David Gill to step down

by Tom Parker

Manchester United chief executive David Gill will step down from his role at the club on the 30th of June, after nearly ten years in the role.

Gill, 55, joined the board in February 1997 as finance director, before assuming the role of chief exec in September 2003, and he will remain at the club in the role of a director.

United’s current executive vice chairman Ed Woodward will take over from Gill, who is also vice-chairman for the F.A, and is their candidate in the upcoming UEFA Executive Committee elections in May.

Gill said of his departure: “It has been the greatest privilege to serve Manchester United for 16 wonderful years – the last 10 of which as its chief executive. I have worked alongside the finest manager in the history of the game and been part of what I consider to be the best club in the best sport in the world.”

“It has been a very hard decision because I love this club and, as the fans’ banner says, it is, ‘more than a religion’. I’ve experienced some incredible highs, such as the Treble in 1999 and the League and Champions League double in 2008, and lows, like losing the title with the last kick of the season last year. But that is what makes this club and this sport so compelling.”

“However, I have always been conscious of the fact that, as a member of staff, I was always just a temporary custodian of this marvellous institution. I am also of the view that all businesses need to refresh themselves with new management and ideas and after 10 years in charge I believe it is appropriate for someone new to pick up the baton.

“I’m delighted Ed has accepted the role. I have worked with him for more than seven years and in that time he has built up knowledge of football matters, which will hold him in good stead for the future.

“I am looking forward to continuing my involvement on the club board. And I hope to be able to make a contribution to the game on a wider national and European level.

“I’d like to thank the Glazer family and my fellow directors for all their support over the years. But in particular, I would like to thank all of the club’s fantastic staff for their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm right across the organisation. In my 35 years in business, I have never met a more loyal, diligent and professional staff as that at United. Without doubt, we would not have achieved what we have done in the last two decades without their unstinting commitment and talent. I extend to them all my very best wishes for the future.

“There is nowhere like Manchester United in world sport and if I have played a small part in maintaining and enhancing that reputation, then it has been an honour.”

Sir Alex Ferguson said of Gill’s decision

“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. No disagreement is ever personal with him. He always wants the best for United, whether it’s the players, the training ground or the staff.”

“Him stepping down is a big loss to me but the fact that he is staying on the board encourages me that the reason for his departure is heartfelt, that he believes it is time for the club to move on. If I could have found a way of persuading him to stay I would love to have done that. But he has made his decision and I respect him for it.”

“He has been, and will continue to be, a fantastic success for Manchester United. He has all the qualities of successful people engrained in him: energy, honesty, integrity, personality and decision-making ability. I wish him well in whatever new challenges he will tackle in the future.”

Gill’s replacement Ed Woodward, aged 40, is currently the Executive Vice Chairman and a Director, and has been on the board since April 2012. He is also director of Manchester United Merchandising Limited and MUTV and is on the Marketing Committee of the European Clubs Association. Woodward will begin his new role at the beginning of July.

Gill has done a brilliant job for the club over the years, so it is no surprise to hear widespread support from Sir Alex Ferguson and Joel Glazer, who was also full of praise for the 55-year-old. Of course, there is a section of the clubs support who will always be hostile towards the hierarchy of the club for not putting up more resistance during the takeover of the club in 2005 by the Glazer Family. The work he has done pre and post debt has been excellent.

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