European Super League: Why Ed Woodward is stepping down as Manchester United vice-chairman
Ed Woodward is leaving Man United at the end of the year and news has emerged at a fraught time amid the club’s involvement in the Super League.
The Manchester Evening News was informed in November that Woodward had planned for this season to be his last full campaign as the United executive vice-chairman but the announcement was brought forward.
United sources expected news of Woodward’s departure to leak before external sources confirmed the 49-year-old had resigned.
However, the timing has coincided with Chelsea and Manchester City’s planned withdrawal from the seemingly doomed Super League which United were driving, along with the other American-owned Premier League clubs Liverpool and Arsenal.
The Uefa president Alexander Ceferin described Woodward’s behaviour over the Super League as ‘criminal’. Ceferin said on Monday: “He called me last Thursday evening saying he’s very satisfied with and fully supports the (Champions League) reforms and the only thing he wants to talk about was Financial Fair Play, when obviously he had already signed something else.”
Woodward will stay in post until the end of the calendar year and then relinquish responsibilities to a new de facto chief executive. There is no indication who will replace him.
Woodward previously worked for JP Morgan, the American bank that is financing the Super League breakaway that is on the brink of collapse, and advised the Glazer family on their toxic takeover of United in 2005 that saddled the club with hundreds of millions of pound of debt.
It is understood Woodward’s wife was shaken by the attack on their Cheshire home in January of last year, which may have contributed to Woodward tendering his resignation.
Woodward took a step back from frontline business at United over the last two years, tasking Matt Judge with negotiating transfers and holidaying during the final weeks of the summer transfer window in 2019.
John Murtough, the recently appointed football director, is now the point of contact for United’s deals and Judge is the director of transfer negotiations.
Having overseen commercial matters at United between 2007-2013, Woodward replaced former chief executive David Gill in 2013. Although Sir Alex Ferguson was responsible for the appointment of David Moyes, Woodward alone chose Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to manage the club.