Ed Woodward is proud to have worked for Manchester United, as his departure from the club at the end of 2021 was confirmed.
It has been a remarkable 48 hours across football, with United – and their owners the Glazer family – key players in a 12-team European Super League which was announced, to much derision, on Sunday.
Yet two days later, following widespread condemnation from national governments, football associations, UEFA, FIFA and fellow clubs, the breakaway league appears to be crumbling, with United’s neighbours Manchester City the first team to officially withdraw.
Chelsea, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are also rumoured to be set to follow suit, while Liverpool’s players have gone on a social media campaign – spearheaded by captain Jordan Henderson – to show their displeasure with the proposals.
News broke on Tuesday evening, UK time, that Woodward, a hugely divisive figure during his time as United’s executive vice-chairman, was to resign from his post, with hisdeparture was subsequently confirmed on United’s official website.
“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,” Woodward 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.
“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.”
Woodward went on to credit United’s work on the academy, while also praising the club’s community work during the COVID-19 pandemic – a crisis cited as a major reason for the development of the proposed European Super League in the competition’s initial announcement.
“The financial impact on football clubs has been severe, but United have been one of the most robust and resilient in the face of extraordinary financial pressures,” Woodward added.
“I would like to thank United’s passionate fans for their support during the good and bad times. I know this has been a challenging period in our history, but your support for the team has never, ever been in doubt.
“Finally, it has been a pleasure to work with so many magnificent, talented and hard-working people.”
Under Woodward’s leadership, United have hired and fired David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, while also breaking their transfer record for Paul Pogba in 2016. Their highest Premier League finish since Alex Ferguson left in 2013 has been second place under Mourinho in 2017-18.
United co-chairman Joel Glazer said: “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.”