Last week it was announced that criminal proceedings against Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood had been dropped, but it was by no means proof of innocence.
The audio recordings that emerged in January 2022 left many deeply discomforted and as their veracity has never been challenged in any way, there remains a cloud over the England international regardless of his status as a free citizen.
That cloud leaves many fans understandably uneasy at the prospect of Greenwood ever playing for United again.
Sarah Shepherd of The Athletic has written on the female perspectives around Old Trafford and her article highlights the general feeling that the player’s time at the club must now come to an end.
“The feeling is strong,” in the Man United Women’s dressing room, Shepherd reports.
Having heard the audio last January, many players are naturally uncomfortable with the idea of Greenwood returning to the club.
Natalie Burrell, founder of the Manchester United Women’s Supporters’ Club, echoes that sentiment, saying, “I don’t think he should play again for Manchester United.
“It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world. They need to make a statement and letting him back would be the worst thing they could do. It would set our club back in terms of what we’re trying to do with our women’s team and campaigns like Her Game Too which are trying to encourage women to play and watch football.
“I definitely don’t want him back and I’m confident they won’t, whether that’s through selling him in the summer I don’t know. People just think they’re going to write it (his contract, which runs until 2025 and has the option of another year) off and maybe they will — that would be a real statement – but I’d be surprised. If they just sold him, it’d be a good statement too.
“I just don’t want to see him training. I don’t want to see him in a (United) kit. I don’t want to see him ever coming out at Old Trafford again.”
The Athletic also interviewed a number of female fans ahead of the Red Devils’ clash with Leeds United last night, with the majority adamant that Greenwood should never play for the club again.
Even amongst those who did see a potential way back for the 20-year-old, there was a real sense of hesitancy and discomfort, perhaps best expressed by Margaret Regan who, when asked how she would feel about Mason Greenwood returning to play for the club, said:
“I wouldn’t be 100 per cent happy. I think I’d choke on it, just for the sake of the club. But I wouldn’t be happy as a woman.”
That is not a position in which Manchester United Football Club should ever place its fans.