Former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra has revealed that it was Ed Woodward’s betrayal that made him leave the Old Trafford club during the summer of 2014. The Frenchman ended up signing for Juventus after a lengthly contract standoff with United. Evra had agreed on a two-year contract with Antonio Conte’s Juventus before United extended the player’s contract by another year, which left the player with no option other than to ask to leave the club.
Juventus signed the French left-back for just £1.2 million and he stayed at the Old Lady for two and a half seasons, winning two Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia’s and one Supercoppa Italiana at the club. He left for Marseille in January 2017, signing for West Ham United and returning to the Premier League in February 2018 after a UEFA ban which also ended the player’s contract in France. Speaking to The Guardian, the Frenchman has called out Woodward and allowed some truth to be put out there, saying:
“I felt betrayed by Ed. I called Juventus to tell them I am coming. Ed then said: ‘We offer you a two-year contract, more money, the captaincy, a testimonial.’ [It was] Too late.”
United continued to struggle after Evra left the club, as they did after Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012/13 season with the baton handed to David Moyes to steer the club, who was sacked in April 2014 with Ryan Giggs managing the club for the remainder of the season. At the end of the 2014/15 season, Juventus had reached the UEFA Champions League final which they lost to Barcelona with Evra recalling what his ex-wife had said to him at the time, saying:
“My ex-wife said: ‘See? Manchester are nearly in the Championship and you’re in this final.’ I love Juventus but I said: ‘Even if they’re in the Championship, I prefer to be at United. Nothing can replace my love for them.’”
Evra’s final season at United was not the best. The reigning Premier League champions eventually finished seventh in the league and missed out on European football. Marouane Fellaini was the only player signed in the summer transfer window with Juan Mata arriving in January 2014. It was not enough to save Moyes from his inevitable sacking. Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville completed the season as the manager and coaching staff with Louis van Gaal taking over as the manager.
Evra confirmed that Moyes was handed the impossible task of leading United as many of the player did not respect him. Ferguson was respected by every player at the club, and he had earned that respect. Moyes, at one stage, suggested that ‘United aspired to play like Manchester City’, which was not the way to get the players and the supporters on side. The Frenchman feels that United lost their DNA after Ferguson retired, which was the first of many things lost, saying:
“When Ferguson left, United lost their DNA, their philosophy. He was inspiring so much respect, so much fear, and if any player starts thinking he is bigger than the team then he destroyed you.
“The players always wanted to play for Ferguson. I tried my best for David Moyes but I knew it would be a disaster because players won’t respect him like that. It was a mission impossible.”
Written by John Walker