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Manchester United File Complaint Against 'The Sun' over Ed Woodward House Attack

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2020

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18: The Manchester United club badge on a corner flag during the Carabao Cup Quarter Final match between Manchester United and Colchester United at Old Trafford on December 18, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus)
Visionhaus/Getty Images

Manchester United believe members of The Sun newspaper knew about the attack on the house of Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward in January before it happened.

United also say those behind the story "ED DEVILS Man Utd fans throw flares at Ed Woodward’s house in shocking scenes as anti-board protests continue to escalate" were even present when flares were thrown into Woodward's Cheshire residence.

As a result, the Premier League club lodged a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). United announced the complaint on the club's official website on Friday:

"The Club believes that The Sun newspaper had received advance notice of the intended attack, which included criminal damage and intent to intimidate, and that the journalist was present as it happened. The quality of the images accompanying the story indicate that a photographer was also present.

Not only did the journalist fail to discharge the basic duty of a responsible member of society to report an impending crime and avert potential danger and criminal damage, his presence both encouraged and rewarded the perpetrators. We believe that this was a clear breach of both the IPSO Editors' code and journalistic ethics."

The story was published as an exclusive on January 29. The write-up was accompanied by video footage of the attack carried out by a group whose faces were disguised by hoods and balaclavas.

A video had been uploaded to social media with the message: "Ed Woodward's gonna die." Woodward was not at home during the time of the attack, nor were his wife and children.

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Chants of "he's gonna die, Ed Woodward is gonna die" were also heard when United lost 2-0 at home to Burnley on January 22, per John Brewin of the Guardian.

Ironically, Brewin detailed how United have turned to a former Sun journalist, Neil Ashton, to help run United's communications. Repairing Woodward's images with supporters is a central focus for Ashton.

The 48-year-old has long been the subject of frustration for many supporters of the Red Devils. His spending in the transfer market has been questioned, with high-profile signings such as Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Fred failing to make the grade.

Even a more cost-cutting approach hasn't improved Woodward's standing in the eyes of many. United snapped up dynamic, box-to-box midfielder Bruno Fernandes from Sporting CP for an initial £47 million during the January transfer window.

Yet the decision to acquire former Watford striker Odion Ighalo on a six-month loan left many perplexed.

Jim White @jimw1

On my way to Old Trafford later. Looking forward to being briefed by Ed Woodward's people on how hard he worked to sign a Watford has-been.

Bids for Joshua King of Bournemouth's asking price failed, according to David Ornstein of The Athletic. Meanwhile, United also passed on Edinson Cavani and Salomon Rondon, per MailOnline's Adam Shergold.

The attack on Woodward's home preceded the Premier League's introduction of league-wide bans for any supporters found guilty of anti-social behaviour, per Paul MacInnes of the Guardian.

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