Man Utd boss announces his departure, as European Super League dream dies

Ed Woodward - (image courtesy MUFC)
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Manchester United executive vice chairman, Ed Woodward, will leave the club at the end of the year.

The announcement follows a U-turn by all six English football clubs, including three North West sides, who were part of the proposed European Super League.

In an undignified about-turn they announced last night that they were no longer pursuing their plans to set up the breakaway competition.

It followed universal condemnation from fans, players, pundits and even the Prime Minister.

The six English clubs included Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

They announced late on Sunday they would form the renegade league, along with six other European sides in a move that could have destroyed the traditional pyramid system of leagues in the English game, affecting the funding from sponsors and fans that cascades all the way down to grass roots football.

But early last night, Chelsea and Manchester City were the first to break ranks and step back from the brink following the widespread criticism. Earlier in the day the board and CEO of Everton had issued a stinging rebuke of the six English sides, which said: “This preposterous arrogance is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this plan.”

As the night went on the rest of the so-called ‘super six’ followed suit.

In a statement, Manchester United said: “Manchester United will not be participating in the European Super League.

“We have listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders.

“We remain committed to working with others across the football community to come up with sustainable solutions to the long-term challenges facing the game.”

Liverpool FC said: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm that our involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.

“In recent days, the club has received representations from various key stakeholders, both internally and externally, and we would like to thank them for their valuable contributions.”

The owner of Liverpool, American John W Henry, today posted a video on the club’s official Twitter feed, apologising to fans for the shambles caused by the episode, as well as to manager Jurgen Klopp, the players, and club staff.

He said: “More than a decade ago when we signed up for the challenges associated with football, we dreamed of what you dreamed of and we’ve worked hard to improve your club.

“Our work isn’t done, and I hope you’ll understand that even when we make mistakes we try and work in your club’s best interests.

“In this endeavour I have let you down. Again, I’m sorry and I alone am responsible for the unnecessary negativity brought forward over the past couple of days.

“It’s something I won’t forget and shows the power the fans have today, and will rightly continue to have.”

Manchester City said: “Manchester City Football Club can confirm that it has formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League.”

Ed Woodward said he will remain in his position until the end of the year when he will leave the Old Trafford club.

He 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.”

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.”

Woodward, 49, joined United in 2005 and has been in his current role since 2012.

In a statement, the European Super League said: “Given the current circumstances we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”