A FAMILIAR FACE IN THE HOTSEAT

A FAMILIAR FACE IN THE HOTSEAT

A longtime familiar face is finally set to leave his current position with Manchester United after years of service. No, it is not Phil Jones or any of the Glazers who serve as the owners. Rather, it will be Ed Woodward, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the club and the man wielding most influence behind the scenes.

 

 

The next man in line is rumoured to be Richard Arnold, a name not many of the supporters will be familiar with. So, who exactly is Arnold and what has he been doing so far with United?

 

INFLUENTIAL AND TRUSTED

Arnold’s current job title is “Group Managing Director” of the NYSE-listed company which controls Manchester United. He is formerly of PricewaterhouseCoopers and has extensive experience regarding the “business” side of things. Simply put, he has been the source of some of the most lucrative deals that the club have made.

 

 

His portfolio includes the deals with Chevrolet as shirt sponsor for 7-years/$600m as well as the 10-year/$1.3 billion with Adidas (a record at the time in 2015). Having been with the Glazers since 2007 when he joined as the Commercial Director, many view him as just another henchman of the owners.

 

 

Moreover, he has also been the spearhead for the club’s dealings with Saudi Arabia including sponsorships and advertising. Though he has been extremely successful in expanding the commercial value and worldwide footprint of United, the fans’ anger with the Glazers and Woodward for large parts of the previous decade is not going to subside so quickly.

 

 

Furthermore, they will also not forget the circumstances under which Woodward’s impending exit was announced and what the Glazers were brazenly trying to pull off.

 

THE SPARK OF THE FIRE

The disastrous entanglement of the club with the doomed European Super League sparked off widespread protests which represented some of the major opposition to the owners in years.

 

 

Not only was Old Trafford stormed by angry fans which led to the postponement of a league match against Liverpool, but Woodward’s own house was also attacked and damaged. The latter came just one week after the club announced that the vice-chairman will be leaving his post by the end of 2021.

 

 

Though his departure was inevitably coming, there is no doubt that the messy affair sped up the process by a lot. Still, the job of identifying a successor was never going to be easy and the fact that the club are not commenting on anything makes the claims of the immense task at hand even stark.

 

NO EASY SHOES TO FILL

Since the debacle of the Super League, the Glazers have committed themselves to being more open and communicative with the fans. After years of being stubborn in not overspending or neglecting the position of the team, this summer has been one of renewed excitement.

After overseeing the deals of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, the final “gift” from Woodward was of course the homecoming of Cristiano Ronaldo. Given how he has been at the forefront of United whenever squad building came around, he has won his fair share of love and criticism.

 

 

The Portuguese hero along with the other additions has surely improved the outgoing supremo’s stock and it remains to be seen what Arnold or whoever comes in does next.

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