to nil, which could have been considerably more.

After that impressive performance Woodward’s prediction that Manchester United were aiming for at least a third-place finish in the Premier League does not seem as unlikely as it did even a couple of weeks ago, although the current top four clubs in England, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and arch rivals Liverpool will be be sure to be putting up a tremendous struggle to prevent that from happening.

Photo credit: Ian Britton

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