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Man Utd squad’s astonishment at Ed Woodward behaviour explained after Atalanta win


Manchester United players are surprised at Ed Woodward and his presence around the club despite tendering his resignation earlier in the year, reports say. The Red Devils supremo wasn’t at Old Trafford for Wednesday night’s Champions League win over Atalanta. But he was almost certainly watching on from home.

Manchester United looked set to lose to Atalanta after first half goals from Mario Palasic and Merih Demiral put the visitors in front.

However, after the break, the Red Devils were drastically improved.

United rallied through goals from Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire, lifting the crowd inside Old Trafford in the process.

And Cristiano Ronaldo then struck in the 81st minute to secure all three points, bagging in his third Champions League match in a row.

For the match, Woodward wasn’t there.

But The Athletic say United players have been surprised by his continuous presence around the club, despite resigning from his post earlier in the year.

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Woodward chose to step down from his position of vice executive-chairman in the wake of the European Super League debacle and players had been expecting a ‘swift’ exit.

But that hasn’t happened, with the 49-year-old still working hard behind the scenes. 

Though United apologised for trying to form a breakaway league, the Red Devils supremo decided it was the right time to walk away.

However, he’s still involved at the club.

Woodward has been to watch them twice since the Super League plans fell through – Ronaldo’s second debut against Newcastle and the defeat by Aston Villa.

And he was also said to be involved in all three of their major signings during the summer transfer window.

He supposedly called Joel Glazer to press home the commercial benefits of bringing Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.

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Yet while that’s the case, it’s claimed he’s now stepping ‘back’ from daily duties, having not been seen at Carrington since April.

John Murtough is taking ‘some of the reins’ for the time being.

But the expectancy is that Richard Arnold will replace Woodward, especially due to his close relationship with the Glazers.

In his farewell letter to fans, Woodward insisted he was happy with his United legacy despite the club failing to win the Champions League or Premier League during his tenure.

“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,” he said.

“The club is well positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year.

“I will treasure the memories from my time at Old Trafford, during a period when we won the Europa League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. I am proud of the regeneration of the club’s culture and our return to the Manchester United way of playing.

“We have invested more than £1bn in the squad during my time here and I am particularly delighted with the progress the players have made under the astute leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching team in the last two years.

“I am sure that with the changes we have made on-field and to the coaching and football staff in recent years this great club will soon be lifting silverware again. It deserves to.

“I desperately wanted the club to win the Premier League during my tenure and I am certain the foundations are in place for us to win it back for our passionate fans.

“Our world-famous academy is flourishing again, with 34 players progressing into the first team since 2013, and it has been a pleasure to watch talents such as Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Axel Tuanzebe flourish in the first team environment. In the years to come the club’s production line of young talent will continue to push established first team players for their places. That competition bodes well for the future.

“We have also established Manchester United Women and their progress is further evidence of the demand for success at this great club.

“The last 16 months have brought so many unique challenges and the club’s work in the community and around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic has been heroic.

“The financial impact on football clubs has been severe, but United have been one of the most robust and resilient in the face of extraordinary financial pressures.

“I would like to thank United’s passionate fans for their support during the good and bad times. I know this has been a challenging period in our history, but your support for the team has never, ever been in doubt.

“Finally, it has been a pleasure to work with so many magnificent, talented and hard-working people.”





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