When the time comes for Ed Woodward to move on from Manchester United, we’ll be in no doubts about his legacy.
Sure, United might have signed Paul Pogba and Juan Mata under his watch, among others, but that isn’t what we’ll remember him for.
Instead, we’ll look at how Woodward has set the wheels in motion for growing their commercial revenues, first in his role heading up commercial and media operations and more recently as the club’s chief executive.
Woodward’s role has moved more towards transfer affairs, with group managing director Richard Arnold the man whose name we now see on new deals.
However, for many, commercial expansion still means Ed Woodward.
Along with its 25-man playing squad, Manchester United has 25 global partners, and that’s before we get onto their separate roster of regional partners including Manda Fermentation and The Hong Kong Jockey Club.
We’ve taken a closer look at them all.
The club’s principal partner and front of shirt sponsor. We assume the deal was signed so they’d be able to negotiate a swap with Tottenham for Mauricio Pochettino by taking their Chevy to Daniel Levy.
United’s kit supplier puts them in fine company, with Adidas also fulfilling the role with clubs such as Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
However, the company is also the kit supplier for Djurgården, Dynamo Brest and FC Edmonton so who knows…
Another principal partner, Aon is said to provide a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. That’s a strange way of referring to Alexis Sánchez, Michael Carrick and Marcos Rojo.
Not the former Dortmund defender who played at centre-back in the Lars Ricken game, but rather a manufacturer of “innovative, high-quality kitchen and bath products”. Presumably they made an early model for Eric Cantona in 1995.
Before this partnership, the only 20th Century Fox we cared about was Montserrat international and Premier League icon Ruel.
United’s partnership with the film company did at least give us this brilliant bit of Wayne Rooney acting, though.
United’s official carrier, Aeroflot will be crucial for all those long flights the club will need to take for
European away games pre-season tours to the US and Far East.
We’re sure there’s a good reason for United to have an official tyre partner. Presumably the deal was there to complement José Mourinho’s role as the club’s official tired partner.
Canon’s partnership page promises “the best possible care” for United’s “world-class players and staff”. Presumably they’ll look after the likes of Scott McTominay too.
We’re just going to leave this here.
United announced their new spirits partner just before the transfer window slammed shut in August, which makes us think Woodward and co know exactly what the fans have come to expect from them.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 8, 2018
The club’s official music partner describes its partnership as “an exclusive backstage pass for fans to the club’s hidden heart”. Insert Ángel Di Maria joke here.
United’s logistics partner is known for transporting goods from A to B, something which United didn’t do a great deal of during the last two transfer windows. Perhaps they were just leaving it to the professionals.
The company behind FIFA 19 has been working with United as its official football video games partner. It even led to the creation of a digital shirt, which feels like a really fancy way of saying the team is better on paper than in real life.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 23, 2018
Manchester United have an official global lubricant partner. (Something something) greasing the wheels.
United’s official digital transformation partner prides itself on “a strong culture of invention and risk-taking”. Yes, risk-taking. Like starting a home-game against Young Boys with a midfield of Matić, Fellaini and Fred.
United have partnered with “one of the top ten coatings companies in the world”. They would have got one of the top four if Sir Alex Ferguson was still manager.
Apparently not James Wilson’s new nickname. Yes, he’s still technically a United player.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 15, 2019
The official coffee partner will presumably have been disappointed by the energy shown by United’s players before Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s appointment.
Of course a team managed by José Mourinho for more than two years would have an official mattress and pillow partner. These write themselves.
Apparently this is the name of United’s betting partner, rather than the sentence they don’t want to hear when the teams are announced for their league game against Liverpool.
We’re delighted to announce @MoPlay as our official betting partner.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 6, 2018
Apparently this is the name of United’s leisure partner, rather than the branding around the appointment of Solskjær as interim manager.
One of United’s most recent deals saw Remington arrive as an official electrical styling partner. There’s probably a winning in style joke here, but we can’t help but think such a deal goes against the message the club sent by selling the wonderfully-coiffed Daley Blind over the summer.
“In the end I scored two goals and we won the game, that’s a perfect day for us” – Xherdan Shaqiri, December 2018.
Oh, not that kind of Swiss quote? Our mistake.
At least United have kept the Ferguson tradition going by ensuring they have an official timekeeper and global watch partner. And people claim they don’t know their history.
An official denim partner, supporting the argument that Romelu Lukaku plays football like a man wearing jeans.
i can't stop thinking about lukaku playing in true religion jeans lmaaaaaaoooooo
— A West (@ayyy_west) August 27, 2018
The Argentinian managed to skip past three players
France demolished Moldova 4-1 last night.
Ander Herrera wants to stay – and that’s good news
England were having a lovely time last night.
This will get you thinking more than you expect.
Gerrard’s 38 seconds against Man Utd were great.
None of these have won a full cap yet,
One of football’s enigmas.
If Héctor Bellerín can get on it, so can these.
“Jadon was fearless on the pitch.”