Ed Woodward’s ultimate ambition is to see Man United become Premier League champions again

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Manchester United are in a mess right now.

The Red Devils are so far removed from Sir Alex Ferguson’s successful era that the days of Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and co. seem like a lifetime ago.

Now under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - their fourth manager since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 - the club aren’t in a dire position on the pitch.

They currently sit 12th in the Premier League table after winning just two of the first eight games of the 2019/20 season

The gap between themselves and Liverpool and Manchester City isn’t closing; it’s only widening.

While some fans want Solskjaer gone - #OleOut was trending on Twitter after the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United last weekend - some believe the problem goes higher than the Norwegian.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward oversaw the transitional period following Ferguson’s departure without much success.

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The Athletic have penned an in-depth piece into Woodward, who bears responsibility for the state of Man United.

Woodward met the Glazer family, who own the club, after joining JP Morgan’s international mergers and acquisitions team in 1999.

He was appointed the late Malcolm Glazer’s ‘chief of staff’ and took charge of United’s commercial operations in 2007.

The club’s supporters probably haven’t heard from Woodward as much as they would like to - but whether they like what he has to say remains in doubt.

“Playing performance doesn’t really have a meaningful impact on what we do on the commercial side,” he told an investor concerned about results last year.

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United’s global popularity means they will always make money. Last month they announced record annual revenues of £627 million.

The list of financial, global, media and regional sponsors reaches more than 70.

And Woodward still retains a desire to see Man United return to the top.

Fans may be disgruntled. A banner that read “Ed Woodward specialist in failure” flew over Turf Moor last year.

But those close to the executive vice-chairman say his “ultimate ambition” is to see United become Premier League champions again.

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It’s going to take a well-thought out plan to achieve that goal.

Short-term, they’re some way adrift of Manchester City and Liverpool.

Their long-term prospects may offer some hope but there is still cause for concern.

Man United have some exciting players coming through the youth ranks but Man City possess one of the finest academies in the world.

And we’ve seen in recent years that the problems can’t be solved just by chucking money at them.

The Red Devils need a smart and rational plan but it’s unclear whether Woodward and the Glazers are the right ones to lead that pain.

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