• Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Shakeup at Man United as football director Murtough resigns

John Murtough

Manchester United‘s football director, John Murtough, has announced his departure at  at Old Trafford after over a decade of service. This move comes amidst the ongoing restructuring of sporting operations at Old Trafford led by INEOS.

With the investment from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the owner of INEOS and the subsequent appointments to key positions, it was widely anticipated that Murtough’s role might change or he would depart altogether. Now, it has been confirmed that Murtough has chosen to step aside, allowing the new setup to take shape.

Dan Ashworth, currently serving as sporting director for Newcastle United, is expected to assume Murtough’s responsibilities once his gardening leave concludes. Additionally, negotiations are underway to appoint Jason Wilcox, the director of football at Southampton, as the technical director. While United is hopeful that Wilcox will commence his duties soon, Ashworth’s transition may require more time.

Murtough’s tenure at Manchester United spanned over a decade, starting in 2013, following roles at the Premier League, Everton, and Fulham. Initially focusing on academy and scouting, he rose to the position of head of football development in 2016 and eventually became United’s first football director in 2021, overseeing men’s, women’s, and academy operations.

During his tenure, Murtough played a pivotal role in various aspects, including the recruitment of manager Erik ten Hag in 2022 and the squad building efforts. He leaves behind a team including Andy O’Boyle as deputy football director, David Harrison as director of football operations, and Matt Hargreaves as director of football negotiations, who will lead the club in the interim.

Criticism has often been directed towards Murtough for Manchester United’s transfer activities. However, his collaboration with the director of Man United academy Nick Cox in developing homegrown talent and advancements in the academy and women’s team are regarded as positive contributions.

As Murtough departs, INEOS director of sport Sir Dave Brailsford will provide executive oversight during this transitional period, ensuring continuity and stability within the club’s sporting operations.