Gary Lineker has blasted the balaclava-clad Manchester United fans who attacked Ed Woodward’s home with flares as “absolutely disgusting”.
Mirror Sport revealed how between 20 and 30 balaclava-clad United fans marched on Woodward’s Cheshire mansion as anger at the way the club is being run turned militant ahead of Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final clash at Manchester City.
A number of flares were thrown at the gated property in the quiet village where United’s executive vice-chairman lives. At least one of them ignited, and it is understood that graffiti was sprayed on the fence surrounding Woodward’s home.
Lineker drew attention to the fact that Woodward and his wife have young twins as he condemned the thugs.
Responding to a video on Twitter showing thugs throwing flares into the property, former England striker Lineker said: “If this is genuine then it’s absolutely disgusting. The man has young twins, FFS.”
Woodward, 48, and his family were not at home when the thugs descended on the property, throwing lit flares into the grounds.
The group of United fans are known as ‘The Men in Black’ due to their preference to dark clothing.
After news of the shocking incident emerged, United immediately released a statement and threatened the thugs with lifetime bans.
The statement read: “ Manchester United Football Club have tonight been made aware of the incident outside the home of one of our employees.
“We know that the football world will unite behind us as we work with Greater Manchester Police to identify the perpetrators of this unwarranted attack.
“Anybody found guilty of a criminal offence, or found to be trespassing on this property, will be banned for life by the club and may face prosecution. Fans expressing opinion is one thing, criminal damage and intent to endanger life is another.
“There is simply no excuse for this.”
The attack on Woodward’s home is a worrying development amid the growing fan protests being aimed at club owners the Glazer family, who he acted as an adviser to when they pushed through a controversial leveraged buy-out of United almost 15 years ago.
United are more than £200million in debt – despite announcing record revenues in the years since Woodward took over from David Gill in the summer of 2013.
It has been estimated that the Glazers have taken more than £1.3billion out of Old Trafford in dividends and to service loans.
Sir Alex Ferguson was able to continue to deliver titles and trophies until he retired in 2013.
But since then, United have finished in the top four just twice and have not been able to mount a bid for the Premier League title.
United fans were heard chanting about killing Woodward during the Red Devils’ FA Cup victory over Tranmere at the weekend.