We thought it would never happen but Manchester United today announced the appointment of a director of football, John Murtough.
Former player Darren Fletcher has also been appointed Technical Director.
The club released an official statement this morning saying ‘Manchester United is pleased to announce the promotion of John Murtough to Football Director and Darren Fletcher to Technical Director, two new roles that will further strengthen the club’s football operations.
‘John will have overall leadership and responsibility for operations and strategy across all football functions, reinforcing the strong foundations already in place. This appointment builds on the work John has already undertaken in recent years, working closely with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the rest of the football staff to create the structures, processes and culture to deliver sustained success on the pitch. This has included successful overhauls of the club’s Academy and recruitment department.
‘Darren will work closely with John to add technical input and direction into all football and performance areas. He will focus on a co-ordinated and long-term approach to player and squad development, helping maintain the integral link between the Academy and the first team, aligned with Manchester United’s values and culture.
‘As Football Director, John will work day-to-day with Ole to align recruitment and other strategies and to ensure that the first team has the best-in-class operational support it needs to succeed.
‘Ole will continue his role in the recruitment process, supported by extensive scouting and data analytics functions that will continue to report to John. Matt Judge will also report to John, with a new title of Director of Football Negotiations.
The appointment of Murtough is from within. He has been at United in November 2013, having previously worked as a sports scientist with David Moyes at Everton.
Murtough has been United’s head of football development in 2016.
Ed Woodward, Manchester United Executive Vice-Chairman, said: “These are hugely important appointments that reinforce the progress we have been making as a club in recent years in our relentless pursuit of success.
On the one hand, it seems like a huge step forward for United to finally appoint a DoF and also appears to be a demotion for the palpably inept Matt Judge. However, some will be skeptical that it is an in-house appointment of someone with little experience in the role.