May 11, 2021

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Edwin van der Sar would consider replacing Ed Woodward

Edwin van der Sar has revealed that he may be interested in replacing Ed Woodward at Manchester United when the current executive vice-president retires by the end of the year.

Woodward’s departure came after the scandal with the European Super League, which means that United will be looking for someone new to lead the club in the coming months.

Ed Woodward will step down as executive vice president of Man Utd by the end of 2021.
Ed Woodward to step down as Executive Vice President of Man Utd by the end of 2021 | Craig Mercer / MB Media / Getty Images

Van der Sar has been Ajax’s chief executive since 2016, after initially joining his former club as marketing director in late 2012 just over a year after retiring from his game with United.

The former goalkeeper has been hailed as one of the top executives currently working in European football in recent years and has been regularly linked to his return to Old Trafford when United were looking for a football director or technical director before settling for internal promotions.

But now that the best work is opening, Van der Sar’s name is back in the box. Moreover, he seems happy to entertain him, citing Ajax and United as the only two clubs he would feel comfortable working for because of his special relationship with everyone.

“This is nothing new to me, my name has been circulating there for a long time,” Van der Sar told ESPN about rumors linking him to United.

Van der Sar has been involved in various leadership roles at Man Utd for several years
Van der Sar has been associated with various leadership roles in Man Utd for several years Socrates image / Getty image

“[With] work and pressure, you have to have a feeling for the club … I will not work in a club where I have no feeling. I could only do that for Ajax or United. I would not work for other clubs. “

So far, however, there has been no contact from Old Trafford.

“I am really happy with how we are [developed] Ajax over the last few years, “he added.” We had ambitions 10 years ago to reach the top of Europe. We got to that. We had to work very hard, we don’t have a rich owner and the government didn’t help us. “

Van der Sar will certainly be a popular match for United fans. He was a major part of the club’s success in the late 2000s, winning four Premier League titles in six years, as well as the Champions League in 2008 and playing in two more finals.

Van der Sar was crucial to Man Utd's success in the late 2000s
Van der Sar was crucial to the success of Man Utd in the late 2000s ADRIAN DENIS / Getty images

The Dutchman would also be a big hit among supporters as a “football man”.

Conversely, Woodward is a trained accountant and former investment banker who had no football experience before joining United in 2005. Although he enjoyed considerable success in his previous role as the club’s commercial director and apparently has a huge business and financial acumen, he is largely blamed for the decline on the ground after 2013.

Only ongoing restructuring since 2019 has returned United to their previous path. The latest update to this has been the promotion of John Murtow and Darren Fletcher to the respective roles of football director and technical director, strengthening football operations.

Whether co-chairs Joel and Avram Glaser want another foreign business to replace Woodward, or would consider a figure like Van der Sar, will ultimately shape demand.

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