Football club Manchester United, owned by US entrepreneurs the Glazer family, sacked manager David Moyes this week, after a dismal season that left the team lying in seventh place in the league table.
The ‘chosen one’ – the hand-picked successor to Alex Ferguson – had a six-year contract worth £30m. But the team’s failure to qualify for the Champions League competition means he is only entitled to a year’s salary, cutting the bill to £5m.
Ryan Giggs, 38, has been appointed as interim player-manager. Italian football manager Carlos Ancelotti and Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal are favourites to take over in the longer term. Manchester United shares surged on the news.
What the commentators said
Moyes’ departure “is perhaps the worst moment in the nine-year tenure of the family whose stewardship has been resented by many fans” since their 2005 takeover, said Roger Blitz in the FT.
Manchester United owners are the focus of “continuing protests… at the amount of money taken out of the club by the Glazers to finance the takeover”.
While they will be able to weather the cost of missing out on Champions League football, “there have been some suggestions, denied by the club, that the season’s on-pitch travails have weakened its hand in kit supply negotiations”.
The decision was premature, said Daniel Finkelstein in The Times. “Any reasonable statistical analysis suggests that you need to look at results over four or more seasons in order to be confident that you are measuring quality than just witnessing the random ups and downs of luck.”
It’s far more likely that the teams’ woes could be down to the fact that “the costs associated with managing the Glazers’ debt have been £700m” at a time when Chelsea and Manchester City have put £1bn into their respective clubs.