Manchester United chief Ed Woodward insists he is the right man for the job and says the club are ‘on the right track’ despite their stuttering start to the season.
United’s fortunes have declined in recent seasons and they have won just twice in their opening nine fixtures of the new Premier League season, with the club having failed to mount a sustained title challenge since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, which also coincided with Woodward’s arrival as chief executive in 2013.
Woodward has often been an unpopular figure among the club’s fans, who feel the former investment banker has favoured commercial success over on-field fortunes in recent seasons, often criticising his lack of footballing experience.
However, speaking in an interview with fanzine United We Stand, Woodward has backed himself as the man to take the club forward and when asked whether he is the right man for the job, the Manchester United executive vice-chairman gave a definitive answer.
“Yes [I am],” he said.
“I understand the scrutiny; it’s part of the job. And I don’t want to be famous and can’t be mates with the players.
Woodward out banner flies above Old Trafford pic.twitter.com/1Nc27l2g8e
— Charlotte Duncker (@CharDuncker) October 20, 2019
“But we have to do everything we possibly can to get back to winning the Premier League. We are not successful until we do. Second is not success – we have to win the Premier League.”
Woodward was involved in helping the Glazer family’s takeover of the club in 2005, with the American family subsequently loading the club with over £700 million of debt.
However, Woodward was dismissive of the impact that the debt has on the club’s operations, saying the Red Devils are ‘financially strong’ and ‘self-sustaining’.
“The debt is long-term, structured and similar to some other football clubs,” he added.
“It’s just under 2% of our annual revenue so it doesn’t really have any impact on us. If you look at the way the approach changed under the Glazers for commercial activity, that has brought in an extra £2.5-£3bn. We have spent a lot of money on players.
“We are financially strong. We are self-sustaining. We don’t have an umbilical cord that we are concerned about. There’s negativity about us doing sponsorship deals but they allow us to do things in the transfer market which other clubs struggle to do.
“We absolutely feel we are on the right track to getting back to winning trophies.”