Stunning is one word that feels underwhelming when talking about what some so called football ”fans” did to Manchester United’s vice chairman Ed Woodward this week. A reported 30 fans wearing balaclavas attempted to storm his house and threw flares at it. What on earth is the thoughts that any sane fan would be thinking.
The tensions between the fans and the Manchester United board has been escalating for a few seasons now and it all came to ahead in grisly scenes on Tuesday night with fans reportedly screaming ‘Woodward is going to die’. All of this over a game of football….
Perhaps it’s true that Woodward has not done a great job in his role at United. Former managers have been disgruntled by his actions. Louis van Gaal felt that Woodward was only interested in the commercial aspects of the club (i.e) how much money they could make from friendlies in Asia. And Jose Mourinho on more than one occasion had his player transfer wishes quashed by Woodward.
It has not been a great time for Woodward and that has reflected United’s performance on the pitch. At the same time fans are quick to forget that in dealing with financial matters Woodward has been a success. He has been responsible for growing United’s financial wealth by 3 times its original size when he first joined up with the club. But yes it is true he has made a few mistakes in the last few seasons. Some United fans would laugh at that and say he has been a total disaster, but his record with the club begs to differ. He has become an easy target and the scapegoat of United’s failings.
What cuts the deepest though about the attack is how some fans, and it is a minority, but some fans feel it is their self given privilege to act like maniacs. The same people that are probably very law abiding and hold down jobs completely lose it when it comes to football. It is evident that there are real fans and then there is the hardcore section who feel that football is the only thing they have in life.
How could this have been avoided? A meeting had to take place, clear the air talks should have happened, between a select number of fans and Woodward, why not? Surely then everyone could have moved forward without violence. Instead these fans that wanted to attack his house, complete with his innocent wife and children will be banned for life but the club that they supposedly love. One would think that Woodward’s home would have been fitted with adequate CCTV too, so this could be a reality.
Sometimes controversial moments tend to happen off the pitch, and this week in the Premier League has been one full of shame, let’s hope some understanding can take hold now, no one needs violence.
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