John Murtough was promoted by Ed Woodward to become Manchester United’s football director because David Beckham’s Inter Miami made an approach for him.
Murtough has been serving in the senior role since March 2021 when he was installed in the position.
At the time, former United midfielder Darren Fletcher was also named as technical director.
The Athletic reveals that United had been hunting for a football director for more than two years, dating as far back as when Jose Mourinho was in charge.
Several people were under consideration but to the surprise of many, the appointments were made from within.
It’s believed that “the trigger” was Inter Miami’s approach to snatch Murtough from the Red Devils.
The MLS outfit were using Mike Forde as a consultant on shaping the club via his Sportsology company and he recommended Murtough to get a permanent role at the club.
Forde and Murtough have been close friends since they met at Liverpool John Moores University. The former was Murtough’s best man at his wedding earlier this year.”
Laurie Whitwell says, “Murtough informed Woodward of his intentions to leave and replied, when asked, that the only way he would stay was by gaining the job that had been so long advertised, if never properly defined.”
“Woodward told colleagues that Joel Glazer had intervened to impress on him the need for Murtough’s promotion so he was not lost to Inter Miami. Woodward appreciated the difficulty of selling Murtough’s appointment to fans anticipating an established sporting executive, so combined the announcement with making Fletcher United’s first technical director.”
“Sources say Woodward felt it important for public perception to have somebody alongside Murtough with a rich United history, but knew he could not give the job to Butt due to their rift. Butt, having worked his way up after returning as a coach in 2012, was aggrieved to be overlooked and also because the brief outlined for Fletcher covered many of his responsibilities on youth development. Butt had a meeting with Woodward to express his thoughts and, despite attempts to persuade him otherwise, he handed in his notice.”
Whitwell explains that there is a belief that many of Murtough’s and Fletcher’s responsibilities overlap and United have never been forthcoming about how the two roles are different.
Fletcher is believed to primarily be the link between the youth teams and the senior set-up.
Former interim boss Ralf Rangnick who was appointed by Murtough struggled to wrap his head around United’s structure and when he expressed his concerns to his bosses, was left “isolated”.
The German resorted to publicly airing out his grievances and this led to his departure being set in motion earlier than was anticipated.
Rangnick famously explained that United needed “open-heart surgery” to fix their issues.