Archives For Ed Woodward

Dear Ed,

I was very lucky to get a ticket to the Cup Final, and had a wonderful time before, during and after – except I can’t shake off a lingering sadness over the way Louis Van Gaal was sacked. Sure you have the right to fire a manager you believe is taking the club in the wrong direction; sure you can plot who will replace him, that makes good business sense. But the months long saga and the not so coy dance with Jose Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes, coupled with “someone” leaking the news of Mourinho’s imminent appointment and therefore Van Gaal’s sacking about 50 minutes after the Cup Final ended smacks of bleak times ahead again, Ed.

Who will really run United now? You, Mourinho or Mendes?

Of course you’ll still be the money guy signing up the sponsors, because as you once said:

‘All we’re doing is selling diamonds. We don’t make the diamonds. The diamonds have been made by the 135-year history of the club and the players. We just set up the right structures to sell it.’

Got it.

But who takes care of that 135 year history and tradition of the club?

Listening to a radio interview on the ride home from Wembley Paddy Crerand gave both barrels to the BBC reporters who broke the story of Mourinho’s appointment. “Where did the story come from?” an indignant Paddy kept asking. Obviously the reporters couldn’t say: “Well Paddy, we got a call or a text, or a What’s App message, or whatever, from Mr.Mendes.” Paddy also pointed out he’d just walked out of the dressing room where: “I’ve just seen Ed Woodward with his arms around the manager, laughing and joking and celebrating the win.” Ed did you know the leak was about to happen, just like it did the last time you sacked a manager? Actually you are damned if you did and damned if you didn’t.  United are two for two during your reign. Both David Moyes and Van Gaal discovered via a call or text from their wife or friends they were about to be ex-United managers.

Is this the United way these days?

Eric Cantona gave an insightful interview to the Guardian on Tuesday in which he reflected on the marriage of business and football:

“Today you have almost all overseas owners, coming from all around the world. It depends how you direct the club. If you don’t have an American businessman, you will have an English businessman, If you don’t have an English businessman, you will have a Chinese businessman or a Malaysian businessman. They are all the same. It’s a business. The difference is that maybe an English businessman knows more about the soul of the club and the community.”

Is Cantona right Ed? Do you know more about the soul of the club and the community? Do you think the fans however much some of them disliked Van Gaal’s or Moyes’ football would agree with the way both found out they were about to be sacked?

Cantona also reflected on the Mourinho appointment:

“I love José Mourinho, but in terms of the type of football he plays I don’t think he is Manchester United, I love his personality, I love the passion he has for the game, his humour. He is very intelligent, he demands 100% of his players. And of course he wins things.

“But I don’t think it’s the type of football that the fans of Manchester United will love, even if they win. He can win with Manchester United. But do they expect that type of football, even if they win? I don’t think so.”

So here we are. Peek a boo.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 6.34.05 PM

It’s likely Mourinho will be officially named by late Wednesday. The  transfer war chest is filled, new recruits will arrive. Zlatan? Matic? who knows who else because the list is endless. The media is ready, and where to begin? Let’s not forget the ready to be revved up feud with Pep Guardiola, and the not settled yet court case for unfair dismissal brought by Chelsea’s former team doctor Eva Carneiro. Mourinho may have to give evidence in that case when it begins June 6th. Now entering the dock the manager of Manchester United.

So in conclusion Ed, as noted, I had a great day watching the football at the final. The ongoing development of Rashford,  Martial, and Fosu-Mensa; the return of Shaw; and the retention of De Gea are all things to look forward to next season. I just wish I felt that 135 year old history of the club was in decent hands.


Louis-van-Gaal5Close but no cigar as in the end a lack of composure costs a vital 2pts, but a spirited performance, brilliance from De Gea and a wonderful goal from Lingard. Now United have to play like this for the rest of the season. It’s as simple as that. It’s going to take championship winning form to get back into the top 4, and it’s also not in United’s hands. Leicester, bless their hearts, are 12 points clear. There are 13 games left, so it’s Arsenal, City or Tottenham who have to be overhauled unless Leicester implode.

You can’t help feel for Van Gaal. All week he’s had to deal with the Mourinho rumors. They are coming from somewhere. It’s either Woodward or his new best friend super agent Jorge Mendes, or both. And it’s disgraceful. Why would you allow that kind of speculation to affect and potentially disrupt the team unless there is some sort of twisted corporate Darwinian plan at work. “Let’s pile the pressure on, pressure produces results” kind of thing. Why would you not come out and say we will deal with the speculation at the end of the season when the club will review everyone’s performance? Instead just because City have made an announcement about Pep, someone feels the supporters want to be mollified by hearing United aren’t standing still either?  Oh City have hired the most sought after manager in the world, his brother is a player agent too. Right then,  let’s get our version in the Mourinho managed Mendes. Then we will have a better shot at the players we desperately need.  Perfect combination, manager and agent working together on players who are in the same family? Wonder why Falcao went to Chelsea?

Manchester is going mad. Outside ownership of both clubs. Global dollars at stake. Football as gigantic mega business.

Somehow all this seems the more meaningful because it’s the Munich anniversary.


Ed, if those Manchester flowers will never be forgotten don’t go dragging the club’s legacy in the mud by conspiring with Mendes, behind the current manager’s back. And let’s none of us fall for that open collar banker speak: “the club is just ensuring it’s covering all bases and putting itself in the right position to make a decision” nonsense. We know stuff goes on all the time. Players and managers are tapped, arrangements made, deals done. I’ll bet now, for instance, that Guardiola has spoken to the players he wants next season. It’s a certainty. The question however remains the same: Why are both clubs potentially damaging their seasons by City publicly humiliating the current manager by announcing his successor, and United immediately reacting by leaking they are in conversation with the leading candidate to replace Van Gaal?

Meanwhile United’s players responded brilliantly in the past two games, and City were dreadful yesterday. There is a real chance this mid season soap opera ends badly for both clubs. Don’t challenge the football gods. Leicester are proof that money, marketing, and Machiavellism don’t always triumph.

God I hope Leicester win the title. I hope the Glazers sell, and I’d be happy if United keep playing football like they did yesterday and put some joy in the supporter’s hearts.

Now that’s what you call a rant.

P.S. I’ve been yelling about Depay all season, and his idiocy by not holding on to the ball or playing a better pass just before Chelsea’s goal cost the game yesterday.