Man United make second huge splash exactly one month after their last

Two times in exactly one month we’ve been moved to utter the words ‘finally’ when talking about Manchester United.

After the launch of their YouTube channel, this time, it’s a women’s football team on the horizon for the Old Trafford club, as the Red Devils have announced that they are launching a team and will apply for to compete in WSL 2 – the second tier of women’s football in England.

It’s been a long time coming. Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are United’s rivals in the men’s game, and are all vying for honours at the top of the Women’s Super League. United, meanwhile, haven’t competed with them in the women’s game, and starting now means they won’t be able to for a few years. Moves are finally afoot to change that, though, as well as to give a platform to the female players United already produce at their youth academy but who have to move elsewhere to play professionally.

As easy as it is to talk about how this should have been done ages ago – and many have done that since the news broke – it may well have been a mistake to set up a women’s team just for the sake of doing it. History, culture and emotion are hugely important in sport, and United don’t yet have that in the women’s game. Indeed, by taking a place in the WSL structure they may well end up depriving clubs with more history in women’s football of a spot simply by virtue of their bigger name. With their globally recognised rivals all playing a massive role in growing the sport in Britain, though, it’s probably time United joined the party.

Indeed, United arguably need to get involved from a commercial perspective, too; women’s football is one of the few areas of growth left for the sport as a whole. With Europe’s top football leagues expanding the tentacles of their reach into Asia, Africa and the Americas, it will be hard to grow what is already a global game much further. Already, the Premier League’s UK media rights seem to have plateaued– even if the overseas rights will continue to grow. But there’s only so much room left to expand. Women’s football would appear to be one of the few avenues left to grow the sport.

Indeed, as the WSL have shown, live-streaming and social media can play a huge role in the growth of women’s sport, whilst the players themselves are more accessible and relatable, making them arguably more interesting and engaging on the internet.

United, too, proved the power of the internet with the launch of their YouTube channel. Their success over the last month also shows that when they do something right they can make a significant in a short space of time. Since launching, their account has over 700k subscribers, which makes them one of the best followed clubs on the platform despite the fact that their account is exactly one month old.

With their women’s team, they’ll be aiming to have similar success, even if this will take a much longer time to get right. If they gain promotion to the top division, though, their name recognition means they’ll have little trouble attracting some of the world’s best players.

Late last week, the New York Times reported that FIFA are considering plans for a global women’s league, which would feature 16 of the world’s best teams. United would be aiming to become one of the biggest teams in the country just in time to be included. If that’s the case, we could be on the cusp of something very exciting.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

You might also like

Leeds United become first football club to sell official jerseys on TikTok

Leeds United is the first football club in the world to partner with TikTok to sell official merchandise and replica jerseys. Coinciding with the release of the new rhapsody purple,

​​Lewes FC Appoints Sue Anstiss To Its Board Of Directors

The Lewes FC Board is delighted to announce that it has co-opted Sue Anstiss as a Lewes FC Director. Sue has been a driving force for equality in sport for

Trustly extends partnership to become West Ham United Women’s Sleeve Partner

West Ham United is pleased to announce that Trustly has enhanced its relationship with the Club by becoming the Women’s Sleeve Partner. Trustly, the leading global account-to-account payments platform, became