The struggles endured by Manchester United this season have caused a damaging effect to the global appeal of the Premier League, according to the chief executive of the English top-flight, Richard Scudamore.
Manchester United have been in dreadful form since David Moyes was appointed to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson, with the club having relinquished their title with hardly a fight, while they are set to miss out on a place in the league’s coveted top four positions.
Given the success the club enjoyed during Ferguson’s illustrious tenure at Old Trafford, winning 13 Premier League titles under his direction, Manchester United have established the largest global fanbase of all English teams, and one of the most significant in the world.
This worldwide legion of Manchester United supporters guarantees a sizeable income for the Premier League but, concedes Scudamore, if the club are unable to perform on the field then commercial success takes a hit.
“It’s a double-edged sword. When your most popular club isn’t doing as well, that costs you interest and audience in some places,” Scudamore told reporters in Johannesburg.
He added: “There’s lots of fans around the world who wish Manchester United were winning it again.
“But you have to balance that off against putting on a competition.”
Moyes, meanwhile, is set to endure a public humiliation this weekend with reports claiming a group of Manchester United fans have hired a plane to fly a banner over Old Trafford to make clear their dissatisfaction with the manager.
The banner is set to read “Wrong One – Moyes Out” and will be seen above the Manchester United ground against Aston Villa in the weekend’s early kick-off on Saturday afternoon.