Paul Ince pens explosive open letter to Ed Woodward slamming Manchester United
In the explosive letter, which features in ‘Pitch Invader’, Paddy Power’s magazine found inside the Sunday Mirror, the former midfield enforcer takes aim at Paul Pogba, branding the club’s most expensive player as ‘sly’, before claiming Jesse Lingard is ‘bang average’ and that the pair lack respect for their team-mates and club.
Ince also has numerous digs at Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, over the way the club is currently being run, claiming United’s stars wouldn’t be acting the way they are if Sir Alex Ferguson or Pep Guardiola were in charge at Old Trafford.
Paul Ince’s open letter to Ed Woodward in full
There’s just so much about Manchester United that isn’t right. The footballing decisions have been mental for a few years now.
The club has fallen far behind the pack. I’d like to think that they will recover, but I think we could be waiting a while.
United are back in the Europa League, which is depressing to even think about it, never mind speak about.
You’ve got to realise that, while United have fallen behind, City and Liverpool have kept advancing. Don’t think for one minute that those teams will give United any chance to catch up, they’ll only slip further behind.
It’s all about personnel for United now. How you improve not only the team but the club, from the top down.
You have to start again from fresh.
For me, a lot of the issues come down to the attitude of the squad. The players are doing exactly what they want, when they want, and there’s no control from above.
It wouldn’t happen under Fergie and it wouldn’t happen under Pep Guardiola. Players are dictating to you and the board what they want – and that’s not on.
I get it. You’re a banker – not a football man. You’re absolutely fantastic at bringing in profit and sponsorship deals but you can’t just keep throwing money away on players.
You need someone in who gets football, who has the presence to deal with these players and tell them they can’t demand X, Y and Z from United.
Tell them where to stick it.
Players like Jesse Lingard think they’re bigger than the club and the manager. If Fergie was in charge they wouldn’t be doing it, they wouldn’t even still be at the club.
Jesse has been bang average this year and if I’d performed the way he did last season the last thing I would do is post anything on social media. The way he played last season he should be embarrassed.
Then there’s Pogba – the man you spent £89million on. Why did he wait until the end of the season to say he wants to go with a sly comment in the press? If you’re gonna say it, say it in front of those thousands of fans who go to watch you.
Ole – the man you appointed – needs to come out against these players. He needs to come down hard on them and set a precedent that he’s not allowing players to behave like that anymore. The fans won’t have it. It’s a lack of respect for your team-mates who can behave, and it’s a total lack of respect for playing for Manchester United.
I hope Ole knows that he needs to have players who actually give a toss about playing for United.
On transfer business. I hear people say you need to get players in that will work hard and run around for the club – but it’s not about that. I can come in now and work hard and run about, even at my age. I mean, I wouldn’t last five minutes, but that’s not the criteria that you should want.
It’s about quality players with the right spirit and attitude.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was signed for £55million, a lot of money for a full-back. Ole said he wanted to go down the route of bringing in younger, fresher talent and building the team that way – but that’s not the way to go.
Do you see many youth players in Manchester City ’s team except Phil Foden? No, and they just won the league.
Liverpool have a couple, but the majority of their team are senior, experienced players interspersed with youth.
Youth players today aren’t the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. There’s just not that much coming through the academy.
Yes, pick two or three youngsters but then integrate them with top class, top quality senior players – don’t rely on it.
Then there’s the manager. I said last season you should’ve gone with someone more experienced and I stand by that.
But you have made your bed and now have to lie in it. You have tried the whole binning a manager after a year thing and it’s not worked. Now you have to stick with Ole.
If he starts badly you’ll want to change him – but that’s just another disruption and another step backwards for the club.
Let Ole bring in his players and have a full run at the season – then he has no excuses.
As for yourself, stick to counting the cash.