My Dearest Ed,
We are in a precarious position as United fans and this January transfer window shows it.
- Håland up front? Wait, Raiola’s his agent? Naw. Sancho still available?
- Bruno’s coming, pause not. No, better yet, he’s going to Barcelona. HA! Kidding, he’s on his way now.
- We want Maddison. How about JLINGZ and £45m for Maddison? Have you seen JLINGZ’s social media game? It’s strong. And how about that clothing line?!
- The canteen is out of Taytos. Sell Ashley Young and use the funds to restock the shelves.
- Entire midfield is injured, let’s send Garner out on loan.
I am not implying that your position is as simple as FIFA’s Career Mode, but damnit, Ed! Come on!
I have a simple question for you:
An Over-Thinking Commercial Genius
You are a classic over-thinker. An over-thinker in a position where your specific expertise and abilities do not coincide with the intended overall objective of your role. It’s as if I took a medical school student and told them to create a bank. Better yet, it’s as if I asked an investment banker to facilitate the operations of one of the world’s largest soccer clubs.
The numbers speak for themselves, Ed. You are damn good at making money:
- Sponsorship revenue
- 2019: £173m
- 2018: £173m
- 2017: £171.5m
- Retail, Merchandising, Apparel & Product Licensing revenue
- 2019: £102.1m
- 2018: £102.8m
- 2017: £104m
- Broadcasting revenue
- 2019: £241.2m
- 2018: £204.2m
- 2017: £194.1m
- Matchday revenue
- 2019: £110.8m
- 2018: £109.8m
- 2017: £111.6m
We had 26 home matches during the 18/19 season, making up the £110.8m revenue. Care to wager how much that is per match? Around £4.26m per match!
You are smart, there’s not denying it and I’m sure you’re an expert negotiator in what you know about: commercial partnerships and sponsors. You also must think pretty highly of yourself knowing that you are the highest paid Director in the Premier League, in addition to the 539,146 Class A shares you hold in United, currently valued at roughly $10.29 million with United trading at $19.09/share. But we need you to grasp this simple yet important distinction: business is not the same as soccer / football / fútbol.
Business (Square). Fútbol (Circle).
Your intelligence does not correlate on the pitch. You can probably lock up a multi-million dollar sponsorship as quickly as I can finish a pint of Guinness, and your book of business speaks for itself. I mean, come on man, you somehow got Lego to partner with United where they can slap a $300 price tag on the Old Trafford set (leaky roof not included). What other possible Manchester United Lego sets can they make?
Ever since you took the reins of United’s commercial sponsors in ’07, our arsenal of global partners is impressive, including the likes of Remington, Chivas, Marriott Bonvoy, Kohler, Apollo Tyres, and of course, and Chevrolet. But when it’s all said and done, you get meat in the seats by putting a quality product on the pitch!
The fact remains that your inability to prioritize the product on the pitch over getting the Red Devil logo on every product known to man, has driven United supporters insane. You have this insane opportunity to manage the purse strings of a football club valued at $3.8 BILLION! Yet, you haggle over and balk at a €5 million valuation difference for a pretty good player in a position that is lacking in our current squad? What in the actual hell is going on?
You’re Just Not Good Enough
You may be the king of making “[insert company name] the official [insert company product] of Manchester United”, you are terrible creating a winning product. Let’s take a gander at some of your dealings over the past decade:
- Bebé: £7.92m (10/11)
- L. Shaw: £33.75m (14/15)
- M. Rojo: £18m (14/15)
- R. Falcao: £6.84m loan (14/15)
- C. Ronaldo: £84.60m (09/10)
- D. Drinkwater £810k (11/12)
- D. Fletcher: Free (14/15)
- M. Keane: £2.3m (14/15)
- Chicarito: £10.8m (15/16)
- J. Evans: £7.47m (15/16)
- T. Cleverly: Free (15/16)
Gone So Soon?
- W. Zaha: In £10.58m (12/13). Out £3.42m (14/15). – £7.16m
- M. Fellaini: In £29.16m (13/14). Out £6.62m (18/19). – £22.54m
- A. Herrera: In £32.4m (14/15). Out for free (19/20). – £32.4m
- Á. Di María: In £67.5m (14/15). Out £56.7m (15/16). – £10.8m
- M. Depay: In £30.6m (15/16). Out for £14.4m (16/17). – £16.2m
- M. Schneiderlin: In £31.5m (15/16). Out £ 20.7m (16/17). – £10.8m
- M. Darmian: In: £16.2m (15/16). Out £2.23m (19/20). – £13.97m
- H. Mkhitaryan In £37.8m (16/17). Out for Alexis Sanchez (17/18)
- R. Lukaku: In £76.23m (17/18). Out £58.5m (19/20). – £17.73m
On Second Thought, Come Back!
- Pogba: Out for free in 12/13. In £94.5m (16/17). – £94.5m
You have lost a total of £296.1 million on the ‘Gone So Soon?’ and ‘On Second Thought, Come Back!’ deals. I understand the principles of depreciation, but what in the hell were you thinking signing-off on a transfer fee of £29.16m for Fellaini, when he was available for £5m less a month earlier? Or £31.5m for Schneiderlin? Does Everton have some inconceivable dirt on you?
There is no point in mentioning the failed transfers you’ve overseen because I don’t need my reader (hi mom) downing an entire bottle of Chivas in one sitting (product placement. I’ll bill ya later). But let’s talk about how you can right your wrongs.
Come On…Do Something
We can all get a little big headed on occasion. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. For example, I have a hammer in my garage and love the idea of building a fenced wall under my porch. But I also know that I am garbage with woodworking, tools, and home projects that take over two hours.
I believe that you love the idea of managing every facet of United. But you should know that you are not a soccer / football / fútbol guru.
The difference between you and me is that when my wife tells me I can’t build a fence, I listen. Do you see what I’m getting at?
You have scouts, advisors, a manager (that knows the club oddly enough), assistant coaches, etc. You probably have analysts you took from JPMC that can run performance evaluations with detailed metrics on any player in the world. Use these people, Ed! Maybe OGS told you he needs five to six players during the transfer window? Get the names and start negotiating immediately. Did one of your analysts tell you that Bruno is worth £55-60m but one of the Glazers scoffed at the idea of an additional £5m? Push back and provide the supporting evidence, such as the £4.26 matchday revenue per match. Can you imagine if supporters, I don’t know, staged a walkout or boycotted going to a match at OT? What about two matches? It starts to add up there, Ed.
When it’s all said and done, you only have a brief moment in time to leave a legacy. I recommend you take a moment, pour yourself a glass of Casillero Del Diablo (product placement, I’ll bill ya later), and think about what you want your legacy to be during one of the many chapters in United’s history.
Stop solely thinking of just revenue and commercial sponsors and consider what Manchester United really is: a football club.