A group of hooded protesters threw flares into the garden of the executive vice-chairman on Tuesday night with more action planned for the Wolves game
Manchester United are braced for more protests this weekend, with fans discussing a timed walkout in the 58th or 68th minute of the televised Premier League fixture against Wolves on Saturday evening.
On Tuesday night, a group of around 20 Manchester United fans assembled outside Ed Woodward’s house and were filmed throwing at least one flare into the executive vice-chairman’s garden.
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- Eriksen, Young, Moses, Lukaku, Alexis: Inter coach Conte building a Premier League team in Serie A There have been no reports of any serious damage, and nobody is reported to have been injured. It appears that nobody was at the residence at the time of the visit and the action has been strongly condemned by the club.No arrests have been made, and the identity of the provocateurs was obscured by their masks and hooded tops. As such, it is not clear exactly who was responsible for the actions, but it recalls past incidents that have been carried out by the so-called, ‘Men in Black’, who have been linked to similar protests since the Glazers’ takeover of the club.In the past, there have been visits from disgruntled United fans to the homes of Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney, when they were considering moves to Chelsea and Manchester City respectively.
The group posted a clip of the flare-throwing to social media with the caption, ‘Woodward’s gonna die’, suggesting that the protest is linked to chants from United fans at recent games. Previously, United fans have flown planes with banners protesting Woodward’s performance, at one time describing him as a ‘specialist in failure’.
The chants have come to the fore as fans tire of the club’s under-performance. While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position amongst fans is generally secure due to his playing achievements for the club, blame for the post-Sir Alex Ferguson troubles is being placed largely at the feet of Woodward, who is at the centre of United’s transfer dealings.
Matters came to a head when United appeared to be on course to end the winter transfer window without a single signing, having seen Erling Braut Haaland turn down the club in favour of Borussia Dortmund.
The situation was exacerbated when a move for Bruno Fernandes of Sporting CP appeared to have collapsed, and the club were linked to loan moves for Odion Ighalo and Islam Slimani, which left many fans unimpressed.
United will increase security around Woodward’s home, and the police will be alive to the threat of similar action, so a repeat is unlikely in the near future. However, there is also a sustained campaign on social media aimed at securing the departure of Woodward from his position.
The situation has become toxic at Old Trafford in the last month, which might have spurred on the club’s late move to complete the transfer for Fernandes, who should join the club within the next 48 hours for an initial fee of around £45 million ($59m).
The club are still in the hunt for loan deals to cover for Marcus Rashford, who has sustained a stress fracture to his back. However, United began the week prepared to do no business at all, so Fernandes may be the only arrival.
The Red Devils face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night trailing 3-1 from the first leg, and going out of the competition in the semi-finals at the hands of their local rivals could compound the sense of unrest at the club.
A demonstration of that dissatisfaction could be on display at the weekend when Wolves visit Old Trafford, with fan groups discussing how to stage their next protest.
The television fixture on Saturday is viewed as a way to draw wider attention to the protests, although there is disagreement over the timing. The 58th minute has been suggested, but that is viewed in some quarters as disrespectful given it is United’s closest home game to mark the Munich air disaster, so the 68th minute has been proposed as a link to the club’s first European Cup triumph.