Revealed: Why Man United's  plans to reinstate Mason Greenwood were shelved

Charges against Greenwood included attempted rape and assault was discontinued by the Crown || Photo Credit: Imago

PREMIER LEAGUE Revealed: Why Man United's plans to reinstate Mason Greenwood were shelved

Mark Kinyanjui 21:00 - 21.08.2023

United were planning of reinstating Greenwood to the first team set up, but have been forced to withdraw their plans due to one reason.

Manchester United have abandoned their plan to bring back Mason Greenwood to the club for one big reason.

The club faced mounting criticism from inside and outside after reports  last Wednesday indicated that United chief executive Richard Arnold held a meeting with the club’s executive leadership in the first week of August to inform them the plan was for Greenwood to return.

United insisted last week a decision “had not yet been made” but, in light of the strong critical reaction to the revelations in the story and further reporting from The Athletic, the club held crisis talks on Friday. They have since decided not to reintegrate Greenwood with the first team at this stage.

“All those involved, including Mason, recognise the difficulties with him recommencing his career at Manchester United,” a club statement released on Monday by the club said.

 “It has therefore been mutually agreed that it would be most appropriate for him to do so away from Old Trafford, and we will now work with Mason to achieve that outcome.

The club, and Arnold himself, have received emails of criticism from United supporters in recent days, voicing their concerns over the possible reinstatement of the 21-year-old, who has not played for United since January 22, 2022.

Greenwood had been subject to an internal investigation from United since February when the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) discontinued its case against him for attempted rape, assault, and coercive control.

The CPS said there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction” after key witnesses withdrew their cooperation from the investigation. Greenwood denied all the alleged offenses.

Speaking for the first time since the case was dropped, Greenwood reiterated that stance while admitting to “mistakes” and wanting “to take my share of responsibility”.

“The best decision for us all, is for me to continue my football career away from Old Trafford, where my presence will not be a distraction for the club. I thank the club for their support since I joined aged seven. There will always be a part of me which is United.

“I am enormously grateful to my family and all my loved ones for their support, and it is now for me to repay the trust those around me have shown. I intend to be a better footballer, but most importantly a good father, a better person, and to use my talents in a positive way on and off the pitch.”

According to The Athletic, Some members of staff were prepared to consider their positions at United in the event Greenwood returned and others began to explore going on strike or resigning.

Several members of parliament criticised the proposed return, as did Women’s Aid, a charity which supports women and children.

Internal risk assessment documents prepared by the club had categorized external stakeholders, such as politicians, football pundits and individual journalists, and made assumptions as to whether they would view Greenwood’s return as supportively or with hostility. 

For example, United had prepared documents outlining the type of images that should be taken of the player during training sessions and planned how manager Erik ten Hag should handle questions during an anticipated media storm.

Greenwood, who was barred from Carrington for the duration of the club’s investigation and instead trained privately in full knowledge of United, was absent from the pre-season tour of the United States earlier this summer where Ten Hag revealed he was open to the prospect of Greenwood returning to United’s squad, but said the club would make the ultimate call.

“Of course, I have said my ideas and opinions but it’s a club decision,” Ten Hag said, in New Jersey on the first day of United’s summer tour. “We all have to accept that.”

According to The Athletic, both Ten Hag and the club’s football director John Murtough were supporting and encouraging of Greenwood’s return, which United have never denied.

Greenwood had been the subject of loan interest from clubs in Italy, and came up in conversations with Atalanta around Rasmus Hojlund, who United went on to sign in a €75million plus €10m ( Ksh 14 billion) deal.

Greenwood has been at United since the age of seven, and has gone on to make 129 appearances since his debut in 2019, scoring 35 goals.