Ed Woodward gives rare Man Utd speech and insists he is "excited" about future

Ed Woodward might be heading for the Old Trafford exit door at the end of the year, but the Manchester United executive vice-chairman is still excited about what the future holds for the club.

United announced in April that Woodward would step down from his role at the end of 2021 in the wake of the European Super League crisis.

He still has just over three months left in the job, and on Friday issued an update on the club's ambitions and their position on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of the release of United's full-year financial results.

"We significantly strengthened the squad over the summer, with the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton," said Woodward.

"These signings have demonstrated our continued ability to attract some of the world’s best footballers to Old Trafford, and our firm commitment to helping Ole deliver success on the pitch.

"While squad-building is a constant process, we are more confident than ever that we are on the right track.

"This was made possible by the strength of our operating model, with sustained investment in the team underpinned by robust commercial revenues.

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"We have been clear in our strategy to build a squad with a blend of top-class recruits and homegrown talent, comprising a balance of youth and experience, with the aim of winning trophies and playing attacking football the Manchester United way.

"Everyone associated with Manchester United can be proud of the resilience we have shown through the challenges created by the pandemic and we look forward to the rest of the season and beyond with great optimism.

"As we review our financial results for the 2021 fiscal year, there is little doubt that those 12 months were among the most challenging in the history of Manchester United.

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"While the financial impact from the pandemic is visible, our continued underlying strength is also clear to see and everyone associated with the club can be proud of the resilience we have shown through these most testing of times.

"The most important part of this recovery is the return of fans to Old Trafford and it has been fantastic to see and hear the stadium full for the first time in almost 18 months.

"On the pitch, the team has made a strong start in the league, and everyone at the club is feeling excited about the rest of the campaign."

Woodward said United's strong commercial position had buffeted them against the financial uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, while many other clubs have found it challenging against the same backdrop.

But he warned football is at a crossroads, with the ever increasing demands of wages and transfer fees pushing some clubs to the very brink, as seen with Barcelona this summer.

"It is not an accident that we have been able to invest this summer at a time when many clubs have been retrenching," Woodward continued.

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"This reflects the strong commercial model we have built over many years, ensuring that our spending is always underpinned by revenues that we generate ourselves.

"However, while we are confident in our relative strength, it remains clear that football as a whole faces major financial challenges caused by years of material inflation in wages and transfer fees, exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic.

"We are committed to working within the Premier League, the ECA and UEFA to promote greater financial sustainability at all levels of the game."

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