Manchester United’s brand health has halved in the last year
August 31st, 2022, Stephan Shakespeare

Manchester United’s brand health has halved in the last year

There have been better times to be a Manchester United fan. Having lost their first two games of the Premier League season – after a sixth-place finish in last year’s campaign – the glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson may well seem long ago and far, far away to supporters.

But beyond the team’s on-pitch difficulties, negative headlines are again swirling around the Glazers. United’s longtime owners – and longtime figures of disdain for a proportion of its following – are reportedly open to selling a minority stake in the club, as a possible prelude to a full sale.

Data from YouGov FootballIndex UK indicates that they may not be selling at the peak of Manchester United’s commercial powers. Between 13 August 2021 – the beginning of the 2021/2022 season – and 13 August 2022, Recommend scores (a measure tracking perceptions of a club’s success) plummeted from 28.0 to 5.7 (-22.3). Scores tracking supporter satisfaction (i.e. whether a club is perceived to play attractive football or not) fell from 6.1 to -0.5 over the same period (-6.6).

United’s results likely contributed to Buzz scores, which track whether people have recently heard anything positive or negative about a club, deteriorating from 4.8 to -3.4 (-8.2). But while some supporters may blame the players for their club’s fortunes, many of them feel the problems come from the top.


During this timeframe, scores tracking perception of its management went from solidly positive (5.1) to outright downcast (-8.7): taking a hit of 13.8 points. Whether you blame the owners, the manager, the squad, or some combination thereof, Manchester United’s overall brand health has more than halved compared to where it was a year ago, going from 13.8 to 5.8 (-8).

United manager Erik Ten Hag has promised to “restore the club” to its former stature. But our data shows that – in the face of fan protests, major transfer targets refusing to join, and marquee players throwing tantrums and dining alone – rebuilding the club’s ailing brand could be as significant a task as climbing back to the top of the Premier League table.

This article originally appeared in City A.M.