Woodward Is The Artistic Genius Man United Have So Desperately Needed
If your ideas provoke the establishment to vilify or threaten you, you must be right.
- The Galileo Gambit
True genius is rare, comes in many forms, and is not always well-received by the masses. Galileo was laughed at when he first said the world was flat; Oscar Wilde, though popular, was trialled twice and imprisoned; and Vincent Van Gogh was simply never appreciated in his own lifetime. Glued to Sky Sports News and Twitter on transfer deadline day, I couldn’t help but wonder if someday we would be adding one more name to that list - the name Ed Woodward.
When news of Manchester United’s deal for Radamel Falcao broke, the Internet erupted with snide questions like, “Can he play centre-half?” No, of course he can’t, you idiot – that’s like employing Mozart to drive a tractor. And Ed Woodward understands this in a unique way because often it takes one gifted person to recognise another. He didn’t sign Falcao to play centre-half. United’s top-heavy squad, and particularly the apparent need for defensive reinforcements, lured out that sizeable cross section of individuals who love both football and similes. But Ed Woodward doesn’t care for their droll use of rhetorical devices because this squad is Ed Woodward’s sonnet. And Shakespeare never wrote about defensive midfielders.
Tempting as it may be to regard Ed Woodward as the Bard of modern times, perhaps the best comparison for Ed Woodward is Michelangelo. Now, I know the question many of you are asking: Michelangelo, the painter or Michelangelo, the Ninja Turtle? And the answer is both. The former was considered the greatest living artist of his era, commissioned to create masterpieces for the highest authorities of the day; the ultimate Renaissance man - sound familiar? In the title sequence to Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Michelangelo is alleged to have been a “party dude”, and it is widely known that Ed Woodward also likes parties. Third parties, to be precise.
Some men ask, “Why?” Others ask, “Why not?” Ed Woodward looks upon the latter with sympathetic eyes, as he refuses to use the word ‘not’ – it is too negative for his vocabulary. In his spare time, he contemplates the possibility of a phrase more optimistic than “anything is possible.” It is not by coincidence that Ed Woodward mentions dreams and the transfer market in the same breath, though Ed Woodward does appreciate the beauty of coincidence. No, for Ed Woodward, the transfer market is the real Theatre of Dreams. It allows him to surround himself with fellow artists, turning Old Trafford into the Premier League’s Place du Tertre. Juan Mata, stifled by Jose Mourinho, represents the plight of the creative thinker; Angel Di María, the angel, represents the salvation of Ed Woodward and his vision; and Radamel Falcao, the Colombian, represents the drug issues that many artists struggle with.
While Ed Woodward has managed to sidestep the pitfall of substance abuse, he has faced his share of struggle. The ‘failures’ of last season were born out of a quick and difficult transition from the era of Sir Alex Ferguson to that of Ed Woodward. It was like going from chalk to cheese. One of those smelly French cheeses that artsy people more intelligent than you like. Genius needs freedom to blossom, so it was unfair to criticise Ed Woodward when he failed to immediately create a Mona Lisa out of the newspaper comic strip left behind by Fergie. The failed pursuits of high profile players and the signing of Marouane Fellaini have drawn widespread and public criticism, but every artist spills some paint or hits a bum note from time to time. What is important is their vision.
According to the Ed Woodward gambit, Ed Woodward is destined to be maligned by the establishment. Both in spite and because of this very reason, his vision of a squad of artists will be revered as a masterpiece in years to come.