Manchester United confirm appointment of Dan Ashworth as new sporting director

Happy with your first summer signing, Reds?

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 1st July 2024

After months of courting and contractual disputes, Manchester United have finally reached an agreement to sign Dan Ashworth from Newcastle as their new sporting director.

Despite being one of the first names identified by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and recently incumbent INEOS setup, it’s taken months for Man United to get a deal ironed out for highly-rated English sporting director Dan Ashworth, who made no secret of his desire to take the job.

Ashworth, 53, was placed on gardening leave by Newcastle United back in February when he made it clear he wanted the move following an official approach and initially demanded a compensation package of a reported £20 million to let him go, with the Tyneside club refusing to budge on the matter.

However, a resolution has finally been found and after the two clubs reached a mutually beneficial agreement – one which reportedly helped the Saudi-owned club stay in line with profit and sustainability rules (PSR) – the former director of elite development at the FA will start work effective immediately.

Ashworth will join recently appointed technical director Jason Wilcox, who joined from Southampton, and ex-Manchester City and CFG executive Omar Berrada, who is also set to officially start work later this month.


The three will operate under the stewardship of co-owner Ratcliffe and his right-hand man Sir Dave Brailsford, head of the INEOS Sports division and who alongside the likes of Ashworth will help bridge the gap between the footballing side of things and the executive board.

With Brailsford having been part of the British cycling revolution within Team GB and Team Sky cycling (now the INEOS Grenadiers), and Ashworth going from PE teacher to a footballing director at West Brom, Brighton and then Newcastle, there’s some established know-how to the appointments.


Ashworth was also a player himself once – representing Norwich City at youth level before joining non-league Eastbourne Town – and although he’ll be more involved with managing the overall structure, strategy and recruitment than anywhere near coaching or anything like that, there’s an understanding of the game at a core level.

Meanwhile, there is also talk of a coaching appointment that would certainly prove popular with the Old Trafford faithful.

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Both the club and Ashworth were so keen on getting a deal across the line that there was even talk of taking the dispute to court and Ratcliffe himself made a point of pressuring Newcastle, telling BBC Sport: “It doesn’t make sense for [him] to be sat around doing nothing for 18 months”.


Nevertheless, the two clubs have finally ended the stalemate and confirmed the appointment on Monday, 1 July in a joint statement. It reads as follows:

“Newcastle United and Manchester United have reached an agreement for the immediate release of Dan Ashworth from his contractual obligations at Newcastle United.

“The terms of this agreement remain confidential between the clubs. Newcastle United thanks Dan for his services and wishes him well for the future.” The question is, will his impact be as transformative when it comes to footballing infrastructure as he has been in the past?

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Featured Images — TNT Sports (via YouTube)/The Manc Group