ED WOODWARD : A POLARIZING FIGURE FOR MANCHESTER UNITED

As the constant barrage of criticism hailed to participants like Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur on starting the European Super League, these teams decided to pull out from the European Super League. The had led to the glum response from the Super League chairman Fiorentino Perez. Manchester United and Liverpool are the teams that had received the most hostile criticism due to the historical and status of the club. As a result of these, the Glazier had been demanded to step down by the angry United fans culminating in the postponement of Manchester United and Liverpool Premier League games. The happiest news for United is the Chief Executive of Manchester United, Ed Woodward, will step down from his position at the end of these years. It is the end of the most vilified and polarized Chief Executive, who had become the focal point of all the criticism surrounding Manchester United.

Ed Woodward does not come from a footballing background like the management of Bayern Munich, consisting of former players. He is a banker from JP Morgan and is the man behind the hostile Glazier takeover of Manchester United. However, he does not rise to Manchester United’s throne in the early stages as David Gill is in charge off-field where Sir Alex Ferguson is on the field. When both David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson decided to call it a day, Ed Woodward had become the Chief Executive of Manchester United. The latter task is to run the club from the management side on every aspect, including recruitment of the players.

For every criticism hurled towards him, they are an unequivocal truth. He had successfully made Manchester United profitable even when they had a downturn of performance from the glorious all-conquering Sir Alex Ferguson era.  His criticism does not come from his off-field performance but in the hiring manager and recruiting players.  He can be given leeway on the hiring of David Moyes as it was based on the recommendation from Sir Alex Ferguson, and the recruitment in David Moyes was a messy affair, but they escaped the criticism. Under David Moyes, Manchester United performed poorly, which was beaten heavily by their rival Liverpool and Manchester City. The consistent lousy performance had led United to a 7th place finish and missed out on the UEFA Champion League spot for the first time since 1993. David Moyes was fired.

Ed Woodward had been responsible for hiring Louis Van Gaal, which was seen as a good choice as Louis Van Gaal is an experienced manager who had managed big teams, unlike David Moyes. However, under his regime, the criticism on Ed Woodward and the team started when he had hired players who did not fit to Manchester United profile and paid over the odds for most players. The best example is Ed Woodward had paid spent 50 million to acquire Anthony Martial from Monaco in a deal that had even shocked Louis Van Gaal itself. Louis Van Gaal had stabilized Manchester United and giving a debut to many youngsters like Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Fosu Mensah, and others. He is also keen on implementing a possession style of football with a rigid tactical discipline that saws his style is criticized as robotic and methodical.

When Manchester City had announced the hiring of Pep Guardiola as their manager, it had created remarkable news parallel with the constant criticism on Louis Van Gaal style of management. Ed Woodward had made a knee jerk reaction as he had fired Louis Van Gaal even after he had managed to make United become the FA Cup champion, the first trophies since Sir Alex Ferguson had left. A decision that riled up all the excellent work Louis Van Gaal made as he was unceremoniously fired created a giant rift in the relationship between him and Woodward. His successor is Jose Mourinho, whom the United hierarchy had vehemently opposed.

All the criticism on Ed Woodward had increased astronomical under Jose Mourinho time as the paying over the odd had emerged again. The enormous wages paid to Alexis Sanchez had been a disaster as it had disrupted the squad stability. However, Jose Mourinho had won 3 trophies during his first year in charge. He managed to get United to second place in the following season, which is commendable given Manchester City’s great. However, the disharmonies in the squad had increased. They had performed poorly, and at some time, the public criticism Jose Mourinho had uttered on the players and the management had led him to be fired before the season end. His successor is the former player Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

Under Ole Gunnar, Solksjear management had seen Ed Woodward had changed apart from the European Super League formation. Seeing the consistently good performance under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and the stabilization of the squad, which had been riled under Jose Mourinho regimen had seen Ole Gunnar Solksjaer had been given the job permanently. Ole Gunnar Solksjear is determined to bring glory day to Manchester United, and for the moment, he is on the right path.

Ed Woodward is also decided that he is not to be held ransom by other clubs anymore when buying players. Sometimes, he is also had been bought by Ole Gunnar Solksjaer idea of bringing the glory days back to United. Even when Ole Gunnar Solksjaer encounters some bad performance, Ed Woodward still preserved him even though United all-time favourite Mauricio Pochettino is available on the job. He decided to stick on Ole and made some tremendous changes in the hiring department as appointing the first-ever United Director of Football, John Murtaugh, which had seen the smooth transfer process in the current window.

Ed Woodward had made some horrible decisions in his few years that impacted Manchester United’s performance on the field. Paying over odd for a player, giving enormous wages, notorious crawling like transfer process, knee jerk reaction, and hiring player and manager who does not fit Manchester United’s principle had hurled at him. The worst situation happened when his house is attacked by the angry Manchester United, which is unjustified in any way.

However, in the final few months, he made some key changes to the United hiring department, which can be the foundation for the years to come. He also had been courageous in hiring and preserving with Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. Ole Gunnar SOlksjaear had seen bringing back United on the right path to there where they belong, winning trophies in a consistent manner.

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