Manchester United boss' bombshell after Super League withdrawal

Andrew Reid
·5-min read
Pictured here, Ed Woodward chats with legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ed Woodward's announcement came on the same day the European Super League began to unravel. Pic: Getty

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has announced he will be stepping down from the role at the end of the season, in a curious sub-plot to a dramatic day in world football.

The 49-year-old joined the club in 2005 and becomes the first high-profile departure since plans for the seemingly doomed Super League were unveiled in Europe on Sunday evening.

Woodward was understood to be one of the key figures behind the controversial breakaway league, alongside Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.

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On the same day as England's 'big six' clubs all decided to pull the pin on plans to join the Super League , Woodward announced that he would be stepping down at United at the end of the year.

Woodward's exit is understood to be amicable with the owners, the Glazer family, and he will continue in his role until the end of 2021.

"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," Woodard said.

"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."

Concluding a lengthy statement, Woodward said: "I would like to thank United's passionate fans for their support during the good and bad times."

Woodward made no mention of the controversial Super League in his comments although the timing of his announcement would suggest the two are connected.

Seen here, Ed Woodward watches a match from the stands.
Ed Woodward has been United's executive vice-chairman since 2012. Pic: Getty

“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 49-year-old played a key role in the breakaway competition and was singled out for criticism by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

News of the league has been met by intense and relentless criticism, with the Old Trafford giants among six Premier League clubs to join the 12-strong breakaway European competition.

United co-chairman Joel Glazer was named as vice-chairman of the Super League, hailing it as a "new chapter" amid a storm of condemnation.

Mixed reactions to Woodward's exit

"Ed Woodward has served the club with great distinction," Glazer said in a statement confirming Woodward's departure.

"On behalf of everyone at United I would like to place on record our sincere thanks for his tireless work and dedication.

"His contribution to the club has been massive."

Woodward's influence on United during his time at the helm has been unquestionably massive, with the 49-year-old helping to spearhead some of the biggest sponsorship deals ever seen at the famous club.

United's shirt deal with US car giant Chevrolet - which Woodward helped broker in 2014 - is understood to be worth a whopping 64 million pounds (A$115 million) per year.

While that deal with Chevrolet is set to run out this year, Woodward has reportedly been chasing a new shirt sponsorship deal with an American software company that could be worth as much as 70 million pounds (A$126 million).

Despite his obvious business acumen, the executive vice chairman has often been criticised by Manchester United fans over an apparent lack of football smarts - particular when it comes to new signings.

Unsurprisingly, news of Woodward's exit has been greeted with delight for many United supporters.

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with AAP

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