Ineos have a new deadline to decide Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United future

The desks are looking tidier, more people are in the office, a permanent chief executive will start in seven weeks and a sporting director has been identified if not appointed. Next week Ineos will toast 100 days in charge at Manchester United but before they hit that milestone on Wednesday (May 29) they must communicate their biggest decision yet.

You can be sure that Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford place some faith in the theory that the first 100 days in charge of a new organisation are vital. In America, the first 100 days of a Presidential term are considered tone-setting.

In business, it is seen as a chance to make your mark. Rarely will you ever have it this easy to introduce new ideas and make bold changes. People are willing to listen and open to change and this period can lay the groundwork for success ahead. But it is also considered the beginning of the end by some business experts. At this point, the people you lead should understand what you’re about and what you believe in.

Ratcliffe has done a pretty good job of getting that message across. His demands to end the work-from-home culture and improve tidiness at Carrington and Old Trafford are examples of him making it clear he is in charge and standards must rise.

Along with Brailsford, Ineos’ director of sport, he has made some key hires as well. Omar Berrada is an ambitious appointment as chief executive and Jason Wilcox has started work as technical director. The departures of Richard Arnold and John Murtough have made it clear that this is about change.

To finalise the overhaul of the football structure a breakthrough is required with Newcastle over the appointment of Dan Ashworth as sporting director. That leaves one major decision to make.

The future of Erik ten Hag is the one topic Ineos have been unable to offer clarity on. Heading into the FA Cup final it is still impossible to say whether he stays or goes. An exit seemed certain a week ago but successive wins against Newcastle and Brighton have lifted the mood.

A win on Saturday – or even a positive performance – could keep him in a job, especially with an absence of convincing candidates to replace him. On the other hand, he is the manager who has overseen United’s worst season by position in the Premier League era and a chastening day at Wembley will surely signal the end.

Either way, Ratcliffe needs to show his hand soon after the cup final. Even if the dust is allowed to settle on Sunday, the first day or two of next week must bring either the end for Ten Hag or official confirmation that he is staying. The void has to be filled.

A clean break with the most important figure at the football club is perhaps the ideal way to mark the end of those 100 days. The problem is replacements aren’t easy to find. United are now assessing the credentials of former coach and current Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna after he was recommended to Brailsford by an associate.

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