Established in 1878, Manchester United has risen to be one of the best globally known sporting brands and thus one of the richest and most successful clubs in the world. It’s seventh best club in terms of all-time wins of European Cups and has most domestic title wins in England. They set apart from other clubs in terms of its management as well – Sir Alex Ferguson is the longest standing manager of any current club.
Most valuable football club in the world
Manchester United is valued at over two billion US dollars, and it’s a global brand that’s very recognized across all the continents.
The club has always been considered wealthy and in fact around the time the Old Trafford was built in early 20th century, the club had already earned the moniker “Moneybags United”. The club’s further rise in stature happened slowly over the decades, with its financial situation shifting from bad to good until they hit their first spells of real success under the management of Matt Busby, who was in charge of the club for 24 years. These days the club, as stated, is one of the richest in the world and definitely the biggest club in England.
Success built on managerial stability
Club has risen to its current stature under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson, who’s been in charge of the club since 1986, for now whopping 26 years, beating even Busby’s massive tenure. Fergie’s reign has seen some lows, but mostly it’s been filled with highs, and it doesn’t seem to be ending with the current edition of the team dominating the domestic competition. Winning Treble in 98/99 season stands maybe as the highest achievement that Fergie’s United has pulled off.
With the success United has had the financial means to attract the best players in the world over the years. The Theatre of Dreams has been the place to be for top footballers for decades, even though in recent years sides such as Barcelona and Real Madrid might have surpassed United in that sense. Given Fergie’s success, he has used money well on transfer market, but it is said that is there has been some big money blunders along with the coups, and that largely United’s success has been based off of Ferguson’s ability to get more out of players than what their skills accumulate to, rather than Scot’s transfer acumen.
Juan Sebastian Veron is always cited as Fergie’s biggest transfer mistake – the world-renowned Argentinian arrived with a massive £28 M price and ended up flopping pretty badly at United – however, United did recoup most of that money when they sold Veron couple of seasons later for £15 M. On the other end of spectrums there are big-money moves like Ruud van Nistelrooy (£19 M), Rio Ferdinand (£27.5 M), Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.2 M) and Wayne Rooney (£27 M) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s eventual sale price alone covers all of these players, and rest of them became legends, along with some bargain buys, for example Edwin van der Sar, who cost mere 2 million pounds, so in the end you can’t say that Fergie has done poorly at all in the transfer market.
Under Glazer ownership
When Malcolm Glazer purchased the club in 2005 there was some unrest among the fans and in fact some of them went along and established FC United of Manchester to voice their opposition of the takeover. Glazer ownership has seen the club being a bit more limited in it’s transfer spend, given the takeover submerged club into heavy debts, which was the main reason for fans opposing it. Since the takeover, the ticket prices have increased by 42 %.
But one certainly can’t say that United has been shy in the transfer market, with last summer’s spend alone at £48 M (net £36 M). Even with some fans having deserted the club Manchester United is simply too powerful of a global brand to be shaken and seems to have well-ingrained it’s status as a footballing superpower.
As long as Sir Alex Ferguson is in charge, there is no chance the club with suffer a collapse of any kind, and even after age finally catches up with Fergie, there will be no shortage of very qualified applicants to take over as Manchester United manager. But will we ever see another managerial reign spanning four decades, like Ferguson’s has? Time will tell, but under the current climate, it seems very unlikely.