Gary Neville slams Man United for lacking ‘strong and authoritative leadership from the top’ after their lengthy Mason Greenwood probe – and urges independent panels to handle these ‘horrible’ situations in future
- Manchester United have announced that Mason Greenwood will leave the club
- United undertook a lengthy internal investigation into the 21-year-old’s future
- Gary Neville insisted the right decision was made, but criticised United’s probe
Gary Neville has insisted that Manchester United have made the right decision after they announced Mason Greenwood will leave Old Trafford following the club concluding its internal review into the striker – but criticised their handling of the situation.
The 21-year-old, who was arrested in January 2022 on suspicion of a number of offences including attempted rape, will not play for the club again and is likely to leave on loan or see his contract settled.
The Crown Prosecution Service subsequently dropped the charges in February of this year after key witnesses withdrew and new material came to light.
But Greenwood has not played for United, who launched their own probe, since his arrest. That seven-month investigation has now ended. United found Greenwood did not commit the offences which he was charged with but have also concluded it would be best for all if his future was away from Old Trafford.
And Neville, speaking on Monday Night Football, felt the correct outcome has been reached, but slammed the club’s process in getting there.
Gary Neville insisted Man United have made the right decision on Mason Greenwood’s future
United announced Greenwood would be departing after conducting an internal investigation
However, Neville criticised the process United went through over the seventh-month probe, hitting out at the lack of ‘strong and authoritative leadership’ from the top of the club
‘Yes they have I think (made the right decision),’ the former United defender said.
‘It was clear from day one well for me and for anyone who saw that evidence that was initially released that he wouldn’t play for Man United again.
‘And so they have got there, however I would say the process in getting there has been pretty horrible.
‘I think that Manchester United, when you have significant situations and difficult situations like this, it requires strong and authoritative leadership and that comes from the very top and Manchester United don’t have that.’
Neville also claimed extremely sensitive topics like this can’t just be dealt with by clubs and that independent help should be sought in similar situations in the future.
He added: ‘And on an issue like domestic abuse and violence against women, it brings me to a third point that there needs to be independence.
‘It shouldn’t be that Manchester United are the judge and jury on such a significant issue, not just for themselves but also for the game.
‘People talk about reputation to Man United but it’s the Premier League here as well. And my view here is that on issues of this importance and severity that they should be dealt with independently by a panel.
‘Because it’s been clear that Manchester United have not had the skill and the ability to deal with this situation properly – it’s been well above their grade of experience and ability.’
After the news was announced on Monday afternoon, a United spokesperson said: ‘All those involved, including Mason, recognise the difficulties with him recommencing his career at Manchester United. 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.’
Greenwood saw charges of attempted rape and assault against him dropped earlier this year
A group of Man United supporters protested before the club’s first home game of the season, outlining their opposition to reintegrating striker Mason Greenwood into the first team
‘Based on the evidence available to us, we have concluded that the material posted online did not provide a full picture and that Mason did not commit the offences in respect of which he was originally charged. That said, as Mason publicly acknowledges today, he has made mistakes which he is taking responsibility for.’
Greenwood added in his own statement: ‘I was brought up to know that violence or abuse in any relationship is wrong, I did not do the things I was accused of, and in February I was cleared of all charges. I take my share of responsibility for the situations which led to the social media post.
‘Today’s decision has been part of a collaborative process between Manchester United, my family and me. 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.’
Chief executive Richard Arnold handled the investigation, which was assisted by chief operating officer Collette Roche, the club’s legal counsel Patrick Stewart, their communications director Ellie Norman and Red Devils football director John Murtough.
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