Manchester United's neon sign at Old Trafford spells out NHS United

Woodward: We have mixed emotions

Tuesday 23 June 2020 22:25

The official match programme for Manchester United's first home fixture since lockdown - against Sheffield United this Wednesday evening - includes a personal message from Ed Woodward.

The executive vice-chairman uses the page in United Review to reflect on how the Reds and the Manchester United Foundation have responded to the coronavirus crisis, to acknowledge the frontline workers and mourn the people we have lost to the pandemic, and to convey his belief that our club can emerge from these difficult times with "our strength intact."

Woodward credits a large part of that belief to the "loyalty of our fantastic supporters" and looks forward to the day when the fans can safely return to the stands.

Below, you can read his message in full. The match programme in which it appears is available to order in print form via, while a digital version will be sent via email to Season Ticket Holders this Wednesday morning.
Ed Woodward, pictured at a match earlier this year.

“Emotions are mixed as we welcome Sheffield United to Old Trafford. While everyone at Manchester United is excited to be getting back to playing football, we regret that our fans cannot be in the stadium, and recognise these are difficult times for many people around the world.

“We mourn all those who have lost their lives to coronavirus and honour the legions of frontline heroes – from nurses, to supermarket workers, to neighbourhood volunteers – who have helped our communities through this most challenging of periods.

“We have done what we can, through the club and the fantastic Manchester United Foundation, to support those efforts. I’m especially proud of the many club staff who volunteered to take part in initiatives such as foodbank deliveries, welfare calls to elderly fans, and the provision of over 60,000 meals for NHS staff cooked in our Old Trafford kitchens. I’m also proud of our players and their own individual work that has made a difference during the pandemic.

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Manchester United Foundation and the club are working with charities to help tackle local food shortages.

“As a club, we say ‘thank you’ tonight through the ‘United for the Heroes’ banner displayed in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, as well as the NHS logo on the players’ shirts.

“You will also see powerful anti-racism messages, on the players’ shirts and in the stands, and we are proud to be uniting with our players and the rest of the Premier League behind this crucial cause.

“Diversity, inclusion and the fight against racism are at the core of our values as a club whose support spans racial and cultural boundaries. This has been a long-standing commitment from the club as part of our All Red All Equal campaign and our support for groups such as Kick It Out.

“The breadth and diversity of our fan base is demonstrated by over 40,000 supporters from 193 countries who submitted their pictures for the spectacular fan mosaic, which will be on show in the stands for the first time tonight.
United for Heroes Video

United for Heroes

Everyone at United is continuing to show support for key workers and volunteers, with our 'Frontline Heroes' campaign...

“We hope the mosaic will provide inspiration to the team as a reminder of the hundreds of millions cheering them on from home. As a banner in the Stretford End tonight declares, quoting Sir Matt Busby, “football is nothing without fans”, and we can’t wait for you to return to Old Trafford as soon as it is safe to do so. Until then, the players will strive to retain the spirit of that pulsating win against Manchester City when we were last together and the momentum they had created before the enforced break.

“Off the pitch, there is no escaping the reality that the coming months are going to be difficult for everyone in football and we are no exception. However, our club’s foundations are solid and, provided we stick together and manage our resources carefully, we will come through this period with our strength intact – thanks in large part to the loyalty of our fantastic supporters.

“Wherever you are watching, enjoy the game tonight.”