Alex Ferguson had a different candidate in mind for a top role as part of Manchester United’s long-targeted restructure at the club.
It was announced two weeks ago that Man United had appointed John Murtough as the club’s inaugural Football Director while former midfielder Darren Fletcher had been given the role of Technical Director as part of the Red Devils’ overhaul of football operations.
United’s desire to appoint someone akin to a Director of Football had been a long time coming as part of a restructure and legendary former manager, Alex Ferguson, had made his opinion known.
According to a 2019 Sky Sports report, Ferguson recommended Steve Walsh to United for a consultancy role at the club.
Walsh, who was head of recruitment at Leicester City when they won the Premier League, caught Ferguson’s eye but United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was eager to involve a former player in the restructure.
The advice to hire Walsh, who has been credited with Leicester’s signings of N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy, fell on deaf ears as Woodward committed to going in a different reaction.
Walsh, who also spent two years as Director of Football at Everton, was overlooked for the position as Woodward focused on the appointments of Murtough and Fletcher for the newly-established positions at Old Trafford.
“These are hugely important appointments that reinforce the progress we have been making as a club in recent years in our relentless pursuit of success,” Woodward said.
“We have already made great strides forward in the way we run our football operations, and the benefits are visible in the resurgent pipeline of Academy talent reaching the first team and through our improved recruitment record.
“John has been integral to our progress in all these areas and his deep understanding of development ensures the club’s traditions of bringing young players through from Academy to first team will continue. This new position is a natural evolution that harnesses his leadership qualities and his years of experience in the game.
“Darren’s stellar achievements as a player and his own journey from Academy to Premier League and Champions League winner means he naturally commands respect and understands this vital part of the club’s DNA.
“In this new role, the first in our history, he will deliver technical advice across all aspects of the football department as well as contributing to the communication and delivery of our football philosophy across all areas of the club.
“I am delighted that John and Darren have accepted these roles and I look forward to the contribution they will make, together with Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and the rest of the staff, as we build toward future success.”