In theory, he could be playing again within a matter of weeks. Nobody should think for a moment that Mason Greenwood is unemployable. He just needs to find a club that will place more importance on his ability to score goals than the damage, reputation-wise, of hiring a player who comes with so much negativity surrounding him.
Manchester United will move on, too. Another story will come along to change the news agenda. Greenwood will be talked about in the past tense and, over time, hopefully the spin doctors and boardroom executives at Old Trafford will come to understand why so many supporters are as angry with the club as they are with the player.
But maybe there are wider points to consider, too, when the rest of English football stops rubbernecking in the direction of a club that fully intended to bring back Greenwood before realising they had misjudged how it would have been received.
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One point of interest throughout the entire Greenwood story is that we have not heard anything from the English Football Association or the Premier League. Both organisations have preferred to leave the decision-making process to United and watch from a distance.
Greenwood’s Manchester United career is now over (Cameron Smith/Getty Images)
Yet nobody could think United approached this case with anything remotely close to independence. How could they? Greenwood is not just an ordinary employee. He is a multi-million-pound footballer, a product of the club’s academy and a superstar in the making who, in the eyes of manager Erik ten Hag and others, would dramatically improve the team’s chances of success.
It is no wonder Richard Arnold, United’s chief executive, is being accused of blurred priorities when, as Gary Neville has pointed out, the investigation was flawed from the start. “On an issue like domestic abuse, on violence against women, there needs to be independence,” said Neville. “It shouldn’t be that Manchester United are the judge and jury on such a significant issue. Not just for themselves, but also for the game. People talk about the reputation of Manchester United, but it’s the Premier League here as well.”
In the U.S. it would never happen this way. The league, or governing body, would intervene. There are systems in place to ensure that, in cases of this nature, the people at the top of the sport would hold an investiga