Manchester United fans react as Richard Arnold set to be confirmed as new CEO

The Ed Woodward era at Manchester United is nearly finally over. But don’t expect too much change.

Sky News report Richard Arnold will step forward as CEO, with Woodward set to depart on December 31.

Woodward will stay on ‘for a number of months’ in a consultancy role – presumably if United need any extra advice on a new noodle sponsor.

Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Mark Leech Sports Photography/Getty Images

Who is Richard Arnold?

Arnold has been in post at United as commercial director, and has played a large role in the non-football side of the business.

He has often been seen making out of touch statements, including telling the Associated Press  earlier this year: “No one in the world is happier than me with the phenomenal success he is bringing”, when discussing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Solskjaer has just been sacked, with Arnold’s over-exuberant comment ageing like milk.

Arnold was also the man who boasted how the signing of Odion Ighalo out-trended Donald Trump on Twitter, iNews reported.

He is a perfect fit where the Glazers are concerned, focused on ensuring United are a money-making machine. On the football side, it’s sadly not the Edwin van der Sar appointment supporters have long hoped for.

Can United make it work?

There is some hope that Arnold will be more self-aware than Ed Woodward, and leave the football side of the business to football people.

Woodward’s biggest downfall was a belief he knew best, and was unwilling to cede power to anybody else. Even director of football John Murtough was brought in to work underneath him, with The Telegraph reporting the outgoing chief executive was heading up the last transfer window.

Arnold can do everybody a favour by stepping aside, to let Murtough and Ralf Rangnick take charge.

Rangnick is staying on as a consultant for two years beyond this season as interim boss, and he can start to shape the club’s direction.

Arnold might well have sign off, like a chief executive’s power gives him, but he is unlikely to interfere too much, and if he does, it will be a mistake.

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

So there is hope of a fresh start, and Woodward’s exit is long overdue. On the face of it, Arnold’s arrival does not look like the change United need.

But with Murtough and Rangnick in place, and Arnold not appearing like a publicity-hungry character, he may just fade into the background and know his own limitations, there is enough reason to be quietly optimistic, albeit with reservations.


Here is a look at how Manchester United fans reacted to the Sky News‘ report…

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