Man United fans celebrate after Ed Woodward's exit is confirmed

‘He has been the biggest poison’: Manchester United fans celebrate the news Ed Woodward will leave at the end of January – but many fear replacement Richard Arnold will just be a ‘Woodward 2.0’

  • Manchester United fans have celebrated the news of Ed Woodward’s exit
  • Woodward will leave his role as executive vice-chairman at the end of January
  • Richard Arnold, currently the club’s managing director, will replace Woodward 
  • Arnold will become the first Chief Executive at Old Trafford since David Gill 

Manchester United fans joined in celebration following Thursday morning’s announcement that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will step down from his role at the end of January, with Richard Arnold set to take over. 

Woodward, 50, first announced his resignation in April last year following the collapse of the failed European Super League project, though with the intention of remaining in his role until the end of the year, when he had reportedly already planned to exit the club. 

Reports emerged in November stating Woodward could extend his stay well beyond the end of 2021, with the club then managerless following the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a vacancy since filled by Ralf Rangnick. 

United’s turbulent spell has not eased since Rangnick’s arrival, with morale at a low point after the German inherited a largely divided dressing-room, and Woodward will indeed continue to attend board meetings until June to help smooth the transition of power. He won’t maintain a consultancy role beyond then, however.      

United’s current managing director, Arnold, has been promoted from within and will replace the departing Woodward, though with the title of Chief Executive, making him the club’s first CEO since David Gill, who stepped down in 2013. 

Woodward has been targeted by supporters with United winning just three trophies during his near 10-year spell in charge – despite spending more than £1billion on players – after first joining the club as part of the £790million takeover at Old Trafford by the Glazer family in 2005.

Ed Woodward (right) is set to leave his role as Manchester United executive vice-chairman at the end of the month, with Richard Arnold (left) to take over, though with the title of CEO

Woodward’s exit brings an end to a tumultuous period following the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, with managers David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer all since proving unsuccessful.   

He was also responsible for signing Harry Maguire in a world record £80m move, bringing in Paul Pogba for a staggering £89m and a number of failed transfers, including the likes of Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria. 

And a number of fans took to Twitter to voice their joy following the news. 

One fan wrote: ‘Like I keep saying, blame the players all you want but also consider players have their good sense and they know when a club is ran poorly. Woodward has been the biggest poison to United, (more) than the Glazers, any manager or player and it’s all coming to the fore.’

Another wrote: ‘I would argue Woodward has been the single worst person at United in the nearly four decades I have been a fan. He should be remembered for exactly how not to run a football club, nothing else.’

Manchester United fans celebrated the news that Ed Woodward is to leave the club this month

Arnold, previously United’s commercial director, will have a significant challenge ahead, with the Manchester club currently seventh in the Premier League and four points of the top-four, albeit with a game in hand.  

Joel Glazer (left) thanked Woodward (right) ‘for his tireless work on behalf of Manchester United during his nine years as executive vice-chairman and 16 years with the club’

The new CEO expressed his delight upon the announcement of his new role, saying: ‘I am honoured to have the chance to serve this great club and its fans. I am determined to return that honour in any way I can.’ 

A number of fans are not quite convinced by the new appointment, however. 

One fan took to Twitter to write: ‘I honestly thought the day Woodward leaves Man Utd it would be a great day and would mean the Glazers are getting ready to f**k off but appointing Woodward’s best mate shows how far behind the times we are. Awful.’

Another fan, clearly equally as unimpressed, insisted Arnold will simply be a new version of his predecessor.  

A number of United fans were less than impressed by the appointment of Arnold as CEO

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