Manchester United women’s football chief to leave for CEO role at Grimsby Town

Polly Bancroft when head of women's football at Manchester United
Polly Bancroft will join a Football League club - Manchester United

Polly Bancroft, Manchester United’s head of women’s football, will leave the club at the end of the season to become the chief executive at men’s side Grimsby Town.

Bancroft informed Manchester United players of her forthcoming departure on Wednesday having accepted the position. Her exit is not believed to be directly connected to Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 27.7 per cent stake in Manchester United. The club will undergo a thorough search to find her replacement.

She had been the club’s first head of women’s football and after taking the newly created position she said the power of the club’s brand had been the attraction. She had previously worked as general manager of the Brighton women’s team.

Manchester United’s women’s team, which was reformed in 2018 after a 13-year hiatus from the senior women’s game, finished second in the Women’s Super League last season and reached the Women’s FA Cup final, but are languishing in fourth spot this term and remain without a single major trophy in their history.

Asked what his ambitions were for the women’s team on Wednesday, Ratcliffe said: “I know we have been around since Christmas but we only took over today. What I would say is that if it’s a team wearing a Manchester United badge on the shirt then it’s Manchester United and they need to be focused on winning and being successful.”

Ratcliffe also hinted that he wanted the women’s side to play at Old Trafford if he can build a new stadium for the men’s team, adding: “What you probably finish up doing is Old Trafford would end up being reduced in size to a smaller facility, still in the same footprint but a smaller facility which can be used for all sorts of community things, be it a concert or whatever. The ladies’ teams could play there. The academy teams could play there. Old Trafford could sort of become a community asset, with a world-class stadium next door.”