In an ordinary football world, Ed Woodward walking into Manchester United’s Carrington training ground with a smug look vaguely resembling the one above would be nothing but pure fantasy.
But we’re not living in an ordinary football world now, far from it.
Instead, we’re living in a football world rocked by the shock announcement that 12 teams, including Woodward’s Glazers owned Red Devils, want to shake up the footballing landscape as we know it by creating a breakaway Super League.
So far, there’s been public condemnation and outcry from 99.9% of people not involved in and fiery accusations galore from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin – box office reading if you haven’t caught up on what he’s said.
But what about the reaction of those involved at United?
Nobody outside of the top brass would have had any idea what Woodward and the Glazer family have been planning for the past few months, meaning Sunday night’s bombshell announcement was as much of a surprise to them as it was to you and me.
Well, MailOnlineSport report that Woodward, recognising that things might be a little frosty, attempted to appease the situation early Monday morning when he rocked up at United’s Carrington training base.
He held a Zoom call with the players to brief them on the club’s plans, detailing the reasons behind United‘s decision to join this breakaway venture. Woodward is understood to have promoted becoming a founding member as ‘being in the club’s best interests’, though the reaction of the players was ‘lukewarm’ at best and they were ‘seriously unimpressed’ with what he had to say.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also felt he’d been ‘thrown under the bus’, having been forced to front up to the media on the subject in the aftermath of United’s 3-1 Premier League win over Burnley at Old Trafford, while Bruno Fernandes responded to an Instagram post from international teammate Daniel Podence with the comment “there’s some things we just can’t really pay for”.
Woodward has never been a popular figure at United, owing to the club’s questionable transfer business and strategy since he was appointed as executive vice-chairman. A bad relationship with United’s fans is one thing, but his relationship with UEFA president Ceferin is likely to be the talk of the town for the foreseeable future.
Speaking early Monday afternoon, UEFA’s chief called Woodward – as well as Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli – a “snake”, revealing how he’d said only last Thursday that he was pleased with the governing body’s proposals to reform the Champions League.
“If I start with Ed Woodward, he called me last Thursday evening saying he’s very satisfied with and fully supports the reforms and the only thing he want to talk about was FFP, when obviously he had already signed something else,” Ceferin said in an explosive press conference.
“Andrea Agnelli is the biggest disappointment of all, I’ve never seen a person that would lie so many times, so persistently as he did. It’s unbelievable. We didn’t know we had snakes so close to us, now we know.”