Manchester United women manager Marc Skinner has insisted that the club does have a long-term strategy for the team and is actively planning for growth, development and a brighter future.
The club drew major criticism at the end of last season following the shock resignation of previous boss Casey Stoney amid frustrations over training facilities.
The search for a replacement took more than two months and in that time the players were believed to have approached the PFA for advice over concerns about the direction of the club.
Amid other problems such as dissatisfaction with accommodation allowance that has been addressed, it was reported during the summer that United players remained unhappy with the quality of training facilities provided for them at Carrington, particularly their training pitch.
There was hope that problems would be fixed and standards improved ahead of this season, but it appears that only some refurbishment was done and other work was delayed – only more recently has a planning application been submitted for widespread improvements all over Carrington.
It was incredibly damning when one source told The Athletic in July, “Take the badge away and very few players would be left at United.” That same report added that Tobin Heath and Christen Press were surprised by the facilities on offer, having been used to so much more in the United States, while the squad’s European players also expected better standards from the club.
United went from forming a women’s squad from scratch in 2018 to finishing two points away from qualifying for the Champions League place in 2021. But a widespread opinion is the club tried to run before it could walk with regard to the women’s operation.
Skinner appears to have hinted that the initial on-field success came so quickly that the club needed time to catch up in terms of backing it up with proper planning and infrastructure. But he now insists it is actively happening and is also better than he has ever seen before.
“A club like Manchester United, as any top world class establishment should do, have a plan in place and a time-frame for that plan,” the ex-Birmingham coach has told Sky Sports this week.
“There were some wonderful achievements in such a short time-frame. What the club – specifically John Murtough and Steve Deaville – have done from there is go into the heavy planning phase and [ask] what do we need to do now to support the growth of our women to make them a world class, high performing outfit?
“That’s the reason we came in, to take the development on. You would love a new facility to be built overnight, but you need planning permission and finances. All of these are now put in place for growth and we’re starting to see the plans of that.
“This is probably the first club I’ve been where there is a strategy that is over a longer period of time. It has the short-term, I’m talking about transfers as well, and it has ideas on its infrastructure and growth over the next two or three years, while still building for today and tomorrow.
“It just feels like it was maybe at a point where the success and exposure got so quick [but] we’ve now reacted in the best way, which is to put everything into growing our women’s team.”
Source : 90min