Manchester United made the right decision for Mason Greenwood for all the wrong reasons

Manchester United It was tied 0-0 with West Ham In January 2022, with the minutes ticking away, Ralf Rangnick called up Edinson Cavani and Anthony Marcial. It proved to be a good double change, with both of them involved Marcus RashfordThe winner in stoppage time.

However, now its significance is somewhat different. Mason Greenwood He was one who was removed: now his 129y Uniform appearance The latter will prove to him. What should have been an impressive career at Old Trafford came to an end a few months after he turned 20y birthday.

At the moment, he is still under contract, But in limbo. A six-month investigation came to the conclusion that Greenwood would never play for United again. It may be sold or loaned. His contract can be paid. He has not been removed, which United says they would have done had they found him guilty of attempted rape, assault or coercive and controlling behaviour, and charges were first laid and then dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service. But in January 2022, a week after Greenwood’s last match, images emerged of a bleeding and bruised woman, with the voice of a man who appeared to threaten to rape her. It remains impossible to forget. to forgive many.

Greenwood will never play for United again nor should he. And so it is possible that they came to the right decision, perhaps in the wrong way, perhaps for the wrong reasons. There were plans to bring Greenwood back – although United insist they had simply considered a variety of scenarios – perhaps most tellingly in chief executive Richard Arnold’s statement: “Moreover, this case has prompted strong opinions, and it is my responsibility to minimize any distraction.” For the unity we seek within the club.”

Had Greenwood played again, Manchester would have been divided, not United. There were protests ahead of Monday’s game v.s Wolves; There could have been more if he had returned to the team. TV presenter Rachel Riley She said she was going to stop supporting United Greenwood did again. She wasn’t alone in that either. Manchester United Supporters Fund They supported the decision not to reinstate him, though not lack of consultation of the masses. There were staff at Old Trafford who felt it would be wrong to call him on, some who did not want to meet Greenwood in their line of work, and perhaps some who considered quitting their jobs.

Perhaps United originally underestimated the strength of feeling. There may also have been commercial considerations; The club’s image would have suffered great damage if he had played, and it was already tarnished.

Greenwood will never play for Manchester United again (EPA)

Greenwood will never play for Manchester United again (EPA)

Because there is a tendency – often a desire – to celebrate footballers. But would United fans have cheered if Greenwood had scored for them again? Were they in the awkward position of loving the shirt and hating the man who wore it?

Footballers are imperfect people, as we are all, and some more than others, but there is a matter of personality. The word is often used in football – when a team gets an equalizing goal late on, when a player returns from injury – but there is a deeper meaning. If ever there was a moral test, Greenwood failed it.

Those who have been convicted of criminal offenses have the right to work, let alone those who have not, but playing for Manchester United is not just a job: it is a privilege. And if that invites questions as to what level of football, if any, it ceases to be valid and there is no definite answer as to where Greenwood should be allowed to play, there might be a similar reaction at other clubs in England, should that happen. that. Try and sign it. It is still hard to imagine a scenario where he adds to his only cap for England.

Nothing that makes him the victim. United argues that they conducted a thorough investigation, demonstrated their concern about the woman in question, who remained anonymous her entire life for legal reasons, spoke to her mother, and showed their findings, as well as their duty of care to Greenwood.

There were protests outside Old Trafford ahead of their match against Wolves against Greenwood's potential return (FFAGR2023/Twitter)

There were protests outside Old Trafford ahead of their match against Wolves against Greenwood’s potential return (FFAGR2023/Twitter)

Arnold said he was “satisfied that Mason did not commit the acts imputed to him.” None of which makes Greenwood necessarily innocent in the court of public opinion; As he accepted himself, his behavior was wrong. “I fully accept that I made mistakes, and I bear my share of responsibility for the situations that led to this social media post,” he said.

However, if time is required to find out if he is living a better life, as he has vowed, and if there are reasons to keep some details secret, it would be useful to know if he has spoken, for example, to a counsellor, or to victims of rape and domestic violence. , or donate to appropriate charities. and if not, why not; This would not be an automatic admission of guilt, but it would be an admission that he took the cases very seriously.

His other concern may seem trivial by comparison, though football can be a juxtaposition of the relevant and the irrelevant. But he has to find a club, with United vowing to help them do so. If his primary responsibility is to be a better partner and a good father, as he has vowed, he may have a duty to himself to try to salvage his career and fulfill some of his potential. The young prodigy – the man Ole Gunnar Solskjaer considers Old Trafford’s top scorer – had the talent to be one of United’s greats. He has not been found guilty of an offense or sent off by United, but still it will never be his fault.

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