Ed Woodward will continue at Manchester United until the end of 2021; he had already agreed with the Glazers, United's owners, that he would leave Old Trafford, but the announcement has been brought forward
Wednesday 21 April 2021 09:11, UK
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is to step down from his role, the club has confirmed.
However, he will continue in his role at the club until the end of 2021.
Woodward had already agreed with the Glazers, United's owners, he would finish at Old Trafford at the end of the year, but the announcement was brought forward to Tuesday evening.
The news came after Chelsea and Manchester City announced they had decided to leave the breakaway Super League following a mass rejection of the plans by fans and governing bodies across Europe. Later on Tuesday evening, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs all said they had also withdrawn.
Woodward, who joined United in 2005 and became executive vice-chairman in 2012, said: "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."
Co-chairman Joel Glazer added: "Ed Woodward has served the club with great distinction. 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, and he will always be welcome at Old Trafford as a part of the Manchester United family."
United stood down from the European Club Association (ECA) on Sunday and Woodward stepped down from his UEFA roles.
Sky Sports News has been told the decision for Woodward to leave United is an amicable one and unrelated to the Super League proposal.
Former United captain Gary Neville, who has been critical of Woodward and the United owners' running of the club, appeared to celebrate the executive vice-chairman's resignation on Twitter.
As the news broke, Neville simply posted a wave emoji on his official account.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Neville went on to say Woodward 'knew his time in football was finished' after resigning as the club's executive vice-chairman.
"We obviously don't know why the timing is now," the former Manchester United defender said.
"The leeches could have thrown him under a bus, there's no doubt about that. Or it could have been that the sensible thing has happened that Ed Woodward knew it was going to get pretty hot in the kitchen for him in the next few months and he needed to get out of there.
"The fact of the matter is, not just Ed Woodward, every single executive who goes and sits at the Premier League table, every single executive who is on these UEFA or FIFA committees, they need throwing out of that club because there is no way they can turn up again and be trusted."
Neville went on to criticise Manchester United's owners again, insisting the Glazers do not belong at Manchester United anymore.
"So, Ed Woodward knew his time in football was finished, probably this morning, and he's probably done that to probably keep away from the criticism that would have come his way in the next few months. However, Ed Woodward is the trunk of the tree. We now need to go for the roots because I said last night on Monday Night Football, I felt complicit. They've declared their hand.
"While they were peacefully sat at the club not making a statement, never showing their hand and never doing media conferences. Yes, they were taking money out of the club, yes, they were leveraged against the club. There was nothing we could do about that once the club became a PLC, but I said last night they attacked every single football fan in this country with what they did.
"Jamie Carragher has just talked about FSG having no place in Liverpool, the Glazers have no place in Manchester anymore. We have to work hard together to ensure that ownership rules in this country are changed, that we have a system whereby this cannot happen. Whether this is government intervention or an independent regulator. Whether it be a fan-owned club rule, whatever it is, we have to make sure that this is the catalyst for change.
"The people have spoken. We were on the brink of anarchy if this continued. The Chelsea fans who turned up on Tuesday, the Leeds and Liverpool fans on Monday, the social media presence, and these six sets of owners in this country and the other ones in Europe have misread this situation badly.
"We are in the midst of a pandemic. We've been locked in for months. We are not in a decent place here and they've tried to run away with the crown jewels while we are all down.
"They've basically made everybody rise and I can't wait for the next season. I can't wait for fans to be back in the stadiums because there has to be a concerted organised, mobilised, strategic effort to change football in this country now.
"I've been part of a small group for 12 months that's been working towards change behind the scenes around independent regulators to make sure that there is a fairer game.
"Still a brilliant Premier League, still players getting paid a lot of money, so we have the best players in the world and the best managers in the world. There will be no expense of that but that there is an element of fairness to what we do and James Milner last night, well done to you.
"Well done to Jurgen Klopp for speaking out because that takes real guts. Well done to Luke Shaw, to Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire. Well done to Patrick Bamford and well done to the Leeds players for wearing those t-shirts. Well done to all the fans up and down the country.
"Enough is enough."