‘Manchester United DNA’ is a buzz phrase that has become synonymous with the club ever since they looked to ‘put smiles back on faces’ with the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a caretaker basis.
The feeling was that United had lost their way in past seasons as they looked for short-term fixes rather than a long-term solution to the turmoil which followed Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
United failed to rejuvenate the squad adequately in the Scot’s final years and would continue to pay the price in the seasons that followed as David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all tried, but failed, to bring the good times truly back to Old Trafford.
Nobody anticipated Solskjaer would still be in charge of United almost three years after that initial appointment, but he’s made a career out of defying the odds and continues to do so on a regular basis.
A key component of his success has been a reinvention of the United way with the nostalgic manager reinforcing the core principals of the club and what it truly means to wear the sacred shirt.
Another key appointment has been his former teammate Darren Fletcher as the club’s technical director, with the Scot tasked with developing the club’s philosophy going forward.
He and football director John Murtough form a key role behind the scene ‘knitting the club together across all the departments’ to ensure there is greater synergy between the different facets of the club.
“Darren Fletcher anchors everything that we do to Manchester United values and culture as a player who’s come through the ranks and won trophies for us,” Murtough told a Fan’s Forum of Fletcher’s role last month.
“Having him complement Ole and his staff is key.
“An example of that collaboration; we recently signed an under-15 player, Darren was involved, and [head of academy] Nick Cox and the recruitment department, and when the parents met us with the player, they said ‘we met with you guys and you feel like a family, you’re authentic in what you say, you’re honest. You backed up that record of having an academy player in the first team for over 4,000 games, and when we go around the building and we talk to people, there’s a culture here, there’s a history, there’s a feeling of authenticity and genuineness’.
“That’s something that we really want to make sure we keep hold of and that’s part of our plan going forward.
“We want to achieve sustained success by building on those foundations and having a proper strategy and people in place, key that the Manchester United culture rings through everything we do.”