Ed Woodward certainly won’t need reminding of Manchester United’s remarkable comeback against Juventus – or indeed what happened after that 2-1 win in Turin.
Few moments during his time as United’s executive vice-chairman will beat the exchange with Juventus counterpart Andrea Agnelli in the directors’ box at the end of the game and making his way down to the victorious away changing room.
It was a world away from Piraeus ‘14 when United looked as though they were about to exit the Champions League after losing 2-0 to Olympiacos. For arguably the first time in Woodward’s tenure, they have now beaten a genuine European giant on the big stage.
Woodward is not one for public statements but you can bet he will talk about that night Turin when he speaks to investors on the New York Stock Exchange next week.
The overall picture is a lot healthier than his last quarterly conference call in September when United were back in 10th and about to suffer demoralising defeats to Derby County and West Ham in the space of five turbulent days.
Winning a major trophy already looked a tall order so fans would have expected for Woodward to do what he does best. Talk up commercial opportunities.
Thankfully, United’s executive vice-chairman did not resort to another take on that ‘playing performance does not really have an impact’ comment and clearly a conscious decision has been made behind the scenes since that statement report the MEN.
Speaking about on the field priorities as well as commercial developments.
“Our board, our investors and everyone at the club are aligned with the fans on what we need to do on the pitch – and that is to win trophies” he said in September.
“Off the pitch, it’s clearly important we continue to drive the business forward, giving us the financial muscle to compete in a highly competitive transfer market.
“This allows us to continue to blend world-class purchased talent with our continued development of top academy graduates.”
Woodward was not alone at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night and director Richard Arnold was also there to watch United’s remarkable comeback in Turin.
Arnold had been speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon only 24 hours previously and rather than boast about the United app, he too has changed his tune of late.
“The end goal is creating a virtuous circle, where more engagement with our fans equals greater opportunities for out partners,” he said,
“And that in turn equals greater revenue and more opportunities for academy investment and world-class signings to deliver the performances and success United fans expect and deserve.”
That is what United fans want to hear but it begs the question: will the board actually bankroll world-class signings in 2019?
Has United’s recent recovery proved that they actually had enough quality or will they go out and build on recent results in the transfer market to secure that precious top four spot?
In the summer, United bought three players – Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant – and the trio have made just nine appearances to date which tells its own story.
January is looming and while United have won four of their last five games, Mourinho would surely not be against strengthening.
United and Mourinho do not traditionally like doing business mid-season – unless the right opportunity presents itself as was the case. Alexis Sanchez fit that description but has hardly been a roaring success in the last 10 months.
But you suspect Mourinho still feels his squad could be further bolstered by the two additional players he wanted in the summer – a centre-back and a forward.
Nest week’s conference call could indicate whether Woodward agrees.