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Edward Woodward
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Org Manchester United

2013 02 20 Retrieve

[A Manchester United statement] […] July 1, Woodward ‘will have overall responsibility for the club, including, in conjunction with Sir Alex Ferguson, facilitating transfer activity

Ed has appointed Richard Arnold, the current commercial director, as its new group managing director, overseeing all commercial and operational aspects of the club

2013 11 14 Retrieve

[Man Utd post club-record revenue in Q1] We are pleased to have achieved another record first quarter, driven by the strength of our commercial business and increased broadcasting revenues. Our unique approach to the commercial business will continue to drive future growth

[United are also set to benefit from BT’s £897m deal which secured television rights to broadcast Champions League and Europa League matches for three years from 2015] We are also excited by the continuing rise in the value of sports content, evidenced, amongst other things, by the recently announced BT deal for the UK rights to broadcast the Champions League and Europa League matches for three seasons from 2015/16

This deal represents a meaningful increase over the current arrangement, which should translate into higher broadcasting revenues for the participating clubs

2016 04 03 Retrieve

[Quote on Sir Bobby Charlton] Bobby is, quite simply, the most iconic figure in English football history. A player, a diplomat, a gentleman and a tireless worker for charity, he represents everything that is good about football and Manchester United

2016 05 23 Retrieve

[Manchester United confirm Van Gaal sacking] I would like to thank Louis and his staff for their excellent work in the past two years culminating in winning a record-equalling 12th FA Cup for the club [and securing him a title in four different countries]. He has behaved with great professionalism and dignity throughout his time here. He leaves us with a legacy of having given several young players the confidence to show their ability on the highest stage. Everyone at the club wishes him all the best in the future.

2019 04 29 Retrieve

[What does Ed Woodward do?] Our debt, taking a house comparison, is like a mortgage. And it’s small relative to the value of the business. And the person living inside it is getting richer and richer and richer in terms of income every year. We’re verging on £100m more a year of commercial revenue than when the Glazers bought the club

[Woodward had argued that a club as large in nature as United could not afford to ignore the potential draw of foreign countries in the United States and Asia] America and Asia are the two core places we tend to go to and both of them deliver a huge amount. The Premier League has been very clear in saying America is the No. 1 developing market. It may be strange to describe the US as a developing market but if you look at the stats from the World Cup, the NBC numbers were two and a half times the previous Fox and ESPN [World Cup] numbers and despite finishing seventh we were the No1 most watched team. This is a very good country [for us] from a potential sponsorship perspective, a potential media perspective. We’ve got more fans here than we have in the UK

2019 07 22 Retrieve

[Nicky Butt has been appointed as Manchester United’s new head of first team development] These changes will further enhance the excellent work and results we have seen over many decades in our academy system and enable us to continue our proud traditions of producing world-class players capable of playing and excelling in the first team

2019 09 24 Retrieve

[Man Utd ‘committed to winning trophies’ after posting record £627.1m revenues] We remain focused on our plan of rebuilding the team and continuing to strengthen our youth system, in line with the philosophy of the club and the manager. This is reflected in the recent addition of three exciting first-team players, key player contract extensions and the talent we have coming through our Academy. Everyone at Manchester United is committed to delivering on our primary objective of winning trophies

2019 09 24b Retrieve

[Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been backed by Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward as he called for patience with the Red Devils going through a rebuilding process] We and our growing global fan base demand success. Success means winning trophies. That target has never changed for Manchester United. The success on the business side underpins the success on the football side. Much of the progress made around that investment - the academy, the recruitment department and the training ground facilities - is behind the scenes and therefore isn’t immediately apparent to those on the outside looking in. We’ve materially expanded our recruitment department to improve efficiency and productivity. Recruitment decisions are worked on day to day by this department and the manager and his team. Along with the commitments we made to Ole and his staff in March, this has given us the building blocks for success. Whilst we’re confident this investment will deliver results, it’s important that we’re patient, while Ole and his team build for the future. We will continue to focus on the long-term strategy and won’t be influenced by short-term distractions

The club was linked with hundreds of players, almost all without foundation. We approached the window in a focused and disciplined way. Our new signings joined a strong squad that included [players with] new contracts. We’re optimistic for the future. The sale and loaning of players has allowed the manager to involve more young players and lay the foundations and a culture. Regarding the speculation around the head of football, we are continually reviewing and looking at the potential to evolve our structure on the football side. Much of the speculation around this type of role revolves around recruitment - an area that we’ve evolved in recent years. As we’ve already mentioned, we feel the players we’ve signed in the summer demonstrate this approach is the right one. The ethos on attacking football is the right way forward

2019 10 17 Retrieve

[Woodward defends Man Utd recruitment policy from ‘insulting myth’] There is a myth that we have non‑football people making football decisions, and it’s insulting to the brilliant people who work on the football side in this club. Many of the senior staff on the football side of the club have been in their roles for over 10 years. Some of our scouts have worked with us for more than 25 years. We’ve expanded our recruitment department in recent years and we believe this now runs in an efficient and productive way. Player recommendations and decisions are worked on by this department and by the first-team manager and his staff, not by senior management

What’s important is the commercial side is never allowed to take priority over the football side. We are an incredible 141-year footballing institution with all that history, all that legacy, all that tradition and that tradition of success. That can never, ever change. We need to keep that protected

[Despite United’s poor results, Woodward praised Solskjaer’s influence on the squad since he replaced Jose Mourinho at the helm] Ole has also instilled the discipline back into an environment where we may have lacked it in recent years. He is building a squad that respects the club’s history, in which players work hard and respect their teammates. No one is bigger than the club. The changes we saw over the summer have resulted in a very young squad, but it’s also a squad with the players and the culture that provides a base camp for us to build and grow from as we start our new journey.

Ole’s vision maps exactly to the core three football objectives we have: we must win trophies, we must play attacking football and we must give youth its chance. The middle section of last season, after Ole’s arrival, feels most relevant to what we want to achieve and where we want to be. We saw a team playing fast, fluid football, with a clear representation of the style and philosophy the manager wants

2019 10 20 Retrieve

[Woodward: Man Utd not for sale with Glazers committed long term] Based on what I see, they’re in it for the long term. With regards to offers or asking prices, my understanding is that there have been no discussions for a price for the club or anything like that. Every conversation we have is based on the long-term. The debt is a long-term, structured and similar to some other football clubs. It’s a fixed amount for a fixed period of time which results in it being fairly cheap to service. It’s just under two per cent of our annual revenue each year, so it doesn’t really have any impact on us.

If you look at the way the approach changed under the Glazers for commercial activity, that has brought in an extra £2.5-£3 billion. We have spent a lot of money on players. We are financially strong. We are self-sustaining. We don’t have an umbilical cord that we are concerned about. There’s negativity about us doing sponsorship deals but they allow us to do things in the transfer market which other clubs struggle to do. We absolutely feel we are on the right track to getting back to winning trophies.

[Woodward’s own position at the Red Devils has been the subject of increasing criticism] I understand the scrutiny; it’s part of the job. And I don’t want to be famous and can’t be mates with the players. But we have to do everything we possibly can to get back to winning the Premier League. We are not successful until we do. Second is not success - we have to win the Premier League

2019 10 22 Retrieve

[Ed Woodward has sought to defuse the controversy surrounding an exchange he had with centre-back Phil Jones during a Premier League match with West Ham earlier this season] Phil was talking about whether decisions were offside or not. There was a foul and I turned around to Rebecca Britain, our club secretary [and said]: ‘Was that a yellow card on him? Issa Diop?’

2019 10 22b Retrieve

[Ed Woodward admits Manchester United have to win the Premier League] We have to win the Premier League. I view the Premier League as the focus, that’s the biggest test, the benchmark. You can roll a dice in the Champions League, you need luck to win that, but we have to win the Premier League. We need to do well commercially to do well on the pitch, we also need to spend what we get more consistently than we have been doing, but we’re on much firmer ground with recruitment.

I understand the scrutiny; it’s part of the job. We have to do everything we possibly can to get back to winning the Premier League. We’re not successful until we do. Second is not success - we have to win the Premier League. Despite some of the narrative around the club at the moment, I feel that we are on the right track to get back to that point [winning the league] but we are going to have to be patient

[He added on the club’s vision] Winning; playing attacking football with players that have an ‘x-factor’; and giving youth a chance. Added to that, we want players to come in who respect their team-mates, the club, the history. They must understand they are creating a legacy by coming to Manchester United. Nobody is bigger than the club. There should be both a humbleness and an arrogance.

Ole has brought a lot of the discipline back. Whatever manager we have has to buy into that philosophy and Ole is a walking, talking version of that. Let’s play this out with Ole in terms of the cultural reboot. It [appointing Solskjaer permanently] wasn’t pivotal to it [finishing top four] one way or another. I want to take a long-term view - Ole was hired with the long-term view that he will be successful

Recruitment isn’t everything, but it’s pretty close. You have to get that right and we haven’t done that consistently enough in the past. I want to try and explain how we have evolved it. We have changed the recruitment structure so that it doesn’t look anything like it did a few years ago. We have invested a lot. We’re confident that we have a disciplined process that works. That’s partly evidenced by what happened in the summer, but we need to judge over a period of time

2019 10 22c Retrieve

[Ed Woodward insists that he has no input in transfer business outside of signing off the money, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer currently in the process of identifying January targets] The decisions related to recruitment are all taken by football experts. My involvement is signing off the money. The manager has a veto on a player - we would never sign a player the manager wouldn’t want because he wouldn’t play him. But we also feel the recruitment department, the football experts, should have a veto too.

I don’t get involved in recruitment like people think I do. There’s a myth that I look at YouTube and choose players. I don’t. Having an eye for players is an art. I have no interest in doing that. I just want to have a disciplined process because if you are spending a lot of money on a player you have to make sure you get more right than wrong. Where I get involved is that I have to sign off the money, yet when you have target one, two or three from your process I feel fine going after the number one target and, if it’s not to be him, then number two or three

[Woodward added on the changes which have been made] The system wasn’t set up in the right way. Twelve scouts reporting to one chief scout was more set up to say no - too many exceptions to the process were made historically while this was being fixed. We also have to hold our hands up and say that recruitment wasn’t at its best in recent years. We feel that we now know who our best scouts are. The idea is to recruit in a closed environment, rather than listening to the press or getting distracted by conflicting agents’ claims. We try and make cold decisions based on information. Judge the recruitment department in the coming windows where hopefully we can get a team to be at the level we want to be

The manager sits down in September - so Ole has already done this for the next cycle - and told the experts the positions that he wants to recruit in and the characteristics relating to those players

Agents use us to ramp up interest in their player sometimes. That’s why we’re linked to about 200 players a year sometimes. That gets everyone excited and I understand why that happens, but it’s difficult for us to say no to deny speculation. If we start doing that by saying ‘no comment’ when it’s a ‘no’, then that means ‘yes’ - then the minute we don’t say anything means we’re interested and we might not want it public that we’re interested.

We also don’t want to give hard noes when things could evolve. We want to keep things tight, to do what’s best for the club. But when a player keeps popping up [in the media] and we’re not interested, it’s very frustrating. What sometimes happens is that we do have a player in an agreed position, but his club refuse to sell - [because of that] the player then uses that to get a new contract - we don’t waste time, we’re more robust

2019 10 24 Retrieve

[European Club Association (ECA) board members, including Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, signed a letter disapproving of the event, which was revealed back in March] [We are] firmly against any potential approval of a revised CWC - no ECA clubs would take part

2019 11 08 Retrieve

[Manchester United manager Casey Stoney has agreed a new three-year deal which will extend her stay at the club until 2022] I am delighted that Casey has committed her future to the club; what she has achieved already in such a short space of time has been hugely impressive. Building a team from scratch and gaining promotion to the Women’s Super League at the first attempt was outstanding. Casey’s professionalism and commitment to her role as head coach is second to none and is reflected in the team’s performances and results this season. She has also built on the success of the Girls’ Regional Talent Club and has continued our philosophy of creating a pathway from academy to first team

2019 11 18 Retrieve

[Woodward says trophies & exciting football remain ‘ultimate goal’] We have a clear vision in terms of football philosophy and recruitment. The significant investments that we have made in recent years in areas such as transfers, recruitment infrastructure, analytics and our academy are already beginning to bear fruit. We are very proud to be shortly approaching a milestone 4,000th game featuring an academy player, and we are particularly optimistic regarding the considerable young talent currently coming through. Our ultimate goal is to win trophies by playing exciting football with a team that fuses graduates from our academy with world-class acquisitions

[Woodward’s comments come on the back of those made in October when he sought to offer clarity on United’s transfer policy] The decisions related to recruitment are all taken by football experts. My involvement is signing off the money. The manager has a veto on a player - we would never sign a player the manager wouldn’t want because he wouldn’t play him. But we also feel the recruitment department, the football experts, should have a veto too. I don’t get involved in recruitment like people think I do. There’s a myth that I look at YouTube and choose players. I don’t. Having an eye for players is an art. I have no interest in doing that. I just want to have a disciplined process because if you are spending a lot of money on a player you have to make sure you get more right than wrong. Where I get involved is that I have to sign off the money, yet when you have target one, two or three from your process I feel fine going after the number one target and, if it’s not to be him, then number two or three

2020 01 28 Retrieve

[Angry Man Utd fans attack Ed Woodward’s house with flares] Manchester United Football Club have tonight been made aware of the incident outside the home of one of our employees. We know that the football world will unite behind us as we work with Greater Manchester Police to identify the perpetrators of this unwarranted attack. Anybody found guilty of a criminal offence, or found to be trespassing on this property, will be banned for life and may face prosecution. Fans expressing opinion is one thing, criminal damage and intent to endanger life is another. There is simply no excuse for this

2020 02 01 Retrieve

[The home of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward attacked by fans armed with flares] Fans expressing opinion is one thing; criminal damage and intent to endanger life is another. There is simply no excuse for this.

2020 02 07 Retrieve

[Manchester United file complaint against the Sun in wake of Ed Woodward home attack] Manchester United has made a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) regarding the Sun newspaper and its coverage of the attack on the house of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

The complaint relates to the story ‘Ed Devils: Man Utd fans throw flares at Ed Woodward’s house in shocking scenes as anti-board protests continue to escalate’ carried online and on the back page of the print edition dated 29 January 2020.

The club believes that the Sun had received advance notice of the intended attack, which included criminal damage and intent to intimidate, and that the journalist was present as it happened. The quality of the images accompanying the story indicate that a photographer was also present. Not only did the journalist fail to discharge the basic duty of a responsible member of society to report an impending crime and avert potential danger and criminal damage, his presence both encouraged and rewarded the perpetrators.

We believe this was a clear breach of both the Ipso editors’ code and journalistic ethics. The decision to make a formal complaint to Ipso was not taken lightly. We will await its ruling with keen interest as an important test of the self-regulatory system for newspapers and its ability to uphold ethical standards in the press

2020 02 10 Retrieve

[Ed Woodward says Man Utd aiming for consistency in quality of signings] Our recruitment process focuses on analysis and selection of players over the course of a season, with a view to the following summer transfer window. As part of the rebuild we see this coming summer as an important opportunity. There has been no shortage of investment in players over the past few years, with over £200 million ($260m) spent since Ole became manager. Our aim is to ensure that we continue to achieve consistency in quality of recruitment

The signing of Bruno Fernandes and return of key players from injury will be a boost to Ole and the squad as we head into the second half of the season. We remain in contention in the Europa League and the FA Cup, as well as for Champions League qualification, so there is still lots to play for. As a club and a board, we do recognise that we are not yet where we want to be. It is the overwhelming priority of everyone at the club to get us back to regularly challenging for Premier League and Champions League titles. Although progress may not always be smooth, everyone across the club is focused and committed on playing their part in helping achieve those aims

The recruitment department is working to a clear plan and philosophy, along with Ole and his coaching staff. Our focus is on bringing in a combination of experience and the best young players with potential to develop further, fusing graduates from our academy with high-quality acquisitions

2020 02 25 Retrieve

[Ed Woodward believes the signing of Bruno Fernandes shows the club are moving in the right direction] Despite being linked in the media to 111 players in January, our acquisition of just one of them - Bruno Fernandes - is an important step in that direction, demonstrating our commitment to adding experienced, world-class recruits to the exciting crop of academy graduates that are at the heart of this developing team

We will take the same planned, disciplined, approach this coming summer. In addition to the first team signings, somewhat under the radar, we have also made a number of exciting youth acquisitions in the past year, reflecting our commitment to bringing the best talent into our academy.

So far our academy graduates have contributed over a third of first team playing minutes this season and over half of our goals, emphasising our academy’s status as one of the most productive in elite-level European football. This is an important competitive advantage for us and represents an excellent return on the fourfold increase in investment that we have made in the academy over recent years

2020 02 25b Retrieve

[Ed Woodward says Man Utd making progress] We are pushing for a strong finish in the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup as we enter the final third of the season

We have continued to make progress on our squad rebuild, with many changes in terms of players that we have brought in and players that have come through our academy; the foundation for delivering the long-term success that we are all working towards is in place as we implement our plan and our footballing vision with Ole

2020 03 17 Retrieve

[Manchester United cancel training following latest coronavirus advice] While it is disappointing to see the season paused, we recognise there are bigger considerations as part of the need to help slow the spread of coronavirus

I would like to thank our fans for their tremendous support so far this season and we look forward to welcoming them back to Old Trafford as soon as is safely possible

2020 03 19 Retrieve

[Manchester United commit to pay casual match day workers amid coronavirus postponement] We rely on our outstanding staff to deliver an exceptional service and experience to fans at Old Trafford. We understand that these are unprecedented circumstances and want to give them security whatever may happen regarding our remaining fixtures this season. We look forward to welcoming back all our supporters - and our colleagues - to Old Trafford as soon as possible

2020 04 24 Retrieve

[Manchester United chief Woodward warns transfer market won’t be ‘business as usual’ for his side] Nobody should be under any illusions about the scale of challenge facing everyone in football and it may not be ‘business as usual’ for any clubs, including ourselves, in the transfer market this summer. As ever our priority is the success of the team, but we need visibility of the impact across the whole industry, including timings of the transfer window, and the wider financial picture, before we can talk about a return to normality. On this basis, I cannot help feeling that speculation around transfers of individual players for hundreds of millions of pounds this summer seems to ignore the realities that face the sport.

2020 04 26 Retrieve

[Ed Woodward cast doubt on the feasibility of big-money signings due to the financial devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic] Nobody should be under any illusions about the scale of challenge facing everyone in football. It may not be ‘business as usual’ for any clubs, including ourselves, in the transfer market this summer.

As ever, our priority is the success of the team, but we need visibility of the impact across the whole industry, including timings of the transfer window, and the wider financial picture, before we can talk about a return to normality.

On this basis, I cannot help feeling that speculation around transfers of individual players for hundreds of millions of pounds this summer seems to ignore the realities that face the sport

2020 04 28 Retrieve

[Ed Woodward’s admission that it would not be business as usual for Manchester United] Nobody should be under any illusions about the scale of the challenge facing everyone in football and it may not be ‘business as usual’ for any clubs, including ourselves, in the transfer market this summer. As ever, our priority is the success of the team, but we need visibility of the impact across the whole industry, including timings of the transfer window, and the wider financial picture, before we can talk about a return to normality. On this basis, I cannot help feeling that speculation around transfers of individual players for hundreds of millions of pounds this summer seems to ignore the realities that face the sport

2020 04 29 Retrieve

[Ed Woodward has reiterated Manchester United’s commitment to backing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rebuild as they aim to be ‘highly competitive’ in the transfer market] It’s always a top priority for us to strengthen the team and build on what Ole is very clearly achieving in terms of bringing us back to the top. I would say that once we have that visibility of a path through the crisis and coming out of the other side to relative normality, then, of course, we aim to remain highly competitive in the market. As I said before and I’ve said this many times, we remain committed to backing Ole to win trophies. That’s our core objective as a club

2020 04 30 Retrieve

[Man Utd executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward warns there’s still ‘huge uncertainty’ over Premier League return] I think we all agree that we want supporters back watching football at Old Trafford as soon as possible. That can only happen when we are advised it is safe to do so, and clearly the government has a major say in that

No decisions have been made yet but we think it is possible that the initial games, particularly the ones related to finishing or trying to complete this season, will probably have to be played behind closed doors - but that isn’t confirmed yet. We’re not necessarily happy about that, clearly football requires our fans in the stadium for it to be complete, but public health must come first. We’ve got to have clarity on what the future holds. What will happen with the remainder of this season? What is the impact on next season? Is it behind closed doors or in front of fans? What’s the impact on broadcast deals, sponsorship deals? What’s the impact on domestic cups

From a UK perspective there is still huge uncertainty. There was an interesting question about competitive games overseas, I’ve not heard anything on that and I would expect our remaining domestic games to be played in England

2020 05 21 Retrieve

[Man Utd executive vice-chairman Woodward ‘optimistic’ over Premier League return in June] We are optimistic it will soon be possible to resume playing football and our men’s first team has commenced a phased return to training this week with rigorous medical protocols in place to manage risk. Subject to government and Premier League shareholder approval, with input from medical staff and players, we anticipate domestic games could restart in June. Furthermore, all indications from UEFA are that the culmination of the Europa League could be during August. We remain in constant dialogue with the Premier League, the FA and UEFA about the next steps towards returning to playing while continuing to protect the health of our players, staff and wider public. We are encouraged by the return of the German Bundesliga, the first major European league to restart last weekend, with the successful completion of nine matches all behind closed doors

Our results reflect the partial impact the pandemic has had on the club. While clearly the greater impact will be in the current quarter and likely beyond. We remain firmly optimistic for the long-term prospects for the club and for our exciting young team once we have worked our way through what is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary and testing periods in the 142-year history of Manchester United

There are still profound challenges ahead for football as a whole and it is safe to say it will not be business as usual for some time. Our club is built on solid foundations, we remain one of the most popular teams and one of the most followed and we have created a strong financial base. However, the repercussions of the pandemic are now being felt widely across the footballing community. Not just by clubs but by players, broadcasters, sponsors and many other stakeholders. We have a shared interest in protecting our sport during this period. It’s crucial we work together in a period of solidarity to maximise our chances of coming back strongly when the pandemic recedes. We must recognise that this pandemic will not disappear overnight and the world which is emerging will be different to how it was before. That will create challenges for football, like many other industries, but also brings an opportunity for innovation and creativity as we explore options for resuming football in ways that still protect public health

2020 05 21b Retrieve

[Man Utd confirm huge £127m rise in debt as impact of Covid-19 is revealed] Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our colleagues, fans and partners around the world and we are extremely proud of how those connected to the club have responded during this crisis. Since the start of the pandemic, Manchester United and our foundation have provided assistance to hospitals, charities and schools in our communities, as well as support for frontline workers and vulnerable fans. These actions reflect our core values as a club and the resilience through adversity that we have demonstrated many times throughout our long history and will do so again to weather these current challenges. In that spirit, we look forward to the team safely returning to the pitch and building on the exciting momentum that Ole and the players had previously achieved, while taking all necessary steps to protect public health. Our thoughts remain with all those affected during this unprecedented time

2020 05 22 Retrieve

[A new Manchester United transfer masterplan? How scouting set-up is evolving in lockdown] We’ve expanded our recruitment department in recent years and we believe this now runs in an efficient and productive way. Player recommendations and decisions are worked on by this department and by the first-team manager and his staff, not by senior management

2020 05 23 Retrieve

[Ed Woodward says Man Utd finances are not a disaster - but Champions League failure would be] We must recognise that this crisis will not disappear overnight, and that the world that emerges will be different from how it was before. The lack of Champions League football and the impact of Covid-19 has been seen in United’s latest financial results. They’re poorer than they would be normally but they’re not horrendous. They’ve still got a huge wage bill to pay and without matches there won’t be as much money coming in, so they will be expecting a big deterioration in the fourth quarter

No question, the economic ramifications from this global pandemic will continue to resonate for years to come, but we remain optimistic about the long-term outlook for the sponsorship business and our ability to remain a leader within the market

2020 05 26 Retrieve

[Man Utd to focus on targets like Dembele and Werner as Ighalo loan spell ends] We must recognise that this crisis will not disappear overnight and that the world that emerges will be different from how it was before

2020 06 23 Retrieve

[Ed Woodward salutes Man Utd supporters ahead of closed-door Old Trafford return] On the pitch, there is no escaping the reality that the coming months are going to be difficult for everyone in football and we are no exception. However, our club’s foundations are solid and, provided we stick together and manage our resources carefully, we will come through this period with our strength intact - thanks in large part to the loyalty of our fantastic supporters. As a club, we say ‘thank you’ through the ‘United for the Heroes’ banner displayed in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, as well as the NHS logo on the players’ shirts. You will also see powerful anti-racism messages, on the players’ shirts and in the stands, and we are proud to be uniting with our players and the rest of the Premier League behind this crucial cause

Diversity, inclusion and the fight against racism are at the core of our values as a club whose support spans racial and cultural boundaries. This has been a long-standing commitment from the club, as part of our All Red All Equal campaign and our support for groups such as Kick It Out

The breadth and diversity of our fan base is demonstrated by over 40,000 supporters from 193 countries who submitted their pictures for the spectacular fan mosaic, which will be on show in the stands for the first time tonight. We hope the mosaic will provide inspiration to the team as a reminder of the hundreds of millions cheering them on from home

As a banner in the Stretford End tonight declares, quoting Sir Matt Busby, ‘football is nothing without fans,’ and we can’t wait for you to return to Old Trafford as soon as it is safe to do so