EXCLUSIVE: Mason Greenwood: Blinds down, seldom seen and barely a trace left of Man Utd’s forward
Mason Greenwood remains on bail six months after his arrest on suspicion of rape and threatening to kill, and police have neglected to formally charge him, while Manchester United continues to pay the suspended forward £75,000 per week.
It’s a few hours before Manchester United’s final preseason friendly, and everything is calm on this excellent piece of real estate about eight miles south of Old Trafford.
The clouds have split enough for residents to open the soft tops on their BMWs and Audis, one of which is swooping around the corner as a massive rat scurries across the road.
A red-brick house with a slanted black slate roof may be found about halfway up a sloping road where cars are encouraged to slow.
This is Mason Greenwood’s house, where the alleged crimes were perpetrated in late January.
A notice warns of dogs wandering wild on the left side of a fence flanked by tall shrubs. A high-end security company’s logo appears to have monopolized protection in the region, and cameras are visible on the walls.
Although a Mercedes is parked outside – empty but with the windows down – it is impossible to tell if anyone is home.
However, neighbors who are aware of the house’s high-profile residents are unwilling to speak up. One, who asked not to be recognized, believes he is rarely seen; a man walking his dog further down the street seems unaware of the occupant.
He has been rarely seen since his incarceration, and in an effort to keep a low profile, he was photographed driving while wearing a balaclava in April.
Greenwood, a 20-year-old who was once regarded as having the potential to be one of the world’s finest players, is still on bail.
It has been extended at least twice after his initial arrest on accusations of rape and assault on a lady, followed by another arrest for sexual assault and threatening to kill the same alleged victim. On June 23, he appeared in court and his bail was renewed.
Legal constraints limit what may be stated until he is formally charged, tried, or released.
The situation is in a holding pattern that serves no one. Greater Manchester Police have not responded to subsequent inquiries, and a spokeswoman has stated that the force has recently ceased providing information on bail extensions in other cases in similar circumstances.
An hour later, enthusiasm is strong for the 65,000 spectators coming to Old Trafford to watch Erik ten Hag’s debut game as manager. The percentage of young children is instantly noticeable, owing to United’s offer of 10,000 free tickets to local grassroots organizations and schools.
There are replica shirts with the names of former and present players all over the place, but no Greenwood shirts are on show. Fans congregating in the Megastore for the warm-up against Rayo Vallecano would not find items bearing his face or name, and when the club launched their new uniform last month, fans were unable to purchase the No11 online.
There is one noticeable relic of him as a Manchester United player. Greenwood’s description, which describes him as “an exciting striker who has been well ahead of plan in terms of his progress,” remains on the club website.
United is also in a holding pattern, awaiting word from the police. However, they are contractually obligated to continue paying Greenwood’s weekly wage of £75,000 until the summer of 2025.
Nike, on the other hand, terminated their sponsorship relationship a few days after his arrest, and EA Sports withdrew Greenwood from their FIFA games.
Sunday’s friendly is notable for Cristiano Ronaldo returning for 45 minutes before departing early, but before the season begins, many United fans are wondering where the goals will come from. Only Ronaldo, who wants to leave the club, and Bruno Fernandes hit double figures in 21/22, with Greenwood coming in sixth despite missing nearly half of the season.
His situation has had a direct impact on the club’s recruitment plans and chances of returning to the top four of the Premier League. “We need two additional strikers,” declared Ralf Rangnick, the club’s temporary manager last season, in May. None have arrived with less than a month remaining in the transfer window, and Ronaldo may now leave.
Football is a distant second in this story, but history shows that it does not operate on the same level as other sectors, and its approach to dealing with players suspected or convicted of severe crimes is inconsistent.
Across the street, Benjamin Mendy briefly played for Manchester City after the club became aware of rape allegations against him, but he was suspended when he was formally charged at the start of last season. The Frenchman will stand trial next week on eight counts of rape, one case of sexual assault, and one count of attempted rape.
Another Premier League club is still using a player who is on bail after being arrested last month on rape allegations made by two different women. “No charges have been made,” the club stated, “and the athlete can fulfill his professional duties.”
Greenwood will turn 21 in October. This probe might go on for years, and regardless of the verdict, which could be years away if it goes to trial, his reputation will be harmed for the rest of his life. United will carry on without him until the law takes its course.
His time as a Premier League footballer may not be gone, but he will keep a low profile until the police charge or free him from their inquiry, with the locals of his Cheshire community mainly unaware of his presence.