Prior to the recent kit launch, there were rumours of United bringing back «Football Club» to the club badge. Last summer, Ed Woodward stated that such a differing was in the offing, but the change never materialised, at least not yet. However, the club badge has suffered the same fate as the club, which is developing a problem in Sir Matt Busby Way.
Look at the Manchester United board: The three executive co-chairmen are Avram and Joel Glazer and Ed Woodward. Four of the remaining eight director seats are filled by other members of the Glazer family. And despite the Glazer ownership itself, with the debt, interest et cetera closely attached, is problematic and abhorred, it's not the only major issue.
The Glazers are possessing exquisite business ability and Woodward is a top class accountant as well. Which means ability to sort out record-breaking deals with Chevrolet and Adidas, and they're the cream of the crop in terms of gaining revenue in United's benefit. However: Just as the badge lacks the «Football Club», which was removed in 1998, the board lacks personnel with a football background. There are economists all the way, but the only person with a name from solely football reasons in a leading seat at United currently is Louis van Gaal.
This means that the former Ajax-, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager is basically the only one around with sufficient understanding of footballistic matters. It's not hard to understand that this is a problem for one of the biggest football clubs on the globe. After all, football is what keeps it going and should be the number one priority. Not getting the knives, forks and spoons at Red Café sponsored by an obscure Asian brand.
I was pleased to see the Dutchman lash out towards the club's overly commercial focus in terms of the USA tour. A tight schedule over several time zones is hardly optimal for football/fitness reasons, but it obviously generates income both in long and short terms, which is a significant part of what the Glazers and Wooward literally take into account when figuring out United's summer plans.
In hindsight, David Moyes didn't stand a chance as a manager of this club. On the one hand, he had a squad of players with more silverware to their names than he will ever win, and on the other there were economists, economists and even more economists. Hopefully, Van Gaal's personality and superior CV will make it easier for the current manager to make the board make football the priority and the players understand the concept of winning every week.
Other clubs with different structures don't necessarily face the same challenges, as some have a Director of Football above the manager, which obviously is supposed to be somebody with top insight in terms of football knowledge. United don't have something similar, as the club structure was tailored for Sir Alex Ferguson, who did things no other manager ever will reproduce. This was possible because he grew into the role, as the role grew into him.
In other words, it's damaging for United to suffer from such a lack of football people around. Who is Van Gaal supposed to ask if he wants advice on how to develop the best scouting system on the planet? Joel Glazer? Ed Woodward?
I don't say that appointing a Director of Football will carry all the solutions on a plate, or that it's the only way that leads to Rome, because it's not. Nonetheless, Manchester United better return to being a football club, not step even closer to a place where only hollow brands are living.