If ever there was a man who needed some positive publicity then it’s Ed Woodward, but it’s hard to tell if this makes him look like an unlikely hero or if he’s just left looking even more hapless.
The Daily Mail confirmed earlier today that Sky Sports and BT Sport had decided to start a PPV service where fans would need to pay £14.95 per match to watch any game that wasn’t scheduled to be shown on their regular programming.
There’s some mixed reactions here because obviously the Premier League fans are furious about this, but fans in Scotland and those who support lower league teams in England are already having to put up with that to watch their team each week.
Whichever way you look at it it’s another case of the fans being exploited at every turn, so what everyone needed was a hero to step forward and save things for the common fan – enter Ed Woodward:
Exclusive @TheAthleticUK: Sources familiar say #mufc exec vice-chairman Ed Woodward spoke forcefully in PL meeting against £14.95 charge for non-scheduled TV picks. He then proposed free access for season ticket holders but couldn't convince rivals https://t.co/gW4OMI0RZN
— Adam Crafton (@AdamCrafton_) October 9, 2020
In a way it’s nice that he tried to do something good although it’s hard not to by cynical and wonder if he thought was this as an easy PR win, but he was also trying to do the right thing and that has to be admired.
It’s worth noting that Man United fans are well versed in Woodward failing miserably in negotiations, so it’s not a great surprise that his efforts were largely unsuccessful.
There has been one almighty outcry on Twitter about this decision with thousands of fans voicing their discontent, and it looks like there has been a climbdown for now after a post on the Premier League’s website.
They’ve confirmed that everything will go back to normal but only until the end of October, so it won’t be a surprise if they try and slip this through again in a few weeks.
Perhaps Woodward can claim this as a great triumph and a sign of his outstanding powers of persuasion, but it’s much more likely that the TV companies have panicked when everyone found out how easy it is to illegally stream the games instead.