Man Utd or Game of Thrones? Ferdinand and Neville axed
Bloodletting continues at Old Trafford ahead of the appointment of Van Gaal
IF Man United fans thought the upheavals of the last 12 months were painful, they could be in for a shock as the turmoil surrounding the club this summer starts to resemble something out of Game of Thrones, with veteran defender Rio Ferdinand and coaches Phil Neville and Chris Woods the latest casualties.
With the appointment of new manager Louis Van Gaal set to be announced this week the future of caretaker boss Ryan Giggs is also in doubt.
Meanwhile, Nemanja Vidic has played his last game for the club, and he is likely to be joined at Inter Milan by right back Patrice Evra.
It leaves United managerless, shorn of many of their coaching staff and without three of last season's back four to call on at the start of next season. It provides further proof that "an era at United has come to an end", says the Daily Telegraph.
The manner of Ferdinand's exit has come as a surprise to many. While Vidic was afforded a generous send-off by the fans, former England captain Ferdinand, a veteran of 12 seasons with the club, was only informed that he was surplus to requirements after the final game of the season.
"[Ed] Woodward is understood to have broken the news to Ferdinand in the dressing room after the game, even though other people were present and were surprised that such a sensitive issue was handled in this manner," reports The Times.
In a statement on his website Ferdinand said: "Circumstances didn't allow for me to say goodbye the way I would have liked, but I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my team-mates, staff, the club and the fans for an unbelievable 12 yrs that I’ll never forget.”
The exit of coaches Neville and Woods, who took up their roles when David Moyes was appointed manager last summer, paves the way for Van Gaal to install his own backrrom staff. But it raises question marks over the futures of Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes, other members of the 'Class of 92', who were drafted in to help Giggs during his short reign as manager
"Neville, in particular, had hoped to remain at the club where he spent much of his playing career, but the club appear determined to make a clean break after their most disappointing season in more than two decades," says the Times.
The Telegraph says that Butt will return to his role as an Under-18s coach, while Scholes is "expected to continue his casual coaching role at the club".
The future for Giggs remains unclear. If the 40-year-old decides to quit playing his only reason to stay at Old Trafford would be as a coach. However, the Daily Mail says Van Gaal may decide to give him a job. The paper says the Dutch coach "has revealed how he always likes to keep one member of the club’s coaching staff on his team and that he likes to appoint captains that he knows and likes".