Woodward’s salary returned to its base figure – approximately £1m less than during the previous season, when his earnings were inflated by a one-off vesting of stock options to reflect years of service under the Glazer ownership.
But Woodward has been widely criticised by supporters since taking on the club’s top operational role in 2013, shortly after the retirement of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
United finished sixth in the Premier League last season and failed to qualify for the Champions League, having dismissed Jose Mourinho as manager midway through the campaign and replaced him with the incumbent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Despite this disappointing performance, United’s total wage bill still rose by £33.3m during the 2018-19 season – from £255.2m to £287.5m – and remains the highest of any top-flight club.
By comparison, Liverpool and Manchester City’s most recent financial records from the 2017-18 season show wage bills of £232.7m and £225.9m respectively. Chelsea’s 2018-19 wages amounted to £231.3m and Arsenal’s totalled £200.8m.
United’s board of directors – which includes Ferguson, former midfielder Sir Bobby Charlton, Woodward’s predecessor David Gill and members of the Glazer family ownership – earned a total of £6.8m, down from £7.6m.
In comparison with well-paid directors at other Premier League clubs, only Tottenham’s Daniel Levy rivals Woodward earning power, taking home approximately £3m during the 2017-18 campaign.
Ferran Sorriano, the comparable executive at Manchester City, is not listed as a director and therefore his salary is not subject to disclosure in official accounts supplied to Companies House.
United cannot be certain of a return to the Champions League next season following inconsistent form during what is Solskjaer’s first full campaign in charge.
Ahead of Norwich’s visit to Old Trafford on Saturday, United sit in fifth place and are five points behind fellow top-four contenders Chelsea.
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