Ed Woodward has resigned as chief exec of Manchester United this afternoon following the disastrous decision to join the European Super League.

With reports suggesting Manchester City and Chelsea are the first English clubs to pull out of the competition, with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona not far behind them, United fans have been piling the pressure on the club to follow suit.

There have been suggestions that he had planned to quit this year regardless but that may well be the story he would like to present to save some face and for United to have a scapegoat for the ESL chaos. Woodward has confirmed he will step down at the end of 2021.

I am extremely proud to have served United and it has been an honour to work for the world’s greatest football club for the past 16 years. The club is well positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year.

I will treasure the memories from my time at Old Trafford, during a period when we won the Europa League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. I am proud of the regeneration of the club’s culture and our return to the Manchester United way of playing.

We have invested more than £1bn in the squad during my time here and I am particularly delighted with the progress the players have made under the astute leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching team in the last two years.

I am sure that with the changes we have made on-field and to the coaching and football staff in recent years this great club will soon be lifting silverware again. It deserves to. I desperately wanted the club to win the Premier League during my tenure and I am certain the foundations are in place for us to win it back for our passionate fans.

Our world-famous academy is flourishing again, with 34 players progressing into the first team since 2013, and it has been a pleasure to watch talents such as Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Axel Tuanzebe flourish in the first team environment. In the years to come the club’s production line of young talent will continue to push established first team players for their places. That competition bodes well for the future.

We have also established Manchester United women and their progress is further evidence of the demand for success at this great club.

The last 16 months have brought so many unique challenges and the club’s work in the community and around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic has been heroic. The financial impact on football clubs has been severe, but United have been one of the most robust and resilient in the face of extraordinary financial pressures.

I would like to thank United’s passionate fans for their support during the good and bad times. I know this has been a challenging period in our history, but your support for the team has never, ever been in doubt.

Finally, it has been a pleasure to work with so many magnificent, talented and hard-working people.

Woodward has been a hugely unpopular figure with United fans after being the man to advise the Glazers during their takeover of the club before doing an appalling job in the transfer market in a role he proved to be well out of his depth for.

We can only hope that the club have realised what a poor decision joining the ESL was and are now planning to rethink their commitment to the competition. Sir Alex Ferguson and Gary Neville had both been critical of the club’s decision, while players Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes took to social media to voice their displeasure. Reports suggest that Harry Maguire had confronted Woodward too.

Hopefully this is just the beginning. Now it’s time for their Glazers to sling their hook too!