I am a sports fan and typically start my day at the back of a newspaper not the front. I am a West Ham fan and experience lots of frustrations around inconsistent performances and poor refereeing but I also know who we are and what we expect of our season. The fans love players who wear the badge with pride and work their socks off. Mark Noble step forward.
Last week I read with some amusement this article on how the "Mighty Reds" had failed to secure both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp (non football fans - these two manage the two teams vying for the Premier League Title). The underlying premise of the article is that Man U don't know who they are, what they stand for and can't articulate their employer brand and as a consequence have failed to secure the best talent.
This plays so well into the highly competitive talent market in the UK today. The best people have choices and loads of organisations can tap them up but then they engage and do their research and ultimately have to choose to join or not join. When the Employer Brand is either unclear or not the right fit they will walk away as Klopp and Pep did to Man U.
Man U will face some challenges this summer getting the right talent to join them although sadly money does appear to be the big factor for too many players but then that might also explain why some clubs with less money who have the right culture and behaviours attract the right players, use team spirit and values and then out perform their wage bill from that character.
United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward flew out to meet Klopp in Germany in 2014 and told him that Old Trafford was “like an adult version of Disneyland”. Once again, the sales pitch did not work. It failed because both Guardiola and Klopp were not only unconvinced but, frankly, were not given a clear idea of what United were, what they wanted and, above all, what their identity is. And that was not a combination likely to win either of them over.