Background Of The Manchester United Physical Education Essay

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The Premier League is the most watched football league in the world and its at the first level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation where each club plays every other club twice, once at home and once away, getting three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss. The team with the highest point at the end of the season wins the league for that particular season. Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing 38 games each totalling 380 games in the season. The 20 clubs acts as shareholders with each team having one vote for issues like contracts and rule change. It is sponsored by Barclays Bank and therefore officially known as the Barclays Premier League.

Manchester United has been in the top flight on English football and will be our focus for this report. The club was formed as Newton Heath in 1878, joined the Football League in 1892, and has played in the top division of English football since 1938 with the exception of the 1974-75 seasons. Average attendances at the club have been higher than any other team in English football for all but six seasons since 1964-65.

Manchester United are the reigning English champions, having won the 2008-09 Premier League. The club is one of the most successful in the history of English football and has won 22 major honours since Alex Ferguson became manager in November 1986. In 1968, they became the first English club to win the European Cup.They won a second European Cup as part of a Treble in 1999, and a third in 2008, before finishing runner-up in 2009. The club holds the joint record for the most English league titles with 18 and also holds the record for the most FA Cup wins with 11.

Careful understanding of the case reveals that David Gill, the MUFC Ltd Chief Executives' most pressing concern now is the imminent retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, MUFC's most successful coach. The club hasn't found a replacement for him, and to seek his replacement Mr Gill is pondering the fundamental qualities that make a football manager successful in England and Europe.

Manchester United FC was recently acquired by the American magnate, Malcolm Glazer. For his strategic planning session for the club, he is interested in finding answers to the following questions:

What should Glazer's strategic priorities be for Manchester United? What targets should he establish for his management team?

What determines organizational capability in football (soccer)?

What can Glazer do to help Manchester United regain its position as England's best football team? Should Glazer retain Alex Ferguson as head coach/team manager?

Problem Definition/Structuring:

To effectively answer the questions listed above, it is important that we understand the club (Manchester United FC), the industry it operates in (EPL/UEFA), and the inter-relationships between variables, so that we can target variables to be improved in measurable ways.

In the cognitive map that was developed for this case (figure 1.0), we can identify Man U's fundamental objective as 'To be the best club in England'. This ambition is a huge holistic goal that is comprised of many other factors and goals, clustered with different levels of causality. For instance, in its simplest form, to be considered the best club in England, Man U has to win the premier league trophy and the FA cup at least. To do this, they would need to play good football, which in turn depends on the quality of the players and the coach. Now, these two depend on a variety of factors as shown by the detailed cognitive map.

We have also added a SWOT analysis to examine the state of the club to help Mr Glazer to determine his most pressing needs.

Industry Analysis/PESTEL:

Having looked at the different factors that determine if a club can become the best in its league, we move on to examine the place of the club in the wider football industry. With the use of a PESTEL analysis for a 5 year scenario, we analyze the macro variables affect the Man U. The analysis suggest that the over the time period under consideration economic (players transfer fees and salaries), regulatory (FA/UEFA) and increased competition from newly acquired clubs will be the main factors to watch. Figure 3.0 shows the detailed PESTEL picture.

Literature Review:

Manchester united is a service oriented organisation whose primary business is not to deliver the service of exciting football and win trophies to attract a huge fan base, which in turn re-enforces its success (see figure 4.0). The rules of soccer have foisted on the teams a standard to adhere to, in terms of number of players, rules, etc. Hence, firms seeking competitive advantage can only differentiate themselves on the basis of the quality of the resources they employ and how well they are able to organise them. This is evident from the fact that the most successful clubs in Europe tend to have the largest concentration of the best players and best coaches. However, while it is very possible for a club to have the best players with little success, it has also been shown that the best coaches have been able to produce success with little known players whom they have developed. In terms of the resource based view of strategic management, we will analyse the Man U case.

While the players do the actual playing on the field, the manager determines who play, where and when they play and what strategy they play to. In most cases the manager identifies and grooms these players, sets the standard of conduct for the team is the chief strategist. This is akin to the role of a CEO that gets the job done by sourcing and deploying key resources. In line with Edith Peronse, who observed that firms derive their advantages from market imperfections,


What should Glazer's strategic priorities be for Manchester United? What targets should he establish for his management team?

Focus 1: Convince Sir Alex Ferguson to remain at Old Trafford in the short to medium term, at least for the next two seasons.

Focus 2: Find a suitable successor to Sir Alex Ferguson. Though, continuity of Fergusons structure is important, it is best to lay more emphasis on the clout and performance of the coach, while getting him to commit to retain most of the previous structure and only change when necessary.

Focus 3: Derive ways of raising more revenue for the club. The club should find creative ways of exploiting the resources they have presently and also, sourcing for new sponsorship avenues.

He should establish the following targets for his team:

Identify a young and suitable replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson before the season ends. Someone who will commit to staying at the club for a long time, at least ten years.

Secure a 20% increase in revenue via new deals within the year.

Further exploit the opportunities in Asia

Grow the number of Man U card holders to 3 million

Appoint more franchisees and spin offs in asia.

Secure new global markets for the Man U brand.

Organise formal fan clubs in other continents; Australia, Africa and South America.

Source for and appoint new commercial partners on the new continents.

Win the English premier league, win the FA cup, reach the semi-finals of the UEFA champions league (at least).

What determines organizational capability in football (soccer)

The three key drivers of organisational capability in football are:

The quality/talent of the players.

The quality/talent of the coach/manager

The amount of money available to the club.

Players are known to follow the money, but on many instances the player is keen to play in very successful club, under a highly regarded coach. The coaches tend to go to the clubs with strong heritage and good players.

What can Glazer do to help Manchester United regain its position as England's best football team? Should Glazer retain Alex Ferguson as head coach/team manager?

Yes, Mr Glazer should retain Sir Alex Ferguson as head coach for at least two seasons. Also, he should develop a clear succession plan integrate the would-be successor into the structure on ground.

Secondly, Mr Glazer should allow the manager full control of the football aspects of the club, as this was how Ferguson was able to build his dynasty in the first place. He should concentrate primarily on the commercial aspects.

He should set clear and measurable objectives for the manager and equip him with the required resources.




Strong brand equity

Strong fan base

Weak cash position

Uncertainty of Ferguson's future

Weak coach succession planning structure



Alex Fergusons' exit

Intensified competition from other deep pocketed clubs for talent




Stability of ownership

Limited stadium capacity

Changes in interest rates

Inflated transfer/sign off fees

Intense competition for talented players


Increasingly restive fans

Increasing influence/bargaining power of superstar players


Increasing complaints of traffic congestion for match days


More rich owners taking over clubs


F A restriction on home talent

UEFA crackdown on breakeven

UEFA crackdown on expensive signings

Council restrictions on stadium expansion/construction