Despite not being quite as big of a household name as the likes of Alex Ferguson or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United executive-vice chairman Ed Woodward has become a name frequently mentioned alongside the club's transfer activity and commercial endeavours.
Woodward had a famous falling out with former United coach Jose Mourinho after refusing to deliver his transfer targets, and is largely responsible for overseeing and landing transfer targets. Woodward was the man responsible for securing Paul Pogba's €105 million (£90m) transfer to Man Utd in 2016, making him the world's most expensive footballer at the time.
But what exactly does Woodward do at Man Utd, how much does he earn, and what are his responsibilities at Old Trafford? Goal takes a look.
How much is Ed Woodward worth?
According to EPL Focus, the Man Utd chairman has a net worth of £10m as of 2019.
What does Ed Woodward do?
Woodward has built quite a reputation at Old Trafford as club executive vice-chairman and is responsible for a great deal of the club's inner-workings.
He was initially given a financial planning role, before taking on responsibility for United's commercial and media operations in 2007 and becoming a full-on director in 2012.
Woodward is a former accountant and investment banker, and succeeded former chief executive David Gill in 2013 to be tasked with overseeing the operations of the club. He has been with the club since the Glazer family's 2005 takeover, and has since played a key role.
A physics graduate from Bristol University, Woodward began his career with Pricewaterhouse Coopers' accountancy and tax advisory department in 1993, eventually moving to JP Morgan in 1999 where he worked as a senior investment banker.
He had no previous experience working in the sport industry before joining Man Utd, though started to attend Premier League shareholder meetings alongside former colleague Gill from 2012 to improve his knowledge of football politics.
Woodward has been credited with the upturn of Man Utd's business ventures since he began the role of executive vice-chairman, tasked with the responsibility of overseeing worldwide sponsorship deals for the club. Man Utd's kit deal with Adidas is the most expensive and lucrative in football, set at a monumental £750m over 10 years.
"Our debt, taking a house comparison, is like a mortgage. And it's small relative to the value of the business. And the person living inside it is getting richer and richer and richer in terms of income every year," Woodward said in an interview.
"We're verging on £100m more a year of commercial revenue than when the Glazers bought the club."
United’s commercial revenue rose from £48.7m in 2005 to £117.6m in 2012. This was ultimately due to Woodward's new and improved deals with brands such as Nike, Aperol, Aon, Epson and DHL as part of an extensive plan to increase Man Utd's commercial activities worldwide.
What criticism has Ed Woodward faced?
Woodward's commercial ventures with Man Utd, his handling and overseeing of transfers and drive to consistently seek new ways to monetise the club has drawn criticism from both fans and managers.
Red Devils fans have complained over owners – the Glazer family – of running Man Utd as a business and not as a club. They called for Woodward to resign after the £27.5m signing of Marouane Fellaini in 2013, with the acquisition of the player drawing criticism as well as failing to secure other transfers.
Former manager Mourinho butted heads with the chairman after his transfer targets at the end of the 2018 summer window were vetoed. Fans and manager alike criticised Woodward and Man Utd for failing to improve the squad over the summer, with supporters suggesting that the directors were more focused on brand development and global ventures rather than success on a footballing level.
This was emphasised with the announcement of a brand deal with Chivas Regal whisky on August 8, a day before the transfer window shut, which was announced with a video clip that the club usually reserved for the announcement of new players.
Woodward's failure to deliver Mourinho the signings he had asked for caused tension between the pair, eventually culminating in his downfall and dismissal from the club later that December.
Ex-coach Louis van Gaal had complained about Man Utd's excessive commercial ventures under Woodward, lamenting about the effect that the intense pre-season summer tours would have on his squad.
When United toured Australasia in 2014, the club had made a 24,000-mile round trip and in 2012 they covered 22,000 miles when travelling to Durban, Cape Town, Shanghai, Oslo and Gothenburg.
“Maybe it is too big a club. Not only in a sporting sense but also commercially," Van Gaal said at the time. "We have to do a lot of things that normally I don’t allow. I have to adapt to this big club but I think also this big club has to adapt to Van Gaal. I hope we can have some balance to that.”
Woodward had argued that a club as large in nature as United could not afford to ignore the potential draw of foreign countries in the United States and Asia. Before Van Gaal’s comments, Woodward said: “America and Asia are the two core places we tend to go to and both of them deliver a huge amount. The Premier League has been very clear in saying America is the No. 1 developing market.
“It may be strange to describe the US as a developing market but if you look at the stats from the World Cup, the NBC numbers were two and a half times the previous Fox and ESPN [World Cup] numbers and despite finishing seventh we were the No1 most watched team.
“This is a very good country [for us] from a potential sponsorship perspective, a potential media perspective. We’ve got more fans here than we have in the UK.”