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“I’ll never…” – Sir Dave Brailsford has perfect answer to Man United fans’ biggest question mark over INEOS chief



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Sir Dave Brailsford was a leading influence in British Cycling’s boom in the mid-2000s, but many have questioned how he will influence Manchester United with limited football experience.

Brailsford, 59, will be inducted on the board at Old Trafford once Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25 per cent stake in the club is ratified by Premier League authorities.

The pair have worked together at Ineos within cycling and at French club OGC Nice. Brailsford is expected to have a large role to play at United and was alongside the British billionaire when visiting Old Trafford and Carrington last week.

Brailsford has already started speaking to staff within the club and is likely starting to assess what needs to be changed.

However, despite there being many positive stories and reports on the INEOS chief, some have questioned whether his success will translate to Manchester United due to his supposed limited knowledge within the sport – after all, Reds’ supporters have become accustomed to Glazer ownership, who have admitted to being unaware of how the offside rule works before.

Yet, the key difference with Brailsford appears to be that he knows his boundaries and aims to delegate to the best possible people in key positions – not Ed Woodward or John Murtough, but top-of-the-range talent.

That’s why United have been linked to the likes of Paul Mitchell and Dan Ashworth, two sporting experts who have led extremely successful projects at the likes of Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton and Newcastle United.

According to The Athletic, Brailsford has admitted that he will “never be a domain expert in football” but that his network of coaches, through speaking at conferences, has grown and alongside his agency contacts within the game since being appointed INEOS director of sport in December 2021.

The experienced cycling general does not appear to be deluded that he can solely make the difference. United have been missing out on successful signings outside of the playing squad (and in it, too, to be fair) for many years now and proper delegation. Brailsford’s comment above proves that he has the self-awareness that any of the Glazers seem to lack.

Whilst the most exciting factor of Brailsford’s appointment has seemed to be the tagline ‘marginal gains’, and what he can do to improve certain aspects of the club, one source with knowledge of the Ineos chief and United’s situation believes he will be focusing on other aspects at Old Trafford foremost.

“There is a lot of talk about marginal gains but I think that will be a long way down his list,” the source told The Athletic. “There is a lot of work to be done before that.

“He will assess things. He will work out who is any good in there, and there will be an understanding of why departments are doing what they’re doing, if what they’re doing is of use, and if it’s cohesive.”