Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was left bewildered when a supporter came up to him in a Kazakhstan pub prior to Thursday’s Europa League clash with Astana and gave him a ‘wet willy’.
Woodward was enjoying some downtime with friends ahead of the match when he was approached by a fan who lured him into a conversation, before licking his finger and sticking it in the former’s ear.
To Woodward’s credit he took the prank rather well, with footage of the incident recorded by another supporter in close vicinity circulating on social media, and was seen walking away laughing as the culprit and his friends surrounded him.
The 48-year-old’s relationship with United fans has come under increased scrutiny, especially in recent years, with many blaming him for the club’s poor business in the transfer market and a perceived lack of leadership.
Woodward’s trip to central Asia proved to be a rather frustrating one, as a youthful United side lost 2-1 to minnows Astana – who recorded their first win in the competition this season.
Speaking after the game, under-fire boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the positives from the fixture, where he handed six youngsters their first-team debuts.
Ethan Laird, Dishon Bernard and Dylan Levitt played the full 90 minutes at the Astana Arena, while three fellow academy graduates D’mani Mellor, Largie Ramazani and Ethan Galbraith came off the bench for their senior bows.
“You could see the way we dominated midfield, Jimmy [Garner] and Dylan playing together, it’s nice to see midfielders dominating the game,” he said.
“Dishon was so composed, Ethan was marauding down the right-hand side, especially in the first-half. So some of these have done themselves a good favour.
“You could see the crowd enjoyed the game, you could see from the dressing room [Astana] were happy for the win but I felt we played really well.
“We want to congratulate them for the win and they’ve been a fantastic host as well.”