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Omar Berrada disagrees with Ed Woodward’s comment on Man United’s commercial success



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Omar Berrada was announced as Manchester United’s new chief executive officer earlier this month and will take over at the end of the season.

He replaces the recently exited Richard Arnold, who took over from Ed Woodward in 2022. Woodward had a close relationship with the Glazer family and was disliked by many supporters of the club.

Berrada provides a stark contrast to what either of those two predecessors offered. Woodward and Arnold were not experts in football. Berrada has a great blend of sporting and commercial knowledge.

More important, however, is Berrada’s know-how of how the two should be working together, rather than Woodward’s more naive and separate idea when he was at United.

Ex-JPMorgan banker Woodward once told financial analysts that “playing performance doesn’t really have a meaningful impact on what we can do on the commercial side of the business”.

Instead, Berrada believes that commercial growth is directly related to the on-pitch success that a Football Club has.

“The commercial growth of the clubs is predicated or underpinned by success on the pitch,” Berrada told the Financial Times. “If you have a really good business strategy alongside it, then it just turbocharges the growth off the pitch.”

Of course, moving from Manchester City to United provides different challenges for Berrada. One, in particular, will come in the way in which the Old Trafford club approach their wage structure and transfers overall.

The Reds have often overpaid for players, both in terms of their wages and the fee paid to the selling club. Berrada has admitted that this type of approach puts a club in a ‘difficult’ position in negotiations.

“If you have a very solid rationale as to why you’re offering the fee, the salary and the commission, they might not agree with it, but they will accept it,” he continued.

“Once you start overpaying, then you lose that argument, and that puts you in a much more difficult position to say to the next one, ‘I can only offer you this.’”

Yet, it is clear that the new United CEO is a huge upgrade on what they had beforehand, and he will undoubtedly be the first of many changes under Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS.