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SBD Global/February 21, 2013/Franchises
ManU CEO David Gill To Stand Down, Cede Power To Exec Vice Chair Ed Woodward
Published February 21, 2013
FERGUSON REACTS: ManU Manager Alex Ferguson said, "I have been at United for over 26 years and for 23 of those years my boss has been one of only two men: Martin Edwards, who brought me to the club, and David Gill. I have enjoyed working with both. David has been a magnificent chief executive. Of course, we have had a million arguments, but I have always enjoyed them because I know that David has two great qualities: he is straight and he always puts Manchester United first" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 2/20). REUTERS' Keith Weir reported fans and investors who have bought shares in the club "will be keen to see how Woodward gets on with Ferguson." Ferguson, 71, who has managed the club since '86, said that "he was sorry that Gill was leaving but welcomed the appointment of Woodward." Ferguson: "He is a young man with the energy and drive to help keep United at the forefront of the game and to help us maintain our success on the field" (REUTERS, 2/20).
WHAT NOW? Finance blog Andersred hedge fund manager Andy Green said, "Before this you had a clear division between the football club and the commercial operations run by Woodward. That [policy] has been very successful for Manchester United." He added: "Mr. Woodward is a financier who will now have to get down and dirty in the negotiations with clubs and footballers" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/20). In London, Jamie Jackson wrote on the GUARDIAN's The Sport Blog the timing of Gill's departure, described as a "big loss" to Ferguson, is "bound to intrigue others." The club is 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League, has an "enticingly poised" Champions League last-16 tie with Real Madrid to complete in a few weeks and is already into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup. As Gill "steps away with a second treble looming into view, aged just 55, many wonder, why now?" (GUARDIAN, 2/20).