Opinion: Ed Woodward Should Be Praised Not Condemned

Woodward

By Adam Hern

  • Woodward was a hero when he signed Darmian, Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin in the space of a few days
  • According to many fan pages on social media, Woodward is clueless because we didn’t sign Pedro

It has been a peculiar summer for Ed Woodward. It started off with him being lauded on social media as a genius at work after the signings of Memphis, Schweinsteiger, Darmian and Schneiderlin.

Memes were posted portraying Woodward as a God-like Mr T figure with the ability to get the players he wanted when he wanted. A few weeks later and he has rather hit a blip with Chelsea’s signing of rumoured United target Pedro. Or so the media would like to make out.

When you are the biggest football in the world and responsible for the joy of 659 million people globally, your status is always going to come under scrutiny. If something doesn’t go your way for whatever reason then questions are asked. It seemed as though Pedro was destined to leave Barcelona and arrive at the Theatre of Dreams.

Instead Chelsea pounced and the Spaniard has already made his debut and scored his first goal for the Blues. Time to get over it. There is no shift in the balance of power in the Premier League. It obviously doesn’t take a genius to work out that at the present moment in time Manchester United are not quite at the level of Chelsea and Manchester City in terms of squad.

But they are not a million miles away and Woodward has assisted Van Gaal in bringing in top talent to join the squad. The duo should be praised for what they are doing and not lamented like they have been this past week. It is so very sad seeing the media use blatant inaccuracies in their journalism. Of course Manchester United would be interested in signing Gareth Bale, Thomas Muller and Neymar. Which club in the world wouldn’t want to sign them? To suggest that United have made bids for them all and every player has turned them down point blankly is downright ludicrous.

Nicholas Otamendi did not turn down Manchester United to join City. United never wanted him in the first place but the media make out as though the player snubbed the red side of Manchester. It just didn’t happen. Instead of praising Woodward for being able to tempt Memphis to sign for United instead of PSG, the fact Manchester United will not be signing Bale this summer is the news that grabs the headlines.

Rather than showing United tempt Italy’s first choice right back out of the comfort zone of his own county and club he loves, some people would rather focus on the fact that Van Gaal and Ed Woodward would like Neymar but probably aren’t going to obtain his services just yet. Substance to most of these kinds of stories is based on nothing. Just rumours that have been heard on the grape vine.

Woodward has not brought in second rate players. He has gone out and gotten top quality signings who are able to fit Van Gaal and Manchester United’s philosophy. The players signed so far were the manager’s first choice preference. The squad may not be fully functional for the time being but they are not far off.

Woodward Has Cleared The Deadwood

With the departures of Falcao, Di Maria, Van Persie and Rafael, Woodward has managed to clear £850,000 off the weekly wage bill. Over £44 million a year saved in order to bring in top replacements. The job of clearing out the deadwood has been carried out admirably. In his press conference upon arrival at Fenerbahce, Van Persie made the statement of what an absolute gentleman Woodward was when carrying out the sale.

He portrays Manchester United at its finest. A classy vice chief executive of a classy club who treats players who have served the club with pride with respect and dignity. Of course business is business but there is a human aspect to all players. Van Gaal has stated about players being human beings in the past and Woodward seemingly shares this philosophy. Both want success and by God will we be seeing success in the not too distant future.

New signings are always going to grab headlines. If things are rosy and going well on the pitch then little else really matters for the media and supporters. People get excited when they see world class talent holding up a scarf in front of their new training ground. It is only natural. Yet the signing of such players is only a small part of Woodward’s job.

When things were coming to a head under David Moyes, Woodward was able to swallow his pride and decide that it was time to change on the manager front for the good of the club. Along with the board of directors who was brave enough to take a calculated punt on Louis van Gaal and at the moment it looks as though this choice is going to pay off.

Meanwhile, Manchester United’s commercial revenue has never been higher. Along with managing director Richard Arnold, Woodward was able to secure the mega £750 million ten year deal with Adidas to produce United’s kit. Similarly, the mega shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet is all down to Woodward and Arnold’s perseverance and hard work.

These are record deals that are not matched by any other football club in the world. Such deals allow big contracts to the best players to be offered. How many other sporting clubs are able to boast their own official Paint Partner? Ed Woodward is the best in the business. And Manchester United are the ones fortunate enough to have him.

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