Paul McGuinness to leave as Man United restructure their academy
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 12/02/16 8:18pm
Manchester United have announced that youth team coach Paul McGuinness is leaving his post to pursue other ambitions in football.
The news follows United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward's announcement on Thursday that "changes are underway" at the club's academy.
McGuinness is the son of former United player and manager Wilf McGuinness, and has been working at the academy since 1992.
He has developed a huge number of future first-team players and led the side to FA Youth Cup glory in 2011.
However, there has been a drastic recent decline in standards, and the side are bottom of the Premier League's U18 North Division with only 11 points from 19 matches this season.
To have seen 86 academy players develop to make their debut for the first team and 23 to become full internationals has been thoroughly rewarding. I now have other ambitions I would like to fulfil in football
McGuinness told the United website: "It has been an honour and a privilege to follow in my father Wilf's footsteps and to serve Manchester United in a variety of roles for a total of 28 years.
"I will be forever grateful to Sir Alex Ferguson for making my dreams come true and inviting me to represent Manchester United as a player and for the last 23 years as a proud member of staff.
"I have learned a great deal by working with Sir Alex and so many special Manchester United people over the years, especially my mentors Eric Harrison, Jim Ryan and Tony Whelan.
"I have so many incredible memories, particularly the FA Youth Cup win in 2011 and being asked to be part of the Munich memorial service in 2008, but I have especially enjoyed working behind the scenes with devoted colleagues, nurturing and coaching young players to reach their potential.
"To have seen 86 academy players develop to make their debut for the first team and 23 to become full internationals has been thoroughly rewarding.
"I now have other ambitions I would like to fulfil in football that I can only experience outside the club."
Woodward added: "Paul has been a great servant to the club and everyone here wishes him the best in fulfilling his ambitions in the game.
"The board is grateful to him for everything he has given to the role over many years of service. His successor will have very big shoes to fill."
The executive vice-chairman announced the club's financial results on Thursday and also mentioned that the youth system would be getting an overhaul.
'We took the departure of (former academy head) Brian McClair last summer as an opportunity to do a root and branch review of the academy," he said. "That is now compete and changes are underway.
"In terms of the future, our key competitive advantages are still very strong. Our unmatched track record of player development compared to any other team in England, and the runway we deliver of first-team opportunities to those players, again very different to some of our competitors."
Nicky Butt, who is currently coaching the U19 side, is thought to be under consideration for McClair's post and Oxford United manager Michael Appleton has also been linked with the post.