Manchester United fans were undoubtedly chuffed to hear that their club had appointed a new CEO as new part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe proceeds to build his new executive team over the weekend, but there’s already been a dampener on spirits after they dug up some old tweets.
Well, this is awkward.
Having poached the former chief operations officer (COO) directly from rivals Manchester City, Omar Berrada was never going to arrive at Old Trafford with a totally clean slate, but the news on Saturday, 20 January did feel like somewhat of a coup given his success down the road.
However, Man United supporters wouldn’t have been hoping to unearth a selection of unfavourable tweets about their beloved Reds from Berrada barely a day into the job which makes his appointment as CEO feel like less than a match made in heaven.
Yes, it might be over a decade old (as most of them are) but the 45-year-old took aim at the very greatest moment in the club’s history and it’s never going to rub fans the right way, is it?
On the other hand, giving him the benefit of the doubt, many people have agreed that Sir Alex Ferguson‘s side was far from their best during the game and that it was merely the nature of the late comeback that was so remarkable.
So, trying to be as objective as you can, perhaps you can brush this one off relatively easily.
The only problem is that this is by no means the only one.
Ok, far from the best look for a club’s new CEO but he was already at City during this time, joining as head of international business development before moving on to director of partnership sales; senior vice president group commercial director, then COO and finally a senior role in City Football Group.
He was hardly going to be singing United’s praises whilst employed by one of their closest and most historic rivals.
If you were willing to give him even more rope, you could also argue that what he said at the time was bang on: there’s almost no other era that defines the post-Ferguson decline at the club than Moyes’ tenure and we’re sure you’d find most fans would agree.
But it doesn’t stop there either…
Yes, while he might not strictly be a Chelsea fan per se, he certainly wasn’t a United fan back in the day and made that abundantly clear on social media. The reaction from most Reds is as you would expect; “Berrada we need to talk about those old tweets big chief” pretty much summed everything up.
While there are plenty of players, managers and staff in general that put their childhood allegiances aside to make it in the professional football business — even Ratcliffe himself has been reported as a Chelsea fan at heart — I guess it comes down to a matter of how many of these you’re willing to brush off.
At the end of the day, any modern-day football fan can be under no illusions that Berrada sees this as anything more than another job which he’s been offered enough money to take.
As his LinkedIn reads, he’s been “responsible for managing and optimising group football operations for almost 100 teams across 11 clubs on five continents.” United are quite literally just one in a dozen.
One thing that can be said is that he served as part of one of the most successful executive teams in world football over at the Etihad, having helped take care of the business side of things as they picked up trophy after trophy.
How Man United’s new CEO navigates the reaction not only to these tweets but the ongoing case against the Blues will factor hugely into how steady/unstable a start to life with the Red Devils — you only have to look at history to see how the likes of Ed Woodward and Richard Arnold fared.
Fans are also keeping a keen eye on the rest of the newly installed INEOS team, with one character in particular posing an interesting prospect for the future of the rebuild.
Man United striker Rasmus Højlund set to miss Manchester derby as muscle injury rules him out for ‘two to three weeks’
Man United have suffered a pretty big short-term blow as their in-form forward Rasmus Højlund has been diagnosed with a muscle injury which is set to see him out for “two to three weeks”, meaning he will likely miss the upcoming Manchester derby.
The Danish striker has been running red-hot of late, scoring seven in his last six league games for Man United and now sitting as the club’s top marksman with 13 goals and two assists across all competitions, but just as Erik ten Hag’s side look to have got going, they will now be without him for a spell.
Issuing an update on Friday, 23 February, United confirmed that a muscle injury is “expected to rule him out for two to three weeks”, meaning he will miss this weekend’s fixture against Fulham, the FA Cup fifth round against Nottingham Forest and most likely the Manchester derby.
The Red Devils are currently unbeaten in 2024 and on a run of six wins out of their last seven, with Højlund making the difference in many of them.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game at Old Trafford, ten Hag went on to explain: “It is a small injury. That is what happens and the risk [when you are] playing at high intensity and training.”
The Dutchman reiterated, “As I say it is not a big injury, but he has to wait for one, two, three weeks”, though Reds will nevertheless be gutted to see the 21-year-old sidelined after having now started finding the net and putting together such an impressive run of performances.
While he emphasised that it is not a “big injury”, the timing couldn’t be more frustrating for a team that looks to be finally gathering some momentum, not only in and around the European places already but right on the trail of those chasing down the Champions League spots.
Højlund’s injury only adds to the club’s ever-growing list of players on the physio’s bench, including Tyrell Malacia, Mason Mount, Lisandro Martinez and another huge setback in Luke Shaw’s long-term hamstring problems.
In contrast, Manchester City have been lofted by comebacks from both Erling Haaland, who is getting back on the scoresheet once again, and midfielder maestro Kevin De Bruyne as they look to step up the pressure on league leaders Liverpool.
The treble-winners were always going to be putting in a very strong title defence but the return of KDB has reminded football fans just exactly how good he is. The Belgian was left on the bench against Brentford due to “minor niggles” but you can fully expect him to be raring to go come derby day.
Stockport County create a new community mural with young street artists in Edgeley
Stockport County is creating a brand new mural with a group of young street artists from the local area and a little help from one of their squad members.
This past February half-term, the Greater Manchester football club enlisted the help of some schoolkids and aspiring artists, along with local creatives from around the area to create a brand new piece of artwork right in the heart of the community.
With some paint, plenty of spray cans and the expertise of Manc muralist and designer, Oskar With A K, and poet Ruth Awolola, a dozen local secondary school pupils helped write, design and paint the mural — taking inspiration directly from the club and the thriving fan culture in Stockport.
There is no chant more iconic and important to the Hatters than their famous ‘The Scarf My Father Worse’ song and that’s exactly what the local artists have decided to immortalise.
The painting process began on Friday, 16 February and, as you can see, they even managed to rope in County defender Ethan Pye came along to lend a hand with the mural, armed with a can of spray paint to help the young people bring their ideas to life.
Being developed by the Stockport County Community Trust in collaboration with North West organisations, GRIT Studios and The Writing Squad, ‘The Scarf My Father Wore’ project has received £14,800 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Popping in a prime location on the corner of Castle Street and Mercian Way — just metres away from the Edgeley Park stadium and right at the beginning of the local village high street — this vibrant work of art will be passed by thousands of commuters and pedestrians every day.
Being brought to life in brilliant blue and white in line with the club’s colour scheme and proudly printing the title of the famous chant on the wall along with stencils of the County crest, footballs and many other details, it sits pride of place in the Stockport suburb.
Much like the historic chant and the symbolic scarf itself, this brilliant piece of street art will be passed down and enjoyed by generations to come, as well as make sure the club continues to play a key role in local culture.
County’s Community Trust CEO Alison Warwood said: “This project shows how art and writing by young people can make a real difference to the local community, and I can’t wait to see the end result.”
John Macaulay from GRIT Studios added: “We’re thrilled to be involved in such a collaborative and community-spirited initiative. Our young artists will be helping to create a lasting landmark that will become a focal point in Edgeley for years to come.”
With the Hatters currently top of the League Two table and looking at yet another promotion season, there feels like no better time for fans to wear the club on their sleeve, their scarves around their necks and now up on the wall too.