Soccer

Nicky Butt quit Man Utd after ‘sour fallout with John Murtough and job snub’

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Nicky Butt quit Manchester United after his relationship with the club's new football director John Murtough deteriorated, it has been claimed.

It was announced on Wednesday that former Red Devils midfielder Butt has stepped down as the club's head of first-team development to pursue "a new professional challenge".

The former England ace, who played 387 games for United between 1992 and 2004, was moved up to the position from Head of Academy two years ago and reported directly to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He spent a total of nine years in coaching and player development positions at the club's academy, playing a key role in overseeing the progress of the likes of Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe, Dean Henderson and Mason Greenwood into the first team.

His exit, which was announced on Wednesday afternoon, came as a huge shock – but new details have emerged which shed some light on the situation.

Earlier this month United revamped their backroom set-up with Murtough appointed to a new role of football director with former midfielder Darren Fletcher promoted to technical director.

And, according to The Athletic, those promotions have contributed to Butt's sudden departure.

The publication has claimed that the appointment of Murtough as United's football director and the way it was handled was a factor in Butt leaving the club.

Sources say the pair were like chalk and cheese, with different perspectives of football, and Butt was reluctant to work under Murtough's stewardship.

It has also been speculated that the ex-midfielder held aspirations of being in the type of technical director role that Fletcher now holds at the club.

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  • Butt wanted to be considered for that role but was effectively snubbed, with club officials failing to communicate the changes directly in advance.

    United, however, insist their former fans' favourite has left to pursue pastures new.

    After his exit was confirmed, Butt said: "Having come through the academy myself to play almost 400 games for Manchester United, it has been an absolute privilege to come back and work with a new generation of talent making that same journey.

    "I'm proud of the role everyone on the staff plays in giving our young footballers the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential, and the results are clear to see in the increased number of homegrown players reaching the first team.

    "I already know from my playing days how difficult it is to leave Manchester United, but it feels like the right moment for a new professional challenge and I look forward to exploring opportunities that build on the great experiences I've had here over the past nine years."

    Butt's former United team-mate and current first-team manager Solskjaer paid tribute to the work of the 46-year-old.

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    "Nicky will always be a legend of Manchester United as a six-time Premier League winner and, of course, an integral part of our treble-winning team," he said.

    "That pedigree has made him a great source of guidance and inspiration to our academy players since he returned to the club.

    "We are all going to miss him around the Aon Training Complex but Nicky knows he will always be welcome back."

    • Premier League
    • Manchester United FC

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