Manchester United supremo Ed Woodward was left red-faced after leaving a journal containing his top-secret transfer negotiating strategies on a train. A member of the public found the journal on a train departing from Manchester Airport and immediately emailed its contents to Football Leaks.
One diary entry entitled ‘The Masterplan’ details the time he successfully negotiated the £27M deadline day purchase of Marouane Fellaini whose minimum fee release clause was only £22M. Another explosive memorandum reveals that Woodward recently had a portrait of his hero Peter Ridsdale tattooed on his back.
It’s a huge blow for the 47-year-old former accountant who managed to keep his unbelievable transfer strategies a total mystery since 2012.
As news of the journal’s discovery broke, millions of people across the globe crashed the Football Leaks servers as they clambered to get a peek at the classified documents.
Former WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange claims the publishing of Woodward’s journal is even more significant than the leaks provided to him by Chelsea Manning.
‘It could well be the most significant piece of source material in journalistic history’, he said via video link from his cell in HM Prison Belmarsh.
‘Without trying to sound too dramatic, this is on a par with Colonel Sanders leaving his secret recipe on a Glasgow bus’ gushed Assange, before being dragged away for his daily waterboarding at a US military black site.
The journal also reveals the ground-breaking tactics employed by Woodward during the tense transfer negotiations with Alexis Sanchez and his agent Fernando Felicevich.
‘Every time Felicevich voiced his concerns about our recent form I threw another bundle of cash at his head’, recounts the United executive vice-chairman.
‘Meanwhile, I distracted Alexis by showing him a selection of cute Labradors on my iPad’.
Woodward devotes an entire chapter of his journal to the five times he ‘nearly signed Ronaldo’.
‘I got the feeling Ronnie wanted to come back to us but he was reluctant to move his kids who were accustomed to life in Madrid’.
‘I told him the Trafford Centre had a Subway in its food court now and there was a new soft play area in Altrincham that had a 4.7-star rating on Facebook.
‘We shook hands, I thought the deal was done. Some people said he was only using me to get a new bumper deal at Real. Not me’, he wrote.
The former J.P. Morgan employee named ex-Leeds United and Barnsley chairman Peter Ridsdale as his ‘idol’ and claims the blueprint for his own transfer strategy was based upon Ridsdale’s signing of Seth Johnson in 2001. Paying homage to the Yorkshire businessman, Woodward visited David Beckham’s Manchester-based tattooist Louis Molloy and had a portrait of his idol inked on his back.
‘Yeah, Ed was in here’, recalls Molloy. ‘He wanted a full back piece done which usually costs a grand. He offered to pay me three.’