Ed Woodward has confirmed Manchester United are taking a ‘constructive role’ as part of a proposed shake-up of English football.
It emerged this month United were one of the driving forces behind Project Big Picture, which proposed to reduce the Premier League to 18 teams, scrap the Carabao Cup and Community Shield, empower the longest-serving Premier League clubs and pay the 72 Football League clubs £250million.
The project crashed and burned amid widespread criticism of United, Liverpool and other Premier League ‘big six’ clubs, who were accused of a power grab.
Woodward was also pilloried by United supporters after another questionable transfer window in which four of United’s five deals were concluded on deadline day. United spent £76.6million on Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo, while Edinson Cavani arrived on a free.
United lost two of their first three Premier League games but recovered with a fine 4-1 win at Newcastle last week before a 2-1 triumph over Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain. Woodward insists the club remain committed to lifting silverware.
Woodward said: “Our focus remains on protecting the health of our colleagues, fans and community while adapting to the significant economic ramifications of the pandemic.
“Within that context, our top priority is to get fans back into the stadium safely and as soon as possible. We are also committed to playing a constructive role in helping the wider football pyramid through this period of adversity, while exploring options for making the English game stronger and more sustainable in the long-term.
“This requires strategic vision and leadership from all stakeholders, and we look forward to helping drive forward that process in a timely manner.
“On the pitch, we have strengthened the team over the summer and we remain committed to our objective of winning trophies, playing entertaining, attacking football with a blend of academy graduates and high-quality recruits, while carefully managing our resources to protect the long-term resilience of the club.”
The United net debt is £474.1m under the reviled Glazer family owners and their total revenue nosedived, year on year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The total revenue for the 2019-20 season was £509m, down from £627.1m on the previous 12 months, and matchday revenue was £89.8 million, a decrease of £21m, or 19 per cent.
Despite the dire numbers, United still have £51.5m of cash available and £150m in credit.