United say failure to make Champions League won’t affect financial stategy
Vice-chairman Ed Woodward says club focused on strengthening the squad
David Moyes: Expected to strengthen squad during the summer.
The Manchester United executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, said he is not “concerned” that failure to qualify for the Champions League for a prolonged period would affect commercial and financial strategy.
David Moyes is also expected to strengthen the squad with a minimum of four players in the summer, more signings than the club have made in recent years. In a conference call with investors to discuss United’s quarterly results, Woodward also stressed the club’s digital strategy, citing how Juan Mata’s €40 million arrival last month increased the champions’ Twitter followers by 288,000 – “14-fold” – and on Facebook “four-fold”.
Woodward was bullish regarding how the prospect of not playing in the competition would affect United. When asked how long the club’s financial strategy could continue without Champions League football, Woodward said: “The first thing I would say is our starting point [for] long-term strategy is to focus on building a competitive squad that challenges for trophies. Part of the financial strength we have and we have presented in the results (financial) today demonstrates that we have the ability to do that. We have the ability to buy players, to churn players, to make sure we are competing at the top level, which is what we should be doing.
“Some of our competitors haven’t won the Premier League for a long time but still sell a huge number of shirts – out there globally, some just down the road from us. So that’s not something I’m sitting here concerned about. What I am focused on is that long-term strategy.” Regarding the prospect of Moyes’ sizable rebuilding in the close season, Woodward, who would not offer the potential spend, said: “It’s fair to say we are focused on strengthening the squad. We are looking at some players that perhaps we will sell this summer. We wouldn’t necessarily be looking to churn a huge number of players as that can have a destabilising effect, but we aren’t afraid of moving in the market in a way that perhaps we haven’t seen in recent years.”
Woodward also accepted that United are having a disappointing season, stating that “everyone from the team manager” is conscious of the club’s poor performance.
He said: “We continue to see meaningful opportunities to grow our commercial business and the popularity of football on TV is leading to continued broadcasting revenue growth. We are also very pleased to have added a world-class player in Juan Mata to our squad, who has already made a positive impact.”