Woodward’s parting gift to Manchester United fans

Photo: Getty images

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward announced in April that he’d step down from his role at the end of the year.

Woodward joined United in 2005 and became executive vice-chairman in 2012 as he took over from the highly rated David Gill.

The 49-year-old’s reign has coincided with massive revenue and also the club’s worst trophy drought since the 1980s during a four-year spell without silverware.

According to Sky News, after a thorough search, United have elected to promote Richard Arnold – who’s currently working as group managing director at the club – to take over from Woodward.

Woodward has continued to play a key role behind the scenes at Old Trafford despite his looming departure. He was involved as the club sealed deals for Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane this summer, and was an integral part of the club’s move to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, in what will be his parting gift to the United fans.

Woodward’s fallout with Manchester United fans happened in April, following his involvement in the European Super League scandal, and he opted to leave afterwards.

Ed Woodward said back in April: “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.

“I am sure that with the changes we have made on-field and to the coaching and football staff in recent years this great club will soon be lifting silverware again. It deserves to.

“I desperately wanted the club to win the Premier League during my tenure and I am certain the foundations are in place for us to win it back for our passionate fans.

“Our world-famous academy is flourishing again, with 34 players progressing into the first team since 2013, and it has been a pleasure to watch talents such as Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Axel Tuanzebe flourish in the first team environment. In the years to come the club’s production line of young talent will continue to push established first team players for their places. That competition bodes well for the future.

“We have also established Manchester United Women and their progress is further evidence of the demand for success at this great club.

“The last 16 months have brought so many unique challenges and the club’s work in the community and around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic has been heroic.

“The financial impact on football clubs has been severe, but United have been one of the most robust and resilient in the face of extraordinary financial pressures.

“I would like to thank United’s passionate fans for their support during the good and bad times. I know this has been a challenging period in our history, but your support for the team has never, ever been in doubt.

“Finally, it has been a pleasure to work with so many magnificent, talented and hard-working people.”

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