Gary Neville has indicated that Manchester United’s decision to scrap their plan to bring Mason Greenwood back to the club was the right one, but that the club’s handling of the situation leading up to the decision was “pretty horrible” and lacked leadership.
After United CEO Richard Arnold reportedly met with the club’s executive leadership in the first week of August to inform them that Greenwood would be returning, the club came under increasing scrutiny after The Athletic published the meeting last Wednesday.
Sky Sports quoted Neville, a former United captain, and defender turned commentator, as saying, “Yes, they have (made the right decision). They arrived there at last.
His future with Manchester United was doomed from the start.
Getting there has been a hell of a ride. Significant and challenging events like this call for leadership with a strong authoritative presence. And that has to do with the leadership. They don’t have that at Manchester United.
Thirdly, there must be autonomy when addressing sensitive topics like domestic violence and assault against women.
Not Manchester United, but the game as a whole, should be judged and jury over such a major matter.
Manchester United’s fame has gotten a lot of attention, but this is still the Premier League. In this case, I believe that a panel of impartial experts should be tasked with resolving an issue of this magnitude.
Reason being: “Because it’s been clear that Manchester United have not had the skill and ability to deal with this situation properly – it’s been well above their grade of experience and ability.”
Since February, when the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped charges of attempted rape, violence, and coercive control against Greenwood, United has been conducting an internal investigation into his conduct.
The CPS concluded that there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction” after several crucial witnesses stopped helping the case. Greenwood disputed every single charge against him.
A group of female United supporters protested Greenwood’s possible return outside Old Trafford before the Wolves game on August 14. They asked the club to “demonstrate a zero-tolerance approach” towards violence against women.
The group Women Against Greenwood’s Return released a lengthy statement saying that the striker’s return would send the message that “as women, we don’t matter.”
Although Greenwood is under contract with Old Trafford until 2025, the club has decided to make him available for transfer or loan. He is still being paid in full, but he will not be participating in United’s training again.
Neville said that United should not have been in charge of an issue in which they had the necessary expertise, and he advocated for the establishment of an impartial panel to prevent such a scenario in the future.
He argued that autonomy was necessary to address issues like domestic violence and sexual assault.
Manchester United should not be the arbiter of such a weighty matter. For the sake of both oneself and the team. Despite Manchester United’s fame, this is still the Premier League.
In my opinion, matters of such gravity and significance require the impartial attention of a panel.
It’s abundantly evident that Manchester United lacks the competence to handle this problem. It’s been above their level of expertise and experience.
Manchester United, as sports attorney Chris Farnell put it to BBC News, “are damned if they did, and damned if they don’t.”
They would have been advised that their superficial analysis needed to be more thorough if they had done so. It has “taken too long” because of the extensive nature of the work.
“I think the important thing is you have to look into the conclusions Manchester United has to come to and the reasons behind it.”