Ed Woodward’s Manchester United exit has been a long time coming.
His time as Executive Vice-Chairman had been a failure for years before his involvement in the European Super League led to him announcing his intention to step down in April.
As it turned out, saying he was planning to leave Old Trafford was not quite the same as actually doing it for Woodward, who will have overseen a further two transfer windows by the time he finally departs.
His exit date has now been confirmed by the club as February 1, when Richard Arnold will step up as chief executive.
Predictably, Joel Glazer has paid tribute to Woodward as the details of his departure have finally been decided.
Glazer said: “I would like to thank Ed for his tireless work on behalf of Manchester United during his nine years as Executive Vice-Chairman and 16 years with the club.
“We are now looking forward to Richard and his leadership team opening a new phase in the club’s evolution, with ambitious plans for investment in Old Trafford, the strengthening of our engagement with fans, and continued drive towards our most important objective – winning on the pitch.”
On Woodward’s watch, there have been failures in terms of managerial appointments, hanging onto bosses too long, contract extensions to the wrong players, bungled transfer targets and too much focus on the commercial side of football – to name just a few of the issues.
United have invested more than £1 billion on Woodward’s watch since Sir Alex Ferguson, according to the Athletic.
The absence of competence and long-term planning means that United have an interim manager and an expensive, imbalanced squad once again looking at a rebuild and scratching around to qualify for the Champions League.
On the face of it, Arnold looks like another commercial expert cut from the same cloth, but the end of the Woodward era should not be sniffed at and his successor has an opportunity to learn from his mistakes.
Woodward helped the Glazers take control of United back in 2005 and his legacy at the club is not a good one, although it was predictable that he would receive warm words from at least one of them on his way out.
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