Woodward optimistic on fans' return
Ed Woodward has welcomed signs of “light at the end of the tunnel” for football fans as the easing of UK lockdown restrictions opens a path for Old Trafford to return to full capacity next season.
It is almost a year since fans were last inside the stadium for a thrilling 2-0 derby victory over Manchester City and Woodward said “their absence has only highlighted the importance of fans to the fabric of football, and we can’t wait to welcome them back".
“The successful rapid roll-out of vaccines and falling rate of infections in the UK makes us optimistic about the Government’s roadmap out of the lockdown, including plans for the gradual reopening of sports stadia to spectators beginning this spring,” he said. “Initially, this will be with limits on capacity, but we are hopeful of crowds ramping back up to full capacity next season.”
“This reflects our commitment to being a positive force in society and a source of pride for our fans,” he said. “It also reflects the dedication of all our employees, and the robustness of our finances fuelled by our commercial business, in responding to this once-in-a-century level crisis.”
Woodward paid special tribute to the club’s coaching, medical and support teams for their efforts during a period when condensed fixture calendars and strict anti-virus protocols have placed huge demands on staff. “We are proud to have played our part in keeping football going to maintain a precious source of entertainment and community for fans around the world,” he said.