MATT JUDGE: A day in the life of Man United's chief negotiator
Matt Judge - the enigma revealed
[We are legally obliged to state that this is a parody article based on a fictional day in the life of Manchester United's Head of Corporate Development and chief transfer negotiator Matt Judge. Don't grass on us. I mean, you can if you want, but he won't answer his phone, so...]
My alarm wakes me up to the Today programme on Radio 4. Not only is it an absolute joy to wake up to the dulcet yet stern tones of Mishal Husain, but it keeps me abreast of the latest goings on in the world of news and business. My enjoyment is interrupted by the occasional sports update (yawn!) but other than that I thoroughly enjoy the show.
I must say, I've been incredibly impressed by the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic - what a smooth and efficient ship they run. Whenever the likes of Grant Shapps or Michael Gove (my favourite) are invited on for an interview, I always stop what I'm doing and listen carefully. "Nice try Mishal," I say to myself, '"...but the Gove-meister General has you on toast!" Ironically, this often coincides with me enjoying a nice toasty slice myself. I recently purchased a second-hand bread maker for £700. It's where I store my Waitrose sourdough and it keeps it deliciously fresh.
At my desk and ready to tackle the day. First things first, I log onto eBay and monitor my Watch List. The great thing about the 'monitoring' stage of buying is you don't have to commit to anything - it's great! If I'm feeling especially daring I might skip a few stages to 'expressing an interest' or even 'readying a bid'. This usually involves a string of interactions with the seller about various aspects of their item. Does it have a snag? Is that a mark on the back, or just something on my monitor? Stuff like that.
Next I like to catch up on the latest episode of All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur. It's about a football team called Tottenham Hotspur, or maybe it's Spurs. Whatever. The football side of things doesn't really interest me, but I'm fascinated by Daniel Levy. He's a bit of a hero to me - the way he can string along protracted talks for weeks or even months on end. And he's such a cool dude! You can tell the players feel comfortable around him and not weirded out at all.
It's around this time I make my way to the sauna for a daily conflab with my old mucker Ed Woodward. There's nothing we enjoy more than chewing the fat whilst Woody casually ladles Kitanai Mizu (our official water partner) onto the rock heater below. We talk about the good old days at Bristol Uni and how we've both made such huge successes of our lives without a hint of nepotism. Just two self-made men!
Alas we eventually get round to talking about football, which can be a bit of a drag to be honest. Our current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been getting quite tetchy recently, complaining about the need to sign new players and asking me where I've got to with his 'list'. He's a nice guy but is prone to worrying about the littlest things, like winning games and competing for trophies. Woody agrees with me that he just needs to chillax and stop being such a bore.
After a few more diligent exchanges with sellers on eBay - it's funny how they tend to get irritated after a while and ask me if I'm serious - I tend to get a little peckish and ask my assistant Denise to pop out and grab me a bite to eat. I tell her to avoid anything that's included in the supermarket meal deal, and this is why: everyone gets the meal deal items. All that does is drive up the price. But no one gets the excluded items, which allows me to pick up a few bargains - it's basic economics. I can tell Denise is impressed by her dumbfound expression and winning frown.
Time to get stuck into a busy schedule of meetings. This usually begins with Richard Arnold (our Managing Director, not the Good Morning Britain stalwart) providing an update on our social media performance. Any time we're trending on Twitter or there's a positive review on the app, Arnold gets up out of his chair, spins around on his heels and signs off with double pistol fingers before moonwalking out of the room. It's quite a sight!
Although there's been less of that recently - and I can tell it's getting to Richie. We still trend on Twitter, but not in a good way. Apparently, there's an ungrateful army of 'trolls' out there who have nothing better to do than complain about losing football games and a lack of signings. Don't they understand we're busy with far more important things like refinancing the Glazer family debt and dishing out millions of pounds in dividends?!
I ask Richie if they Twitter anything about me. He answers he'd rather not say, which I take as a no! Phew!
It's around about this time I switch on my phone and check my messages. And boy oh boy, can there be a lot of missed calls and messages! I've got a little trick I use to deal with the daily backlog, which involves deleting anything that was received more than 10 minutes ago - if it's that important, they'll just ring back the next morning. I also have a strict policy of never answering an unknown caller. Indeed I've recently had to block a number beginning with 0049231... that won't leave me alone. Probably a scam.
I hear from Richie that I've been subject to criticism from a certain Patrick Evron recently. Another disgruntled Man U supporter with a big mouth and no knowledge of the football club no doubt. Apparently I'm difficult to get hold of and our transfer process is too complicated. Firstly, I'm sure eBay seller classiccarparts0495331 would disagree with you about me being uncommunicative! We've been exchanging correspondence about a beautifully detailed Porsche 993 shifter kit for some time now. I'm readying a bid.
Secondly, our transfer procedure is extremely straight-forward: Ole comes to me with a player he wants to sign, I then inform Woody that Ole wants to sign the player, he in turn gets in touch with the Glazer family and lets them know I've told him that Ole wants to sign the player; Woody gets the okay from the Glazers, I get the okay from Woody, and I let Ole know I've got the okay from Woody and enter into negotiations. A few months pass and if (and it's a big if to be fair) we reach an agreement with the selling club, I ask Woody for approval, who then asks the Glazers for approval. They usually say not at that price! Woody tells me not at that price! I tell the selling club not at that price! And we go again. Simple!
After a busy and productive day, it's time to finally head off home. I don't want to get big-headed about it but I've recently developed something of a cult following amongst our fanbase. On my way to the car - with just a standard-issue shifter knob for now - a regular throng of fans have started shouting enthusiastic messages of support at me.
I can't quite make out what they're saying but assume they're from overseas. "SEINSAN CHO YUWAN KA!" they scream whilst vigorously waving their wrists up and down. I wave back and tell them "Seinsan Cho yourself!" Lovely people. I just wish our online fans were half as passionate in their support, instead of being so ruddy negative about everything.
Cheer up! Woody and I are absolute bankers and we got this!