Widely disliked Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is all set to step down from his role at the end of 2021 after the failure of the formation of the European Super League (ESL).
The planned breakaway league received severe backlash from fans worldwide, including players, coaches, the media and even the British government.
It is rumoured that Woodward was the chief planner of this entire Super League so it comes as no surprise that he has decided to step down from his post at the end of the year.
The American joined Manchester United in 2005 and has been in his current role since 2012. He has been heavily criticised for failing to sign the prioritized players of the Manchester United managers and that has cost the club dearly in their rebuilding phase post the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson.
He was apparently set to leave at the end of the year anyway but the decision to announce his departure has been brought forward, evidently due to the failure of the breakaway league.
“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,” said Woodward.
“The club is well positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year.”
After plans for the ESL were announced on Sunday, Woodward stepped down from his role on UEFA’s Professional Football Strategy Council citing his optimism in success of his apparent brainchild. Little did he know the consequences.
Woodward had significant input into the discussions around the revamped UEFA Champions League on Friday so this Super League came as an absolute shocker to many including UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin who called out the former JPMorgan investment banker calling him a liar.
The UEFA President was critical of Woodward, saying that the United man was “very satisfied” with the reforms when they last spoke on Thursday evening.
Ceferin added that Woodward only wanted to to discuss financial fair play but “obviously he already signed something else”.
UEFA had hoped the new 36-team Champions League, which was agreed on Monday, would stave off any breakaway Super League, but the controversial competition was announced on Sunday.
Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer was set to be the vice-chairman of the Super League.
The agreement between Woodward and owners the Glazer family is said to be amicable and there has been no falling out. The announcement was brought forward because of the prospect of leaks.
“On behalf of everyone at United I would like to place on record our sincere thanks for his tireless work and dedication,” said Joel Glazer.
“His contribution to the club has been massive, and he will always be welcome at Old Trafford as a part of the Manchester United family.”
The move will end long-standing ties between Woodward and the Glazers.
Woodward played a major role in getting their controversial takeover completed in 2005 as he brokered the deal. However, after replacing David Gill as chief executive in 2013, he has been heavily criticised for the club’s failure to challenge for the Premier League title and having a shambolic transfer policy.
Woodward took the decision to sack David Moyes less than a year into his six-year contract as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor. Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho were also dismissed for failing to match expectations even though both managers won important trophies for the club.
Current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed in December 2018 and Woodward has stood by the Norwegian despite, fortunately for Manchester United fans who would revolt if the baby-faced assassin were to be sacked.
“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,” added Woodward.
“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.”
Woodward’s home in Cheshire was attacked by a group chanting that he was “going to die” in January 2020, though Woodward was not at home at the time. Manchester United fans have wanted him gone since he took over David Gill’s role.
Their hatred for the Glazers have been evident since 2005 and things have turned extremely sour after the hostile Super League formation attempt. Rumour has it that the Glazers are also looking to sell the club following the failure of the breakaway league.
Manchester United fans want the #GlazersOut.