Richard Arnold will take over as Manchester United’s chief executive on February 1, succeeding Ed Woodward, who will depart the club in April. Since 2013, Woodward has led the club, spending over £1 billion on transfers yet failing to win the Premier League.
On February 1, Richard Arnold will take over as Manchester United’s chief executive, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward stepping down before departing the club in April.
Since becoming United’s group managing director in 2013, Arnold has been the driving force behind major commercial deals, and he will succeed Woodward as club president.
Woodward will attend football board meetings until the end of the season, but he will not be involved in the club’s day-to-day operations.
Arnold said: “I am honoured to have the chance to serve this great club and its fans. I am determined to return that honour in any way I can.”
Executive co-chairman Joel Glazer said: “I’d want to express my gratitude to Ed for his dedicated service to Manchester United throughout his nine years as executive vice-chairman and 16 years with the club. We now look forward to Richard and his leadership team ushering in a new era in the club’s development, with ambitious plans for investment in Old Trafford, increased fan involvement, and continuous focus on our most essential goal: winning on the pitch.”
United confirmed in April 2021 that Woodward would leave at the conclusion of the season, but his time with the club is already coming to an end.
Woodward was recruited to the club’s board of directors and made executive vice-chairman at Old Trafford in 2012, and took command of operations following the departure of chief executive David Gill in 2013. Woodward assisted the Glazer family on their purchase of United in 2005.
Woodward has spent £1 billion on acquisitions but has yet to win the Premier League.
During Woodward’s tenure at Manchester United, the club has spent over £1 billion in transfer costs, including a world record amount to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford. While noteworthy players such as Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood have graduated from the club’s academy during that time, the team has yet to win a Premier League title under Woodward’s leadership. United had won five of the previous seven games under Sir Alex Ferguson, who, like Gill, left in 2013.
Permanent managers David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – who was sacked in November – have failed to come close to recapturing those glory days since, with United only winning one Europa League, one FA Cup and one League Cup during Woodward’s time at the helm.
Ralf Rangnick is the temporary Manager at the moment, with a permanent appointment likely in the summer.
Despite the epidemic, United did clinch big commercial partnerships during the Woodward period, improving off-field revenues and operating profit.
Following the announcement that Woodward would be leaving United in the wake of the collapse of the European Super League proposals, which the club had been a part of at the time, Woodward said in April 2021: “It has been an honor to work for the world’s greatest football club, and I am extremely proud to have served United. It will be difficult to walk away from the club because it is well-positioned for the future.
“My memories of my time at Old Trafford, when we won the Europa League, the FA Cup, and the EFL Cup, will be treasured. I’m proud of the club’s rebirth and our return to the Manchester United way of doing things.
“With the changes we’ve made on the field as well as to the coaching and football staff in recent years, I’m confident that this wonderful club will be winning trophies again shortly. It is deserving of it.”
Richard Arnold, who is he?
Arnold’s promotion to chief executive will elevate him to one of British sport’s most prominent personalities.
Arnold, 50, is a former executive of InterVoice, a Nasdaq-listed technology business. He has worked for United for over 14 years, serving as commercial director since August 2007 before being promoted to group managing director in March 2013.
He has an active track record of fan engagement as group managing director, as chair of the Fans’ Forum and through conversation with supporters’ groups. As a result, he has backed a variety of fan-focused initiatives, including no increases in season ticket pricing for the previous ten years, as well as the expansion of junior discounts, barrier seating, and a safe standing trial.
Since David Gill stepped down as CEO in 2013, he will be the first person to hold the position at Old Trafford.
Arnold must be urged to carry out his three-point strategy.
The Manchester United Supporters Faith wrote an open letter to Arnold following his selection as Woodward’s replacement at Old Trafford, urging him to address three important areas: decline on the field, rebuilding fan trust, and laying out financial plans to refurbish the stadium.
“You start your new job at a time when the club is facing significant issues, and you have a lot on your plate. We see three major hurdles ahead of you: “According to the letter,
“For Manchester United supporters, the last six months have been a huge disappointment. A well-defined strategy for reversing our fortunes is required. In the short term, this means putting in place a strategy for appointing a new manager that incorporates proven football figures in the decision-making process.
“The erosion of trust between Manchester United fans and the club culminated in the European Super League catastrophe. Since then, the club has taken some positive measures toward restoring confidence, but there is still much more work to be done.
“For the past 16 years, Old Trafford has been in a state of disrepair. We have allowed our stadium to become one where the roof leaks on a regular basis, while other clubs have invested in theirs. Recent comments indicating that the club is planning a big investment in Old Trafford are positive, but we want you to follow through on a clear strategy to restore Old Trafford to its former glory.”
The letter ended with the following: “The club is in desperate need of strong leadership, which we hope you can offer. All Manchester United supporters will appreciate your appointment if you can deliver on the three-point strategy outlined above.”