There have been growing calls of late from Manchester United fans for the club to sack executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who has called the shots at Old Trafford since David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson both departed in the summer of 2013.
United supporters, who also want the Glazer family out, are furious with how the club has been mismanaged (from a footballing perspective) during the post-Ferguson era.
They believe Woodward should lose his job given how far the club has fallen over the past six-and-a-half seasons, and this sentiment was echoed by former United captain Gary Neville following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat against rivals Liverpool, who now sit 30 points clear of the fifth-placed Red Devils at the top of the Premier League table.
“If you don’t lose your job for essentially overseeing that investment, that wage bill, and putting that team out on the pitch then I have to say something is really wrong,” Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast.
“There’s real talent in that executive team … but in terms of what the club needed to do for a number of years now is put the best in class football operators into that club and they’re not doing it. They’re not doing it and it’s a mess.”
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#SackWoodward - and similar variations, including #SackEdWoodward - has been trending on Twitter over the past couple of days as frustrated Man Utd fans vent their anger following another poor performance against their fiercest rivals.
And one video, from an interview with popular former United left-back Patrice Evra, has made that particular hashtag trend even higher on Twitter.
Evra, in an interview with Soccer AM last year, explained how he reached an agreement to leave United in the summer of 2014, only for Woodward to activate the one-year option in his contract - despite giving the Frenchman his word that he wouldn’t.
Evra told Soccer AM: ”Before the end of that season Ed told me: 'Patrice, you're going to stay for another year because we've got an option in your contract.’
"But I told him I can’t because of family reasons. He shook my hand and said he said ‘Yes, of course. I understand. You’ve been a great servant for the club, we’re going to really miss you - and we won’t sign your option.’
“Then in May I was having dinner in Dubai on my birthday and had a text from my agent.
"He told me to go somewhere quiet and sent me a message with the statement from United saying they were pleased to renew my contract for another year. I went mad. I said ‘you can’t renew that option’. But either the club or myself could do it.
“Ed gave me his [word] and he said he won’t [sign the option], so I felt really disappointed.
"I called him, I swore on the phone, I threatened him. It was a bad call. He said I couldn't talk to the director of football like that and that he was going to fine me. It was a bad moment. I didn’t even finish eating, I just left [the restaurant].
“I tried to call him back. He didn’t answer at first, but then he answered and said ‘if you be polite, we talk, if not…’
“I then start to be polite - ‘why did you do that?’ - and then I started to swear again, so he put the phone down.
"After that Ryan Giggs called and said I couldn't leave just because of one man, but it gave me an excuse to leave. I'd already said to my wife we were going to leave, but inside I didn't ever really feel I could. That gave me a little push."
A genuine mistake on Woodward’s part or a snide attempt to force Evra into staying?
United fans are convinced it’s the latter…
However, supporters who are desperate to see the back of Woodward will be disheartened by a tweet sent by ESPN’s Mark Ogden on Tuesday.
“For all the criticism directed at Ed Woodward recently, worth nothing that MUFC share price has gone from $15.33 in October to $20.25 today,” the journalist revealed. “That will always be a big tick in his favour with the Glazers. Safest man at Old Trafford.”
It seems Woodward, for the time being at least, isn’t going anywhere.News Now - Sport News