Manchester United Women are continuing to operate with a ‘business as usual’ attitude amid the club as a whole being made available for sale by the Glazer family.
The Glazers, who have owned United since a controversial leveraged buyout in 2005, have recently confirmed they are ready to welcome offers for either a partial or full takeover.
There is an expectation that United will therefore have new owners eventually, with a number of potential candidates already moving into position. But it is unlikely to be a speedy process as was seen with the summer takeover at Chelsea, which happened under very unique circumstances.
While the unknowns have the potential to create uncertainty, which could become unsettling the longer the process drags on, women’s team boss Marc Skinner is adamant that the day to day will carry on as normal for players and staff on the women’s side, despite possible shifts elsewhere.
“Business as usual, that’s the clear message,” Skinner said on Tuesday, speaking for the first time since the owners issued a statement on the future of the club.
“We are here to do the job of pushing this team as far as we can: the continue to look for recruitment, the continue to drive the standards,” he added.
Skinner also pointed to the recent recruitment of new head of women’s football Polly Bancroft, who has taken a hands on role at first-team level since joining from Brighton but is overall responsible for the development of the women’s operation at every level, as an indicator that the future is protected from any kind of uncertainty higher up the ladder.
“The experts will do their job to put this club in the best situation because that’s what it is there do,” Skinner also confidently declared.
Manchester United infamously ceased running a senior women’s team in 2005 shortly before the Glazer takeover was completed, with a women’s team not considered part of the ‘core business’.
The club continued to run youth schemes for girls up to the age of 16, insisting its aims were ‘best served by concentrating on youngsters’ and ‘resources better deployed at the level of school children rather than adults’. At the time, the FA called it a ‘blow’ to the women’s game.
United eventually did resurrect a senior women’s team in 2018, with a number of players who had previously been at the club as girls – like Ella Toone, Katie Zelem and Millie Turner – recruited. But enormous ground had been lost on leading WSL clubs Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.