Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Controversial plan revealed to hand Ed Woodward new Man Utd role

Avram Glazer, Ed Woodward Man Utd 2016

Manchester United’s owners are in negotiations with Ed Woodward to keep the controversial figure at the club in a consultancy role, claims a report.

Manchester United announced in April that Ed Woodward would leave the club at the end of the calendar year. The announcement of his departure coincided with the failed European Super League. Unprecedented protests against the Glazers ownership of United followed, which culminated in the postponement of the home game with Liverpool.

The Manchester Evening News reported that Woodward was expected to step down at the end of the season. But the increasing pressure from fans speeded up Woodward’s departure.

United’s managing director will step away from his role at Old Trafford at the end of the year after 16 years.

Now the Daily Mail report that United’s hierarchy are in talks over keeping Woodward in an advisory role.

The potential move will not go down well with United’s hardcore support, who see Woodward as a puppet for the Glazers’ ownership.

Executive vice chairman Woodward has been heavily criticised and blamed for United’s struggles since Sir Alex Ferguson left United in 2013.

United have been on a dreadful run of form which has seen them lose at home twice to their closest rivals in recent weeks. The 5-0 reverse to Liverpool saw Solskjaer scrambling to save his job.

He passed that test with a vote of confidence from the board. United though were then beaten 2-0 at Old Trafford by Manchester City at the weekend.

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The Guardian claim executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is in favour of keeping Solskjaer at the helm and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes it is to keep his own reputation intact.

“The situation at United is made more complicated with Ed Woodward leaving in weeks,” wrote Neville.

“Gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a 3-year (sic) contract months ago. And he won’t want his final act to be sacking a manager.

“However, he knows an incoming CEO could throw him overboard by doing just that and blaming him.”

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Richard Arnold in line to take over

The situation is not wholly unusual in business. Often departing chief executives are asked to help the smooth over the transition of the business. Temporary, ad hoc contracts are often drawn up.

United are yet to announce a successor for Woodward. They have been on the look out for a sporting director for more than two years. However, the trail has gone cold of late.

Richard Arnold, who is an ally of Woodward’s, has been strongly linked with the post.

Arnold, 50, is currently group managing director. But the accountant looks best placed to step into Woodward’s shoes as the main man answering to the Glazers.

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