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West Ham director explains Manchester United’s dressing room “poison” under Glazer ownership



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West Ham director Jack Sullivan has explained how to deal with the ‘poison’ in dressing rooms, which has impacted Manchester United often whilst under the Glazer ownership.

Sullivan, at just 24 years of age, is a director at West Ham. His father, David, is chairman and the largest single shareholder at the East London club.

Jack has learnt much in his time at West Ham and played an important role when appointed as managing director of the Women’s team in 2017. He was in the role for four years before resigning his directorship on 26 May 2021.

There are often stories of unrest within Premier League dressing rooms, and concerns are often based on whether the unhappy players will affect the rest of the squad.

At Old Trafford, United squads have previously been accused of ‘downing tools’ under managers, particularly with Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

Sullivan explained two important factors in these situations that have simply been ignored by the Glazers at United.

Firstly, he stated that there is an importance to ensure that the wider squad has not only built into the plans of the manager but also how the overall club are approaching the on-field progression.

“We’ve seen players in the past have issues with what the manager wants to do, and then they try and speak to the other players in the changing room,” Sullivan explained whilst speaking on the How To Run a Football Club podcast.

“And that’s where you need to make sure that if the players have bought into the manager and also the club, that player trying to poison that dressing room, in inverted commas, doesn’t work.”

Whilst United have had somewhat stable projects under prior management, the lack of a connection with the top of the club seems to be able to allow the kind of hesitation which Sullivan described.

Just as importantly, the second point the West Ham director made was the ability for the ownership to know when they must make changes and to be able to implement those changes quickly.

“When they come with that, they just go ‘alright, that’s your problem and not our problem’, and that’s where I think it’s really important that there’s this sort of culture, but I’m also very quick to believe that if things need to change quickly, they can change quickly,” he added.

You could argue that when the dressing rooms were lost under Mourinho and Solskjær, the time had already passed when the Glazers needed to make a decision to let go of the manager. Both times, they made the decision way too late, which only seemed to create additional issues.

With Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS now in charge of the sporting department at United, it seems likely that many things will change at the club. The above-mentioned issues will hopefully be among them.