Why Manchester United Football Club Has Been One Of The Most Successful Sports Clubs In The World?

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Type of Academic Paper – Dissertation

Academic Subject – Business

Word Count – 13421 words


This study aims to determine whether or not Manchester United football club has been successful amongst the other sports clubs in the world or there has been a downfall in the club’s success. This study conducted a qualitative research methodology using interviews as a data collection method. Fifteen interviews were conducted by recruiting participants from fans of the Manchester United football club. The data collected was analysed using Thematic Analysis. The study concludes that various factors lead to such a huge success for this club and make it one of the world’s most prominent and influential clubs. First, of all the research concludes that Manchester United Football Club has a cultural influence on fans and other clubs besides other factors contributing to its success.

Another key success factor for the club is the huge fan base which also shows a high level of loyalty and support to the club, its players and management. Another key success factor identified in the research is the high level of competition that the club faces and its successful track record reflected by many championships. Also, the research concludes that the club’s operational abilities and effective leadership are also important factors that contribute to the success of this club. This study concludes that these factors are likely to contribute consistently to help the club maintain market share, fan base and further success in the future.


Manchester United football club is one of the most famous clubs in the UK. Founded in 1878, it is considered the most successful club having the biggest fan following in the UK. The club is appreciated for its excellent media exposure and high-level awareness regarding globalization in addition to brand and image management, marketing strategy, and superstar footballers, among others. Due to its effective competition and business management, it is considered one of the most valuable football clubs globally. There is an excellent track record reflected by a large number of championships, which enable it to have a huge influence on fans and the world of football. This study aims to understand key success factors for the Manchester United football club. The study begins with a discussion of the study’s aims and objectives, followed by a discussion of the methodology to be adopted to execute this study. This discussion highlights the research strategy and approach, research tools, pilot test, data collection method, data analysis techniques, and methodology limitations. The study then continues to present the results of analyses on data gathered using thematic analysis. The results are followed by a discussion on how the study aims and objectives have been achieved. Finally, the study ends with conclusions made in the study.

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The research methodology is the methodical endeavour of the methods adopted for directing the research in the right direction (Panneerselvam 2014: 1). The main purpose of presenting the chapter is to provide an in-depth explanation of the research methods used for conducting this research. The particular research methods have been adopted to assess why Manchester United football club has been one of the most successful sports clubs globally.  To achieve the research aims and objectives, the cultural influences of the club have also been assessed to find the fans’ perception of the club and its success. Moreover, the chapter incorporated the design and approach as well as the piloting of research tools. The problems and limitations that the researcher faced during the research have also been incorporated in this chapter.

Research Questions

The research aims to find out whether or not Manchester United football club have been successful amongst the other sports clubs in the world or there has been a downfall in the club’s success. The main research questions which the research will cover are as follows.

  • What are the cultural factors that influence the success of the Manchester United football club?
  • How will Manchester United football club achieve success in the global market?
  • What are the reasons for having a strong fan following, which led to the Manchester United football club’s success?
  • How has the commercial strategic cooperation of Manchester United club been the reason for the club’s success in the world?

Research Strategy and Approach

The research strategy is a systematic application of the research design to answer research questions (Bryman and Bell 2015: 5). It is one of the important parts of the research as it explains how the research will proceed in the future and how the desired outcomes can be achieved. The many types of research strategies include background information, literature review, observations, interviews, surveys and case study analysis. This study aims to find why the Manchester United football club has been successful in the world. For that matter, the literature review was given in which the data is represented on the topic for a better understanding of the research variables. Further, the data has been collected through questionnaires.

The research methodology is of three kinds such as qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method research (Creswell 2013: 16). As per the nature of the research and the link between the variables, qualitative reasoning has been researched. The reason behind this notion is that there are not any identified variables. Since there were no variables, the most feasible design was qualitative research. Concerning all these facets, qualitative research has been applied in this research, and the data is analysed by breaking it down into themes.

The two main kinds of research approaches are inductive and deductive. According to Creswell (2012), an inductive approach is defined as an association of data collection methods and qualitative reasoning analysis. On the contrary deductive approach is defined as scientific testing of the data and theory. This study is based on qualitative reasoning, so the inductive approach has been used to conduct research. In this approach, the data has been analysed by generating links from the specific observations and drawing generalizations from specific to general approaches.

Design of Research Tools

The research tools commonly used to collect data on the given variables include interviews, questionnaires, and focus groups etc. (Healey 2014:). This research was based on qualitative methodology, so in-depth interviews were conducted to gather information. It was convenient to reach the audience who watch a football match and take their views on the Manchester United football club’s success factors. Five questions were generated for asking the overall viewpoint of the audience. These questions were kept simple and authentic so that the complete information could be mustered. Ten interviewees were selected for assembling information. Out of which four were out of reach, the interview was conducted using online sources like Skype video calls.

Piloting Research Tools

Pilot research is defined as a preliminary project which is conducted on a small scale (Thabane et al. 2010: 1). The reason behind conducting pilot research is to(content removed – please contact us to access full version)

Regarding the outcomes of the piloting research tools, the mistakes were corrected, the age group was exceeded from 30 to 50, and out of 15 respondents, 5 were female respondents.

Carrying out Data Collection

The data collection method is a variety of methods through which the data is collected on the given research topic (Han, Pei and Kamber 2011: 6). There are two main kinds of data collection methods: the primary source of data collection and a secondary source of data collection. The primary source of data collection is the first-hand data collected by the researcher. In contrast, the secondary source of data collection is incorporating the data that has already been used or existed.

To collect data, the respondents have selected form a population. In this research, the primary source which was used was the in-depth interviews which were conducted by the researcher(content removed – please contact us to access full version)

Problems and Limitations

Every researcher faces several problems and limitations. One of the biggest issues during the conduct of the research was the time constraint. The research had to be conducted and completed in a given time frame. This wasn’t easy because of the vast area it had to cover. The issue of time constraint was resolved by reaching potential respondents through social media and video calls. However, (content removed – please contact us to access full version)


In conclusion, it can be demonstrated that the research methods chosen in this research were authentic and sufficient to answer the research questions. The channel for distributing the interview questionnaire was broad, and participants could be reached more conveniently. In a short amount of time, it was sufficient to interview fifteen people, and this had collected enough data to draw conclusions and make analyses.

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This chapter includes data analyses of the researcher’s derived information to achieve the study’s aims and objectives. To answer the research questions, the data has been analysed using thematic analyses on the respondents’ answers. Further, a detailed discussion has been given in which the objectives have been explained according to the data analyses.

Thematic Analysis

Factors Affecting the Success of Manchester United Football Club

One of the interviewees said,

“Manchester United Football Club has been successful due to its cultural influence amongst the many fans worldwide.”

The club has made a superstar effect by introducing influential people such as Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham. Another main success factor identified is the way of the club to embrace change. In the past fifteen seasons, the club has bought approximately 115 new players along with a number of mergers. The leaders of the club assess high talent youth and keep refining their skills.

The culture of success thriving (content removed – please contact us to access full version)

Influence of Football Players on Fans

The club’s fan base has not been only in the region where the club exists but had spread all over the world and across the globe as the football club has incorporated some amazing players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and his charitable services. His great deeds in which he had helped many people and donated a large amount of money for their well-being have made him one of the most influential players amongst the fans. One of the respondents further stated that,

“Manchester United Football Club has the best players who have not only been engaged in football practices but also different charitable activities.”

The fan further stated that it had been identified that the next football player who influenced the fans in such a positive was David Beckham(content removed – please contact us to access full version)


Objective 1: To Identify the Cultural Factors that Influence the Success of Manchester United football club

According to the study conducted by Shank and Lyberger (2014), cultural factors influence the success of many football clubs due to the connection between the customers and fans associated with the club. The cultural factors influencing the football club’s success include the brand name associated with the famous football players. The culture of success associated with the Manchester United Football Club, which has been identified in the research is a great deal of success. Diversity in culture can also play a crucial role in the success of the business. The association of people from a different culture with Manchester United Football Club proves to be the point of diversification and authenticity in the fan following, which ultimately leads to the club’s strong name and success (McCarthy et al., 2014, p.181).

These findings, through the secondary data, coincide with the research’s primary data findings. The incorporation of players from different cultures is the starting of success because all the people worldwide connect themselves with the player with the shared values and culture. Furthermore, the cultural factors associated with the team’s success include the culture of charity, which is adopted by many team players. Thus, the cultural factors influence the success of the Manchester United Football Club.

Objective 2: To Identify the Success Factors of Manchester United Football Club

According to Franck (2014), there is a huge competition amongst the many football clubs worldwide. This is due to a number of factors. The factors which make any football club being stood out in the global arena are the leadership skills of its leaders, the player’s influence, and the market share attained by the club(content removed – please contact us to access the full version)


The data analyses of the research had been conducted in this chapter associated with the thematic analysis. It had been identified that there are several success factors associated with the Manchester United Football Club which do not assist the club gain market share but also the strong fan base. Moreover, the research’s main objectives had been discussed and encapsulating the connection between the analyses and the objectives.

The research was conducted with the main aim to identify the key success factors of the Manchester United Football Club. The first and foremost task the researcher fulfilled was the setting of aims and objectives. After the aims and objectives, an appropriate research design and strategy was selected by the researcher.  To collect data, the researcher used both primary and secondary sources of data collection. The data was collected through survey interviews and the secondary data collected by the various journals and research articles. By the qualitative nature of the research, the researcher adopted the qualitative research design to analyse why Manchester United Football Club has been successful. To avoid any error in the future, pilot research had also been conducted. The sample size was fifteen, and the people were selected from the research area and the fans. Further, the interview had been taken from fifteen respondents out of which ten had given the most authentic answers.

After the collection of data, the analyses had drawn with the help of themes. All the questions were broken down into themes and then analysed according to the answers of the respondents. The research aims and objectives have been achieved with the help of the data collected and the thematic analyses. These analyses further helped to draw conclusions that will help potential researchers. The research developed the idea that the Manchester United Football Club has a cultural influence on people, and the club has been successful due to a number of factors. This success has also let the club achieve a strong fan base. The research has also determined the number of competitors in the global market giving high competition to the club. However, with its operational abilities and leadership qualities, the club has been successful and will achieve more market share, fan base, and future success.


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