Tribal Football

Ineos upset with Ten Hag talking out of school? Man Utd's manager has just done their job for 'em!

Ineos upset with Ten Hag talking out of school? Man Utd's manager has just done their job for 'em!
Ineos upset with Ten Hag talking out of school? Man Utd's manager has just done their job for 'em!
Ineos upset with Ten Hag talking out of school? Man Utd's manager has just done their job for 'em!Action Plus
COMMENT: They're unhappy. Upset. But it's a bit rich, isn't it? Manchester United's board being left unimpressed by Erik ten Hag openly discussing the recent summit in Ibiza...

We say the board, but it's really the Ineos part of the management team that feel put out. Apparently they're unhappy that Ten Hag simply confirmed everything that had appeared in the press last week.


After all, we still haven't had that bloody confirmation from the club. As we discussed in the previous column, it was actually the club's web team that basically made the announcement via the release of an interview Ten Hag had previously held discussing the planned preseason tour of the US. So if it wasn't Ten Hag, in his role as a Euros pundit with NOS, confirming he would be carrying on next term, then who...? 

Oh and by the way, the players still haven't had any official word from the club about their manager. Kobbie Mainoo being the first - via an England presser - to go public welcoming the decision for Ten Hag to carry on. Though like his clubmates, he's had to piece things together via the press and social media. And yet Ineos are upset with the manager for affirming what we've all learned via third parties? Just what is going on inside this football club?

Which is exactly what Ten Hag is thinking today. While the general consensus is that he will accept that offer from United of a new three-year contract extension, the Dutchman didn't sound so bullish while sitting in the NOS studio.

"We had a good talk and various topics were discussed and the conclusion was that we will continue with each other," Ten Hag stated, "but also the conclusion is that we are going to sit down to renew the contract.

"So we absolutely have to come to some sort of agreement."

Then asked by the host if the deal would be a simple "one, two, three" agreement, Ten Hag cast doubt: "No that's not one, two, three done yet, we still have to talk about that."

So it's not going to be so easy for Ineos. And for this column, they have it all to prove. As we've stated here in the past, it's very easy taking shots at the likes of Richard Arnold and John Murtough from afar. But when you're in the driver's seat yourself, the perspective is very different - something Jim Ratcliffe's team are quickly realising.

For the moment, they've received a pass from the press. But their early market manoeuvres have left a lot to be desired. Of course, we've had the failed £35m offer for Jarrad Branthwaite at Everton. We've watched United dither and ultimately miss out on Michael Olise as Bayern Munich stepped in to meet the £60m buyout clause in his Crystal Palace contract. And we're now seeing United um-and-ah as Kia Joorabchian places Josh Zirkee, the Bologna striker, in front of them. Kia even slashing his commission by half to get a deal  done. But the hesitation from United's side suggests this will be another one to fall through.

Harsh? Perhaps. But this wasn't in the script. Ineos were supposed to come in and right the wrongs of the previous decision makers. To make it all look easy. But from the shambles of the 'Ten Hag review', to these first weeks of the summer market, beyond the shield of goodwill (or is that more the anti-Glazer sentiment?) Ratcliffe enjoys, you do wonder if Ineos actually knows what they're doing.

Perhaps it was all innocent, but in that interview, Ten Hag also stated: "I think as in any organisation I think that is very wise that you evaluate and draw conclusions from there that's what Manchester United did.

"The leadership, the new leadership, who are in football for the first time have taken extensive time to evaluate things."

Of course Ineos are now just days away from five years in as Nice owners. But that experience doesn't appear to have prepared Ratcliffe and co for the demands of handling an institution the size of United. Again, this wasn't supposed to happen. But they've been slow out of the blocks. Their direct rivals are making key signings. And they continue to fail at the communications game. 

So to get all precious about Ten Hag simply confirming what they had leaked to the press, does Ineos no favours. There's far bigger issues needing to be solved than the manager actually doing their comms work for them.

And watch this space: among those issues could well be Ten Hag's contract. He knows who Ineos spoke to. He knows without the FA Cup, Ratcliffe would've happily pushed him aside. But he also knows Ineos are flailing. They're making the Dutchman look good.

The summer transfer window swung open on June 14. And for United's new management team, they still have it all to prove.