Just like that, Manchester United’s future no longer involves Ed Woodward.

The 49-year-old became executive vice-chairman in 2012 and controversially became the top brass at Old Trafford after David Gill’s retirement in 2013.

Since then, he has presided over a rollercoaster few years in which he has been at the centre of more than his fair share of controversy.

But after the collapse of the European Super League, it has been confirmed Woodward will step aside at the end of 2021 and leave the club.

From some headline-grabbing moments in the stands to being criticised by players and former managers, it is fair to say Woodward did not always see eye to eye with everyone he worked with.

Here’s a look back at some of the more explosive and controversial encounters involving Woodward over the years.



Ed Woodward has confirmed he will leave Man Utd at the end of 2021
Ed Woodward has confirmed he will leave Man Utd at the end of 2021

Evra’s “betrayal” and Herrera “disagreement”

It is part and parcel of the sport that players will come and go.

But Woodward has been publicly criticised by two of Manchester United’s fan favourites after he let them leave the club.

When Ander Herrera left for Paris Saint-Germain in 2019, he cited “disagreements” with Woodward as the cause of a move which upset many fans.

“It was not about money,” Herrera insisted to The Athletic . “It was not about the duration of the contract offer. In my opinion, I waited too long (for an offer) and deserved more attention from the club.

“I was a player that gave everything. I never complained. I never went to the media to complain about anything. I never put a bad face to any manager, to any member of the board, and they waited until I had five or six months left on my contract.

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“That’s why I had some disagreements with them.”



Patrice Evra felt "betrayed" by Ed Woodward when he left Man Utd
Patrice Evra felt “betrayed” by Ed Woodward when he left Man Utd

Patrice Evra, meanwhile, went much further when he slammed Woodward and stated he felt “betrayed” by the club where he won five Premier League medals and a Champions League before leaving in 2014.

Evra told The Guardian : “I felt betrayed by Ed. I called Juventus to tell them I am coming.

“Ed then said: ‘We offer you a two-year contract, more money, the captaincy, a testimonial.’

“Too late [to renege on his agreement with Juventus]. [In June 2015] my ex-wife said: ‘See? Manchester are nearly in the Championship and you’re in [the Champions League final].’

“I love Juventus but I said: ‘Even if they’re in the Championship, I prefer to be at United. Nothing can replace my love for them.’”

Sir Alex Ferguson ‘argument’ and Phil Jones incident

The spotlight has always shone on Ed Woodward when he watches games in the stands – and it has caught some controversial moments.

In October 2019, a clip of Woodward appearing to speak to Phil Jones at the London Stadium went viral on social media, but he later clarified he was not speaking to the defender.

“Phil was talking about whether decisions were offside or not,” he explained in an interview with club fanzine United We Stand.

“There was a foul and I turned around to Rebecca Britain, our club secretary [and said] ‘Was that a yellow card on him? Diop?’”



Ed Woodward and Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to argue in the stands in a game against Sheffield United
Ed Woodward and Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to argue in the stands in a game against Sheffield United

However, that was nothing compared to when cameras caught what appeared to be a heated exchange with Sir Alex Ferguson during a game against Sheffield United in November 2019.

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Whilst details on the exchange never emerged, many theorised that the pair were involved in a disagreement.

Whether or not that was the case publicly, it has widely been reported that Ferguson and Woodward clashed on occasions.



Woodward and Ferguson reportedly did not always see eye to eye
Woodward and Ferguson reportedly did not always see eye to eye

Sky Sports News claimed that Ferguson was ignored by Woodward over his recommendation of Steve Walsh, Leicester’s former recruiemtn chief, for a consultancy role.

The Daily Mail reported in 2019 that Ferguson was left ‘hurt’ after being frozen out by Woodward and felt his opinion was no longer valued at his former club.

Louis van Gaal criticism

Louis van Gaal was the main Woodward appointed to replace David Moyes in May 2014.

He won the FA Cup but was promptly sacked just two days later and replaced by Jose Mourinho.

Van Gaal has been scathing in his criticism of Woodward since, claiming he had his “head in a noose” at Old Trafford.

In May 2020, Van Gaal told the Mirror: “The ­hardest thing was trying to survive as Manchester United’s manager when I had my head in a noose for six months.

“From January until the end of the season, my wife Truus warned me. She is a woman – and a woman has an instinct for things like this.

“I did not see what ­Woodward was up to, but women have different qualities than men. I really did not sense that they were plotting something.



Louis van Gaal has claimed Ed Woodward "had his head in a noose" for the last six months
Louis van Gaal has claimed Ed Woodward “had his head in a noose” for the last six months

“I was wholly convinced that I’d be able to see out my contract and have a third season at United. And it was the biggest ­surprise of my life when ­Woodward sacked me.

“I had faced resistance ­internally at other clubs and ­federations before. But that was nothing compared to what I had to put up with at Man United.

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“At Barcelona, I walked away because I was loyal to the ­president. I waved away £5m. But my principles were more important at United – I had achieved so much there.”

Van Gaal, who has also had spells in charge of Ajax, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Holland, previously told German magazine 11 Freunde: “At Bayern, the people in charge are football men. I always appreciated that.

“At Manchester United , on the other hand, Ed Woodward was installed as CEO – somebody with zero understanding of football who was previously an investment banker.

“It cannot be a good thing when a club is run solely from a commercially-driven perspective.

“I don’t hold it against the club. They wanted Mourinho and he was on the market.”

Wayne Rooney text

One of the most bizarre stories of Woodward’s time at Old Trafford came from The Athletic as they profiled his role at the club.



Woodward reportedly bemused Wayne Rooney with a text after a game
Woodward reportedly bemused Wayne Rooney with a text after a game

In a detailed article focusing on his personal relationships with staff and players, they recalled a text which allegedly bemused United’s record goalscorer.

Woodward, it is reported, texted Rooney the words “Hi Wazza, loved the game” yafter United beat Everton 2-1 in an FA Cup semi-final in 2016, in which Anthony Martial scored a last minute winner.

The Athletic went on to say: “Rooney had played well in a new midfield role but, suffice to say, he was not impressed at efforts to be ‘matey’.”

Woodward’s overly personal approach didn’t go down well with United’s all-time record goalscorer, and perhaps this offers an insight into his standing among the club’s players.





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