LONDON: Ed Woodward has handed in his resignation as executive vice-chairman of Manchester United and will leave at the end of the year.
The decision is supposedly not connected with the disastrous own goal of the club’s involvement with the collapsing Super League project.
Woodward, 49, was identified personally by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin on Monday as one of the men who had knowingly misled him about loyalty to the European federation’s Champions League reforms when knowing he had already signed up United to the Super League.
United co-owner Joel Glazer was named as a joint vice-chairman of the Super League.
Former United captain Gary Neville responded to the news of Woodward’s departure by posting a waving emoji.
Woodward worked for accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers before joining JPMorgan as an investment banker. In 2005, he advised the Glazer family on their controversial takeover of United.
Two years later the Glazers appointed Woodward to head the commercial and media operations.
His work helped establish United as the world’s richest club. No-one could deny his success in signing big-money sponsors (around 40 at national, international and global/regional levels). However he has been heavily criticised for his work in the transfer market and managerial appointments after becoming executive vice-chairman in 2013.
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.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed in December 2018 and Woodward has stood by the Norwegian despite inconsistent form.
Woodward 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 that the foundations are in place for us to win it back for our passionate fans.”