‘He knew it would get hot in the kitchen and he got out of there’: Gary Neville insists Ed Woodward ‘knew his time was up’ was up at Man United after backlash for playing key role in setting up the European Super League
Gary Neville claims that Ed Woodward has resigned from his role as Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman as he knew he would come in for huge criticism over the coming months.
Woodward became the first victim of the ill-fated European Super League on Tuesday night as it was announced he would step down from his role at United come the end of the season.
Woodward was a key figure in fiercely controversial plans for the new breakaway league, with his links to US investment bank JP Morgan helping to secure the £4.3billion in financing. And it is hard to see how his imminent departure is not linked to the doomed European venture.
Ed Woodward has resigned from his role as Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman
And former United and England right back Neville, who has been one of the leading sporting figures in hitting out at the European Super League, claims that Woodward knew his ‘time was up’ at Old Trafford before urging other high-ranking executives involved in the proposals to be thrown out with him.
‘We obviously don’t know why the timing is now,’ Neville said on Sky Sports. ‘The leeches could’ve thrown him under the bus or it could’ve been the sensible thing has happened.
‘Ed Woodward knew it would get hot in the kitchen and he had to get out of there.
‘Every single executive who sits at the Premier League table, on these UEFA and FIFA committees, they need throwing out of that club. There is no way they can be trusted.
‘Ed Woodward knew his time in football was finished. Ed Woodward is the trunk of the tree, we now need to go for the roots.’
Gary Neville has been a leading figure in hitting out against the European Super League
Woodward leaves United after eight years at the helm and 16 years after he first became involved as part of the £790million takeover at Old Trafford by the Glazer family in 2005.
He has been credited with overseeing a 500 per cent growth in commercial revenue from £47m in 2005 to £279m in 2020, but also criticised for opening up the United brand to ‘noodle sponsorships’ around the globe.
Woodward has been held responsible by supporters for United winning only three trophies during his time in charge, and his Cheshire home was targeted by an angry mob in January 2020.
It is understood that the 49-year-old’s agreement with the American owners — and co-chairman Joel Glazer in particular — is said to be amicable.
Woodward informed his staff of the decision on Tuesday and was said to be ‘pretty emotional’ about ending his association with the club.
The creation of the European Super League was met by widespread backlash from supporters
The Super League was officially suspended on Tuesday night as all six English clubs – Man City, United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham – formally withdrew.
On another dramatic night when Chelsea fans staged a mass protest outside Stamford Bridge before their Premier League clash with Brighton, City and Chelsea began the process of killing off the rebel league less than 48 hours after its launch by pulling out late in the afternoon, putting huge pressure on the other 10 founder members to follow suit, as they held crisis talks over their exit strategies.
No sooner had they thrown in the towel than Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, one of the architects of the new rebel movement, sensationally announced his resignation. And, before the night was through, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham had followed suit.
A statement from the Super League then followed, in which it confirmed it ‘shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project’.