Richard Arnold, the new Manchester United chief executive, has admitted that the club has “f—— burnt” vast sums of money during a candid meeting with disgruntled fans that was secretly filmed.
Arnold admits in a leaked video that the club had a “f——— nightmare year,” and the video’s appearance on social media has led to warnings that other club owners and executives will be even less likely to interact with fans informally in the future.
“Fair play to Richard Arnold. Every fan complains that they can’t talk to people at the top of their club, but this is why they can’t,” said Jamie Carragher, who used to play for England and Liverpool.
Supporters had planned to hold a protest in front of Arnold’s house because of the ongoing conflict over who owns the Glazer family.
This year, Arnold took over for Ed Woodward. He heard that about 15 fans had gathered at the Boot Inn in Cheshire, so he went there himself. He bought the fans drinks, and they talked about a wide range of things, such as the owners and United’s pursuit of Frenkie de Jong, a midfielder for Barcelona.
Arnold may have asked the fans not to record or film the conversation, which lasted about an hour, but parts of it did end up on social media. Arnold knew that this could happen, but it seems like he is still a little upset by the apparent breach of trust.
Last year, United finished sixth in the Premier League, which was their worst finish ever. They also had the same number of goals for and against at the end of the season.
The terrible season happened while protests against the Glazer family’s ownership were going on. Arnold tells the fans in the video, “We spent a billion pounds on players over the last 10 years, which is more than anyone else in Europe.”
Richard Arnold. Talking about the Glazers. pic.twitter.com/RnHXCQuXfk— Paul, Manc Bald and Bred (@MufcWonItAll) June 18, 2022
“I’m not happy with where we are now. It doesn’t go down well… I’m worried…we need to figure this out so it doesn’t happen again.
“You can’t come to our training ground and say, “By the way, show me where the £1 billion is here.” I don’t think the money we’ve spent in the past has been well spent. Last year was a living hell. I didn’t like any of the games. We have used up a huge amount of money.”
Arnold said that money would not be a problem in the transfer market this summer, even though he was very critical of how the club had spent in the past. Capital projects like the stadium and training ground, on the other hand, need more money.
“There is the money that the manager and the football director [John Murtough] want,” he said.
“I’m not here to defend Joel Glazer as chair. He should say what he wants. You might not like the people who own us now, and I can’t change that.
“For the future, we need to put money into a new stadium and build the most up-to-date £250 million training ground. We’ve got to get investors in.
“I need that to make the club what I want it to be. I need more money than we have now because… no club in the world has enough money to build a new stadium. Either you borrow it or someone puts it to work. There must be a way to get the money.”
Arnold also asked fans to support the team and said that the abuse after England’s loss to Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final last summer had hurt players like Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho.
“I appreciate that you took the time to come here and say what you think,” Arnold said. “I do respect your passion. I need you to help me. A lot of our players are young men, and Rashford, Sancho, and others have had a hard time, especially after the Euros. They return. People are on them. I’m not surprised that they have lost faith. I want to get us back together as a club so that we all work together to do well.
Erik ten Hag has been named the new manager of Manchester United. He will take over from interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.
A representative for Manchester United said, “Richard heard that a group of fans had gathered in a pub near his home.
“He went to meet them, bought them all drinks, listened to what they had to say, and told them what the club is doing to win on the field, make the stadium better, and get fans more involved.”
Two and a half years ago, angry fans broke into Woodward’s home in Cheshire.