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Nicky Butt felt “irritated” at Man United before leaving the club in March

Nicky Butt on his Man United departure.

Nicky Butt has stated that he became “irritated” at Manchester United before leaving his role as head of first-team development in March.

Former Man United midfielder Butt was promoted to the role by his ex-teammate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in July 2019, having previously worked as Head of Academy at the club.

Nicky Butt

Nicky Butt: I was at the end of the road.

Butt left his boyhood club in March after becoming “irritated” at goings-on behind the scenes, as he reveals in a wide-ranging interview with The Athletic published on Wednesday.

“I felt I was pretty much at the end of the road,” the 46-year-old tells the publication. “I couldn’t see where my next step was.

“When I get frustrated in a role or a job, as I did, I’m a different kind of person. I become irritable, not happy.

“I blame everybody else. The same thing happened to me as a player. When I start getting that feeling, I need to get out.”

Nicky Butt

Nicky Butt irritated at “some of the stuff going on” at Man United.

Butt goes on to draw comparisons between his departure from Old Trafford as a player in 2004 and his most recent exit from the club.

“As a player, I saw people I thought I was better than — in fact, I knew was better than — playing rather than me and that made me miserable. I wasn’t happy with my training, I would come home miserable. It was time to leave United as a player and that’s why I spoke to the manager then.

“This time, I was getting irritated about some of the stuff going on at the club. I felt irritable within myself. I needed to change.

“Most people don’t leave Man United unless they have something lined up. I had nothing lined up. I just knew my personality, how I react to things and that it was time to leave.

“I didn’t know where my next step was at the club. I wanted to evolve and one day I woke up and thought, ‘This isn’t for me any more.’ If I’d stayed, it would have gone one way which would have been bad.”


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Ed Woodward was “great.”

The 39-times-capped England international doesn’t go into too much detail around what was frustrating him so much at Man United before he departed weeks before the European Super League furore that threatened to change English football as we know it.

He does however say that Man United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was “great” with him.

“We shook hands and I walked away. That was March and I don’t regret it,” Butt says.

Butt’s Man United coaching career overlapped with the departure of legendary first team manager Alex Ferguson in 2013, so he is well-placed to identify the changes that took place at the club afterwards.

Speaking about Ferguson’s successors, Butt says that David Moyes was “brilliant with me,” Louis Van Gaal was “firm but approachable” and Jose Mourinho was “an unbelievable character” and “helpful.”

As for Solskjaer, Butt says “things are getting better and Ole has done a very good job” but that “the biggest challenge for Ole now is to go and produce — to win a title or trophies. He’ll know that deep down, he’s a very intelligent guy.”

Since Man United departure, Butt has been taking a CEO course while also doing some coaching at Salford City, the League Two club he co-owns.

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