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Ed Woodward to leave Manchester United

To say that it has been eventual few days at Manchester United would be putting it lightly.

The Red Devils were of course announced as one of the 12 founding members of the European Super League on Sunday.

That competition has all but collapsed for the time being though, with all six of the participating English clubs having withdrawn late on Tuesday evening.

Shortly before confirmation was forthcoming that United were leaving the ESL, it was announced that Ed Woodward would be stepping down from his role at United at the end of 2021.

Woodward has worked with the Manchester outfit in some capacity since 2005 and was named executive vice-chairman in 2012.

On leaving the club, Woodward has this to say:

“I am extremely proud to have served United and it has been an honour to work for the world’s greatest football club for the past 16 years.

“The club is well positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year.

“I will treasure the memories from my time at Old Trafford, during a period when we won the Europa League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. I am proud of the regeneration of the club’s culture and our return to the Manchester United way of playing.

“We have invested more than £1bn in the squad during my time here and I am particularly delighted with the progress the players have made under the astute leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching team in the last two years.”

Club statement.

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 20, 2021

Ed Woodward & Man United

Though Woodward’s statement at least pretends he has enjoyed his time with United, it is hard to imagine their fans looking back at his stint with any sort of fondness.

For all Woodward may have impressed United’s owners with his financial exploits, his knowledge of football was seemingly less than impressive.

One source told The Athletic that Woodward ‘was the ringleader of all aggressive acts against the rest of the Premier League’.

Woodward was also the man who denied Jose Mourinho a centre-back when he was United manager, a position that clearly needed to be strengthened at the time.

Players are also believed to have grown tired with his focus on sponsorship, with The Athletic publishing a quote from a recent player describing him as a ‘great marketing man, awful at football’.

The same report from The Athletic claims that Woodward earned nearly £21m from his time at Old Trafford, a sum many United fans no doubt disagree he has earned.

Elsewhere, talk of who could replace Woodward when he does depart has already begun.

It is reported that some would like Sir Alex Ferguson to increase his role. However, The Athletic speculate that Richard Arnold – who is currently United’s managing director – looks a more natural long-term fit as Woodward’s replacement, due to his commercial importance to the club.

The fall of Ed Woodward, architect of #MUFC‘s grab for global power
🔴 Ex-banker earned nearly £21m from club
🔴 Role in Super League too big to come back from
🔴 Described as a ‘great marketing man, awful at football’
🔴 Could this encourage the Glazers to sell?@lauriewhitwell

— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) April 21, 2021

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