Beginning of the end: Ed Woodward tellingly absent from Rangnick statement

Manchester United announced Ralf Rangnick as interim manager this week, taking the next step forward after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rangnick will have scope beyond just being first team boss. After this season he will be a consultant for two years.

The German coach will be able to have a say in hiring United’s permanent manager, and he will also be able to have input in developing the club’s coaching, academy, and recruitment.

Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images

Beginning of the end for Woodward

United appointed John Murtough as director of football earlier this year, with Darren Fletcher supporting him as technical director.


Rangnick’s expertise will help both, and it was telling that as he was announced, Murtough’s words were included in the official club statement – with Ed Woodward nowhere to be seen.

Murtough said: “Ralf is one of the most respected coaches and innovators in European football. He was our number one candidate for interim manager, reflecting the invaluable leadership and technical skills he will bring from almost four decades of experience in management and coaching.

“Everyone at the club is looking forward to working with him during the season ahead, and then for a further two years in his advisory role.”

The Athletic reported Murtough was actively involved in United’s interim search, and while Ed Woodward and likely replacement Richard Arnold were too – it is telling that it is Murtough’s name on the club statement and not Woodward’s.

Woodward gave a statement a week prior when United sacked Solskjaer.

This time, he was nowhere to be seen. Thankfully.

Time to move on

After Solskjaer’s departure, we called for Ed Woodward to step away and move aside. He has been at the club eight years, is set to leave soon, and he should leave immediately too after his reign of failure.

Woodward handed in his overdue resignation back in April. He is scheduled to leave at the end of December.

Sky Sports had reported that possibly he could hang around into 2022 to assist with the manager search. He won’t be needed and he won’t be missed.

Rangnick has experience in a strategic role for clubs, and prospective managers would happily pick up the phone and speak to him, when they may not have entertained a call with Woodward.

Photo by Simon Hofmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

He has vast experience as director of football for both RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg over the past decade, and he is a figure United should have appointed long before Murtough was even considered for the role.

Rangnick will be teaching Murtough, not the other way around, and it is no surprise Woodward’s name was left off United’s statement. The incoming interim boss and consultant will no doubt want Woodward as far away from football operations as possible – just like supporters do.

Woodward can leave as planned at the end of December, and finally leave football matters to the professionals.

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