Ferguson had two issues with ex-Man Utd chief Woodward as report reveals details of ‘frosty relationship’

Joe Williams
Legendary Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson and Ed Woodward had a ‘frosty relationship’ with a report highlighting the key differences between the former Man Utd executive vice-chairman and Richard Arnold.

Arnold was appointed to succeed Woodward in February last year, with his first major move to seal a deal for Erik ten Hag to be the club’s new manager.

Woodward was credited for bringing lucrative sponsorship contracts to the club in his role as head of commercial and media operations, which he left in 2012 to join the Man Utd board of directors as executive vice-chairman.

He was criticised heavily by pundits and supporters for his mismanagement of the club’s recruitment with Woodward partly responsible for breaking the world transfer record to bring Paul Pogba back to Man Utd from Juventus in August 2016.

Woodward was only in his role as executive vice-chairman for a year while Ferguson was still manager of Man Utd with the legendary Scot retiring in 2013.

But Ferguson has still had an influence at the club in the years since with The Athletic claiming Woodward attempted to put ‘more distance between the club’ and its former manager.

And, in an article about Arnold, The Athletic insist that a key difference in how Arnold and Woodward run the football club is best demonstrated by their respective relationships with Man Utd legend Ferguson.

Journalist Laurie Whitwell wrote in The Athletic:

‘Another major strand that separates Woodward and Arnold is Sir Alex Ferguson.

‘Woodward and Ferguson were known to have a frosty relationship, stemming from the way in which David Moyes was sacked, which saw news of the dismissal leak before the manager had been told.

‘Ferguson also voiced concerns about how Woodward ran United generally, given the team’s failure to challenge for the title amid poor transfer market decisions. Woodward let it be known he felt Ferguson’s influence was too great and more distance between the club and its greatest manager would have been for the best.

‘Arnold has instead welcomed Ferguson into the fold. While Woodward was on his way out of United, Arnold tasked Ferguson and Gill with a root-and-branch review of the club’s management structure.

‘Ferguson gave Arnold his opinion on various matters around returning United to contenders for the biggest honours. Rather than paying lip service to Ferguson, sources insist Arnold genuinely listens and takes on board the advice, feeling it prudent to tap into the knowledge of a man who won 38 trophies over 26 years at United.’

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