Manchester United's New Contract Policy is All Hype and Hypocrisy

23 September 2010

Will Sir Alex Ferguson have a new contract policy for his players to deal with? I don't think so. (Credit Image: © Action Images/
Being the current owners of Manchester United can't be easy. For starters, most of your fans just don't like you. They protested like hell last year in a failed attempt to get you to sell the club. After a head scratching signing of Bebe this past summer, United then announced they did not sell the amount of season tickets they would have liked to. To add icing to the cake, on Tuesday, the Guardian announced Manchester United's new contract policy. Reading the story, there's only one thing I have to ask: could this be the biggest non story of the week?

While the policy looks clear on the surface, (all new player contracts will be done a year out instead of two years out), the story itself doesn't take five paragraphs to show that this isn't going to be a hardened rule. Being flexible with a policy of this nature could result in dividing the dressing room. With it out in the open already that the club is looking to lock Wayne Rooney into a long term deal that would take him past 2012, and other key names like Berbatov, Fletcher, Carrick, and Park Ji-Sung having contracts expiring in 2012, now isn't the time to be picking favorites to be doing contract negotiations with this.

Knowing historically that transfer fees diminish as the contract gets closer to expiring, along with players thinking they are worth much more than the club believe, says this has the propensity to backfire in the worst way possible. With agents knowing this policy, they will demand higher wages to keep the player at Old Trafford, while starting to work on backdoor deals for his player elsewhere.

While Manchester United is a desired destination, the tax rate in the country for highly paid people will start to make it a less desirable destination as these players can make more money elsewhere. With the media having no problem making public who's contracts are being worked on, players will not be happy knowing which guys are having their deals worked out earlier than the twelve month threshold. Those type of small divisions could potentially grow into gaping cracks in a hurry. Also, if players won't sign a new deal twelve months out, the club won't make much money on potential transfer fees.

However, where the hypocrisy in all of this comes into play is that we're already less than 2 years out of these contracts expiring. While Wayne Rooney's contract was already being discussed, no one knows if other contracts have been discussed already. Also, new contracts are generally worked out 12-18 months out in the first place. That way the club has some wiggle room if they don't want to sign to ship them out.

In truth, this new policy is all hype and no substance. What they basically are saying is 'most deals will now be done 12 months out, the rest will be done as per the old status quo'. For a club like Manchester Untied, I also can't see how this is much of a big deal in the first place. They know what players will stay, what players they will ship out, and which ones they have tagged for the future. In the end, it's a policy that they would have been better off keeping to themselves.


toddmintz September 23, 2010 at 3:29 AM  

Many United players sign 2 year deals, Everybody rips Bebe signing. He is tall and can dribble, anyone watching him today vs Scunthorpe can see signs of great ability. They may have an idea who will leave but most on own merit,in 2 years, such as Scholes, Giggs. Neville may be done after this year. Season ticket base does not seem to mean that much when every game except maybe Carling Cup still sells out the 75 thousand.

I think the United System of doing things will not create any at least public outcry from its players. They are too professsional. However, it is worse for fans who buy into this stuff and does not help the anti Glazer feelings. Long as this bad karma does not translate to poor performance on the pitch it does not matter.

I am the biggest United fan you can find, but an honest one. Right now it is 2nd place team at best in EPL and no better. I have said for over 1 year, to me Arsenal in 1-2 years will challenge Chelsea ahead of Manchester United. I expect Arsenal to win couple of EPL titles over the next 5 years. The young talent is in the system and the cohesiveness and maturity is better, long as Fabregas stays and a new Goalie is found.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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