By Sean Walker.
Manchester United have accused The Sun newspaper of having prior knowledge of the attack on the home of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
The incident took place on January 28 outside Woodward’s house in Cheshire, when a group chanting ‘you’re going to die’ launched flares at his property and sprayed graffiti on the gate.
Neither Woodward nor his family were at home during the attack.
The Sun newspaper published a feature article of the attack the following day, which was accompanied by video footage.
After their suspicions grew of The Sun’s involvement in the incident, Man United proceeded to file a complaint against the newspaper to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).
“The Club believes that The Sun newspaper had received advance notice of the intended attack, which included criminal damage and intent to intimidate, and that the journalist was present as it happened. The quality of the images accompanying the story indicate that a photographer was also present.
“Not only did the journalist fail to discharge the basic duty of a responsible member of society to report an impending crime and avert potential danger and criminal damage, his presence both encouraged and rewarded the perpetrators. We believe that this was a clear breach of both the IPSO Editors’ code and journalistic ethics.”
In response, The Sun admitted to receiving a ‘tip-off’ before the event took place and having a journalist in position to capture the event.
“We have been made aware this evening of a complaint to Ipso by Manchester United,” said a spokesperson for the newspaper.
“The Sun condemns fully the attack on Mr Woodward’s home and is happy to cooperate fully with any police inquiry.
“However, The Sun, like all newspapers, vigorously defends its right to report. Following a tip-off that there was to be a protest a Sun reporter attended.”
The attack is deemed to be a result of growing frustrations amongst the fanbase with United’s poor results on the field and lack of ambition in the transfer market.
A group of hooded supporters were also heard chanting “he’s gonna die, Ed Woodward is gonna die” at a recent Man United match.