Chevrolet's reported stance only increases the pressure on Ed Woodward

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United’s shirt sponsors Chevrolet are highly unlikely to renew their current deal with the club in light of the lack of on-pitch success at Old Trafford.

Ed Woodward has always been stronger on the commercial side than the football one, but this presents a new challenge for him. How will he respond?

What does the report say?

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The report says that the current agreement is worth £410 million with the car giant and was signed in 2012 when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge.

It came into force in 2014, by which time Ferguson had retired and his replacement David Moyes had been succeeded by Louis van Gaal.


Renewing the seven-year deal has already been discussed and it is apparently highly unlikely that will happen.

The report outlines one source saying it was never going to be renewed, with Chevrolet feeling they had ‘massively overpaid’ to have their logo on the famous red shirt.

There is of course a school of thought that United’s lack of success during the agreement has also played a major part – and Ferguson leaving before the deal even came into play can’t have helped

How will Woodward respond?

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This creates a major conundrum for Woodward. He has always insisted that United can continue to make money on the commercial side irrespective of performance on the pitch.

But United’s history and brand will only take them so far. Brands don’t want to be associated with a football club that is losing matches regularly.

More than that, United are boring. They are not a dynamic, exciting, modern club that companies want to be attached to.

That will be the biggest challenge for Woodward as he sets about finding a replacement sponsor who are willing to play as much – or even more than – Chevrolet.

United need to show that they can attract a big-name, big-money sponsor and compete with the big-hitters in that sense.

Their attempts to get back to the top of English football will likely be bankrolled by money gleaned on the commercial side from years of being at the forefront on that front.

But if their commercial appeal starts to wane, the cash will begin to dry up too.

Make no mistake about it, this is a real test for Woodward. It’s in his favoured area, so if he can’t pass it with flying colours, it would remove any illusion of competence from his United tenure.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.