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United Supporters Call For Ed’s Head

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Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward would do well to fly under the radar for the foreseeable future, following a summer transfer window which can be fairly described as ridiculous, by Manchester United’s supporters at any rate. Two acquisitions in three months, neither of them high-profile, wasn’t exactly what the fans would have been hoping for, and it must be galling to have been outspent by Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, whose reputation for refusing to spend large sums was spectacularly shattered through the €50 million signing of Mesut Özil on Monday, the same player who was reportedly offered to United at some stage last week. Newly promoted from his previous role as United’s head of commercial operation, Woodward has spent the summer having a rude awakening as he discovers that handling player transfers is a whole new ball game compared to thrashing out sponsorship deals, and that his own negotiation skills aren’t as fantastic as he evidently expected.

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Fellaini’s acquisition on Monday appeared more of a panic buy by United to appease supporters.

The lack of high-profile signings isn’t what is getting on fans nerves the most, however, it’s the manner in which United have conducted themselves throughout the transfer window as a whole, often airing their business in public rather than behind the scenes, as we were more used to seeing (or not) with Sir Alex and David Gill in charge. Cesc Fabregas was always highly unlikely to leave Barcelona for United, yet Moyes continued to chase the player in public. And the bizarre joint and low bids for Everton pair Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines rightly brought an angry rejection from Everton as United tried to sign the pair on the cheap, ending up abandoning Baines and forking out an extra £4 million for the Belgian midfielder at the 11th hour on transfer deadline day. And in between there were plenty more big players linked with United, with Woodward leaving the club’s tour in Australia early to conduct ‘urgent transfer business’ back in Europe, which resulted in a big nothing. Supporters had their hopes raised and dashed with attempts to sign Thiago Alcantara, Baines and Sami Khedira all rebuffed while a last minute loan bid for Fabio Coentrao also fell through. For United fans, the situation would almost be comical if it wasn’t happening at their own club, having been previously assured by Woodward that “our top priority is strengthening the squad to ensure we are best-positioned for successful runs in all the major competitions next season.”

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Arsenal broke their transfer record on German International Özil.

An open letter to Woodward posted on fansite mufclatest.com has voiced the opinion of thousands of United supporters around the globe. “MUFCLatest stated way back in May we’d heard Fabregas wanted the club and that we would bid. 2+2=4 right? Wrong. The club ended up looking pathetic, chasing a player that seemingly didn’t want to come and annoying a club with repeated bids when they obviously don’t want to sell. Again a decisive bid that would have forced Barcelona’s hand and we have our man. Instead of bidding tedious amounts call them up and ask them how much. Barca have money trouble and we have money. It’s easy to work this out. I’m not even getting started on the shambles that is Ander Herrera. You have a player with a release fee who is willing to take a pay cut to join and you still balls it up. Are you the CEO of Manchester United football club or are you some sort of bumbling, incompetent Ricky Gervais character?” Perhaps, as The Guardian’s Daniel Harris has suggested, Woodward knows exactly what he’s doing, and is quietly supporting the club’s green and yellow anti-Glazer brigade. “Maybe Ed Woodward is deliberately making the Glazers pay more for Fellaini, and bringing down the system from within. Clever clever.”

Some fans have unsurprisingly been pining for Sir Alex Ferguson and even David Gill, under whose tenure top striker Robin van Persie was signed this time last year. “I hope Sir Alex recovers from his hip operation and takes his place on the board and tears you a new arse. I’ve never seen a more farcical transfer window from United,” the letter continues. United fans will undoubtedly be regretting the day Gill departed, wishing instead he could have held the reins for just a little longer, to teach Woodward a thing or two. Some are already calling for Woodward’s head, and one or two for Moyes’ alongside. As Sir Alex requested of the supporters last May, supporters should be willing to give both men time to settle into two of the biggest jobs in club football, and at least wait until the end of this season to begin to judge. For Moyes, his solid reputation should see him through, combined with the talent of players like Van Persie, Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney and the leadership abilities of men like Ryan Giggs. For Woodward, however, his task of asserting himself as the man for his job is the more difficult one. He’s already on a slippery slope, and it’s a long time until next May.

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