May 18, 2021

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Edwin Van Der Sar talks up CEO role at Manchester United

Manchester United fans arguably disrupted the biggest game in sport on Sunday. The historic United v Liverpool fixture has finally been postponed after Sky Sports covered fan protests well beyond the scheduled kick-off time.

Gary Neville spoke passionately about how the big changes need to be implemented after fans made it clear.

And his ex-Red comrade Edwin Van Der Sar has stepped forward to replace outgoing United Executive Vice President Ed Woodward, whose record in the role since taking over from David Gill in 2013 has been at better mediocre.

Speaking to ESPN Netherlands, the former goalkeeper who won the Champions League with United in 2008 said that besides Ajax the only other club he would work for in world football were the Red Devils.

Van Der Sar oversaw the development of a fantastic Ajax side which reached the Champions League semi-final in 2019 and showcased the club’s young talents such as Donny Van De Beek, Matthijs De Ligt and Frenkie de Jong. He spoke of this achievement saying, “We had to work very hard. We don’t have a wealthy landlord and the government hasn’t helped us.

United, of course, have an equally rich history of bringing young talent through the academy and into the first team, but also have the commercial strength to perhaps retain much of their first team in the long run.

Van Der Sar also said he should have ‘a feeling’ for the club and that with United he would have that feeling.

After Sunday’s success and the failure of the ESL plan, fans around the world will campaign and hope the FA, Premier League and government implement real change that reassesses football club ownership under the status’ ‘fit and appropriate’ with the potential for a fan property model. But if that doesn’t happen, the next best thing for United might be to bring in more experienced footballers like Van Der Sar who have a vision of progressive football for the club.