Woodward said the absence of fans had “proved that they are the lifeblood of the game” and, while it is not yet clear how quickly football grounds will be allowed to return to full capacity, he was hopeful of sizeable crowds when the new Premier League season kicks-off in August.

“Following the successful return of limited numbers at the end of last season, and continued trials of increased crowds at sports events this summer, we remain optimistic about the prospect of fans returning to Old Trafford in larger numbers going forwards,” said Woodward, in remarks accompanying the club’s third-quarter financial results.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the players will be hoping to have fans cheering them on for the visit of traditional rivals Leeds United to Old Trafford on the weekend of 14/15 August, which was announced this week as our opening fixture of the 2021/22 Premier League season.

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