A new season is upon us and for the first time since Jose Mourinho’s second season at the club, the expectation is that Manchester United should be challenging for the Premier League title.
After finishing third and second in his two full seasons at the club, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping to end that four-year trophy drought, and what better way to start than at home against Leeds?
Ed Woodward’s position at Manchester United has always been under heavy scrutiny by supporters since he replaced David Gill eight years ago but never more than earlier this year. Woodward oversaw the disgraced Super League fiasco in April and amid its collapse, he resigned from his position.
He’s set to walk away from his role at the end of this calendar year and some supporters will consider that a sign of fan power. Ahead of the Premier League curtain-raiser against Leeds today, Woodward made a statement in the match-day programme, as delayed by the Manchester Evening News.
“There is always a sense of anticipation ahead of the opening Premier League game of the season,” Woodward, Manchester United executive vice-chairman, said before the game.
“But today will be even more special than usual with a full house cheering on the team for the first time in 17 months.
“The experience of playing football behind closed doors has reminded everyone of the importance of fans to the game and I’m sure the atmosphere at Old Trafford for the visit of Leeds United this afternoon will show us what we have been missing.
“I hope that you share the excitement I feel about the season ahead, as we look to build on our strong campaign last term. The new contract awarded to Ole reflects our firm belief that we’re on the right track under his leadership.
“Our objective at Manchester United is always to be competing for the most important trophies with an entertaining, hard-working team comprised of top-class recruits build on a foundation of the best homegrown talent.
“With the continued development of arguably our strongest crop of young players for many years, we feel closer than ever to the vision that Ole has set out to achieve.
“It has also been a busy summer away from the pitch with significant improvement work completed at Old Trafford, including expanded ability platforms which we believe are now among the best in Europe, and a new section of barrier seating which will enhance safety and the matchday experience.
“Progress has also been made towards strengthening fan engagement, with recruitment underway on our new fans’ advisory board, which will open an additional channel for dialogue with supporters. We remain fully committed to delivering on this and certain measures to ensure that the interests of fans are always reflected in the club’s decision-making.”