Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Are Man Utd trying to make us take our eye off the ball?

Posted on 23 March 2018 by Shane Murphy

Manchester United have announced they are launching their first ever professional women’s team, with their home games to be played at Man Utd’s AON Training Complex.

The Salford based club insist they have applied to the FA for a licence to Join the WSL as early as next season, when the FA introduce the Women’s Super League replacing WSL1 and the Women’s Championship replacing WSL2, where United are attempting to join. The Football Association – which runs the women’s leagues in England – will not reveal whether the application has been successful until the end of May.

But is it a coincidence this launch from Britain’s biggest club has come at a time when the woman’s game is at an all time high? It’s just been announced the national side have their highest ever ranking from FIFA with 2nd and are now the highest ranked European side.

As a result of this success, the woman’s game has gained huge amounts of media attention and coverage with the successful campaign at the World Cup in Canada and the fact that Manchester City WFC are on the verge of qualifying for the semi-final of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

It’s important to note that United did have a former women’s team, but this was before it turned professional in 2011. Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis told BBC Radio 5 live: “In this day and age, it was a bit bizarre that Manchester United weren’t being progressive in forming a team.”

As we all know, the men’s team has come under some scrutiny recently with under-par performances in the FA Cup and Champions League. What a fantastic way to ease the pressure from the men’s team and deflect all things negative whilst going through a difficult period.

But are United just jumping on the bandwagon here and trying to cash in on what would potentially be a very healthy cash cow?

There is also the small matter of rivalry. Manchester City FC seem somewhat dominant with new manager Pep Guardiola and this will no doubt infuriate United’s chiefs. Additionally, with City WFC having won the WSL in 2016 and Women’s FA Cup in 2017 respectively, it would seem at the current time, and for the foreseeable future, Manchester is definitely blue.

 

Featured photo credit: Screenshot courtesy of YouTube.