Just like that, Manchester United’s future no longer includes Ed Woodward.
The 49-year-old became executive vice-chairman in 2012 and controversially became chief brass at Old Trafford after David Gill’s retirement in 2013.
Since then, he has presided over a few years in the world where he has been at the center of more than his fair share of controversy.
But after the collapse of the European Premier League, it was confirmed that Woodward will step aside at the end of 2021 and leave the club.
From some gripping moments in the stands to being criticized by players and former managers, it’s fair to say that Woodward didn’t 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.
“Brad” Evra and Herrera’s “disagreement”
It’s an integral part of the sport that players come and go.
But Woodward has been publicly criticized by two Manchester United fan favorites after he left the club.
When Ander Herrera left for Paris Saint-Germain in 2019, he cited “disagreements” with Woodward as the cause of a move that upset many supporters.
“It wasn’t about money,” Herrera insisted The Athletics . “It wasn’t about the length 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 who gave everything. I never complained. I never went to the media to complain about anything. I never put a bad face on any manager, any board member, and they waited until I I have five or six months left on my contract.
“That’s why I had some disagreements with them.”
Meanwhile, Patrice Evra went much further in capturing Woodward and noted that he felt “betrayed” by the club where he won five Premier League and Champions League medals before leaving in 2014.
Evra said The guardian : “I felt betrayed by Ed. I called Juventus to tell them I was 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 you? Manchester is almost in the Championship and you are in [the Champions League final]. ‘
“I love Juventus but I said: ‘Even if they are in the Championship, I still prefer United. Nothing can replace my love for them.'”
Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘debate’ and the Phil Jones event
The magnifying glass has always shone on Ed Woodward while watching games in the stands – and has captured some controversial moments.
In October 2019, a clip of Woodward who appeared to talk to Phil Jones at the London Stadium went viral on social media, but later explained that he was not talking to the defender.
“Phil was talking about whether or not decisions were chaos,” he explained in an interview with United We Stand club fanzine.
“There was a mess and I turned around to Rebecca Britain, our club secretary [and said] ‘Was that a yellow card on it? Dip? ”
However, that was nothing compared to when cameras captured what appeared to be a heated exchange with Sir Alex Ferguson during a match against Sheffield United in November 2019.
Although details of the exchange were never revealed, many speculated that the pair were involved in a disagreement.
Whether or not that was the case in public, it was widely reported that Ferguson and Woodward clashed at times.
Sky Sports News claimed that Ferguson had been ignored by Woodward over his recommendation of Steve Walsh, the former head of recruitment at Leicester, for a consultancy role.
The Daily Mail reported in 2019 that Ferguson had been ‘hurt’ after being frozen out by Woodward and felt his views were no longer valued at his former club.
Criticism of Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal was the chief Woodward appointed to replace David Moyes in May 2014.
He won the FA Cup but was promptly dismissed two days later and replaced by Jose Mourinho.
Van Gaal has since been outspoken in his criticism of Woodward, claiming he has his “head in a nose” at Old Trafford.
In May 2020, Van Gaal told the Mirror: “The hardest thing was trying to survive as Manchester United manager when I had my head in a nose for six months.
“From January until the end of term, my wife Truus warned me. She’s a woman – and a woman has an instinct for things like this.
“I didn’t see what Woodward was doing, but women have different qualities than men. I didn’t really sense that they were plotting something.
“I was absolutely convinced that I would be able to see my contract and get a third season at United. And this was the biggest surprise of my life when Woodward dismissed me.
“I had faced opposition internally in other clubs and federations before. But that was nothing compared to what I had to endure at Man United.
“In Barcelona, I walked away because I was loyal to the president. I waved £ 5m away. But my principles were more important at United – I had achieved so much there. ”
Van Gaal, who has also had periods in charge of Ajax, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and the Netherlands, 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 – someone with no understanding of football who was formerly an investment banker.
“It can only be a good thing when a club is run from a commercial 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.
In a detailed article focusing on his personal relationships with staff and players, they recalled a text alleged to have abused United’s goal recorder.
Woodward is reported to have texted Rooney the words “Hi Wazza, love the game” after which United beat Everton 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final in 2016, where Anthony Martial scored a last-minute winner.
The Athletic went on to say: “Rooney had played well in a new midfield role but, quite frankly, he was not impressed by his attempts to become a matey.
Woodward’s overly personal approach has never gone down well with United’s record goalscorer, and perhaps this offers an insight into his position among club players.