Manchester United have named John Murtough as the club’s new football director, as well as appointing former player Darren Fletcher as technical director in a structural re-shuffle.
United have long toyed with the idea of some of kind of director of football or technical director to oversee the club’s long-term football and strategy.
While they have previously been linked with recruitment-oriented club officials and transfer specialists like Monchi, Fabio Paratici or Luis Campos, United have instead opted to look internally with a focus on development, with both Murtough and Fletcher already employed by the club.
Murtough initially joined United in 2014 and was previously given the title of ‘head of football development’, while Fletcher returned to Old Trafford in a coaching capacity last year and was promoted to the first-team staff in January.
The club explains that Murtough will have ‘overall leadership and responsibility for operations and strategy across all football functions, reinforcing the strong foundations already in place.’
The new title of ‘football director’ is more a continuation of his previous role than a sudden shift and will see him carry on the work he has already done in terms of creating structures and processes that will deliver success on the pitch, including an overhaul of the academy and recruitment.
Fletcher will work closely with Murtough, providing technical input, with his primary focus on a long-term approach to player and squad development and maintaining the important link between the academy and the first-team.
As part of the reshuffle, Matt Judge has been given a new title as director of football negotiations and will report to Murtough.
“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,” executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward told ManUtd.com of the announcement.
“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.”