For a football club to be successful, it must be a well-oiled machine as it goes about its work. This means that all parts of the football club must function properly on its own, and must be flawless when these levels are integrated. If this can be achieved, success is soon to follow.
One term that gets thrown about often when talking about club models, is the Director of Football (DoF) position. The job description for this is simple, but is possibly the most vital, as a person occupying this role is expected to run matters at the club in a footballing aspect, providing seamless integration between the business at the top and the football on the pitch.
With this being said, we look at the situation surrounding Manchester United. Having been unimpressive this season and generally a level or two below the top sides since the retirement of Sir Alex, United, it seems, are looking to implement a football model similar to that of UEFA Champions league semi-finalists Ajax.
Ajax are renowned for their footballing model, both on the pitch and off it. Characteristic of this is their faith in youth and a management that understands football and what it means to Ajax, whilst keeping matters separate between football and business, with Marc Overmars doing a fantastic job as DoF.
Internet got hit with the rumors of Rio Ferdinand being a potential DoF candidate when reports broke out that Man United chief executive Ed Woodward held a meeting with the former United player regarding the position.
Rio is reported to be one of candidates on Manchester United’s list of potential DoFs, as the club looks to rejig things and set the record straight in a bid to bring back the glory days.
Drawing inspiration from the Ajax model, some United fans are happy at this move in general as it implies a step in the right direction for the club.
I'm in support of Rio Ferdinand becoming the Director of football @ManUtd. Look at Ajax, Barca, Bayern Munich. These clubs have their former players who know the club to run the show alongside the board. Bring in more ex-players into the back scene & get United standing again.
— EnyEnE | #EndSars (@iamEnyene) April 30, 2019
But the reaction to Ferdinand’s name being tossed about has brought mixed reactions from fans as well.
Sorry but United's structure is so far off Ajax that it just won't work. United need experience, United need somebody who knows how to implement and run things. Rio would be doomed from the first minute. Need a proper DoF who can push Woodward away to purely commercial decisions. https://t.co/opkPiTskaq
— United Peoples TV (@UnitedPeoplesTV) April 30, 2019
I agree experience counts for something but then, Monchi did a horrific job at Roma.
Everyone says “they are trying to emulate Ajax with Overmars… but Rio doesn’t have the experience”
Neither did Overmars. He was a shareholder at Go Ahead, then part time coach before DoF. https://t.co/53oIxskGdM
— . (@ScottTridge) April 30, 2019
Some fans are delighted, hoping that he would be ideal as he knows how the club works, after being a mainstay in United’s defense for more than a decade.
Others, however, cite that United need someone with experience in this field to handle the football while filtering out the commercial aspect.
Would Rio be a hit as DoF at United given the connect he has with the club and fans, or are United better off signing someone with experience to be assured success regardless of them not being “one of their own”?