Manchester United supremo Richard Arnold has reportedly contacted Gary Neville as he looks to repair bridges at Old Trafford. Neville has long been critical of the way the club’s hierarchy have operated in recent years. And Arnold is keen to learn from the mistakes of predecessor Ed Woodward, who will officially leave at the end of the month.
Woodward announced back in April he’d be leaving his post at United in the wake of the failed European Super League debacle.
And the club then confirmed Arnold as his replacement, saying in a statement: “Manchester United has announced that Richard Arnold, formerly Group Managing Director, will become Chief Executive Officer of the Club, effective from 1 February 2022.
“Ed Woodward will step down from his role as Executive Vice-Chairman, also effective from 1st February 2022.”
Now, The Athletic say Arnold has reached out to Neville.
He’s apparently keen to ‘canvass opinions’ form the ex-players who have been critical during the club’s troubled period.
Neville has been a big critic of the decision-making at the club for some time, now.
He regularly hit out at Woodward and the Glazers, who remain in charge of affairs despite fans wanting them to go.
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Arnold wants to avoid the kind of scrutiny Woodward endured during his spell at the club.
And he also intends to approach other ex-players, with Paul Scholes mentioned as another the club may turn to.
United want to build better relationships with the players who won trophies galore during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in the dugout.
And they’re poised to step up their managerial hunt at the end of the campaign, with four names in the frame.
Mauricio Pochettino is one, with the former Tottenham boss keen to leave Paris Saint-Germain for a Premier League return.
Erik ten Hag remains under consideration, having worked wonders at Ajax since taking over in Amsterdam five years ago.
Spain boss Luis Enrique is another candidate, though the former Barcelona boss has previously indicated he wants to lead his country at the World Cup later in the year.
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And former Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui, who currently manages Sevilla, is also in the frame.
Arnold said earlier this month that he was relishing his new role at United.
He 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.”
Joel Glazer said: “I would like to thank Ed for his tireless work on behalf of Manchester United during his nine years as Executive Vice-Chairman and 16 years with the club.
“We are now looking forward to Richard and his leadership team opening a new phase in the club’s evolution, with ambitious plans for investment in Old Trafford, the strengthening of our engagement with fans, and continued drive towards our most important objective – winning on the pitch.”
Manchester United Supporters Trust have penned an open letter to Arnold urging him to make changes at Old Trafford.
“To Richard Arnold,” it read. “MUST note your appointment as the new Chief Executive of Manchester United Football Club.
“You arrive into your role at a time when the club faces big challenges, and you have a great deal in your in-tray. We see three big challenges facing you.
“The last few months have been an enormous disappointment for Manchester United fans. A clear strategy to restore our fortunes is needed.
“In the immediate term, that means having a plan in place to appoint the new manager that includes proven football people in the decision making process.
“In addition, we need a more consistent approach to transfer policy rather that the stop-start investment of the last 8 years which has seen £1.4bn of spend largely wasted.
“The European Super League debacle was the culmination of the collapse in trust between Manchester United fans the club.
“Since then, the club has taken welcome steps to rebuild trust but a lot more needs to be done.
“The Fans Advisory Board needs to become a meaningful body with real influence. And the Fans Share Scheme needs to be progressed as soon as possible, with supporter shares holding the same voting rights as Glazer ones.
“Old Trafford has been in decay for the whole of the last 16 years. As other clubs have invested in their stadiums, we have allowed ours to become one where the roof leaks on a habitual basis.
“Recent comments suggesting the club is preparing a major investment in Old Trafford are encouraging, but we want you to follow-through with a clear plan to turn Old Trafford back into the best stadium in the country, as it used to be.
“And we want to understand that this will be a real investment, and that finances will not be a barrier to what we need to do.
“All of the above must be done alongside putting in place a sustainable plan for the Club’s finances. The scale of our debt remains an issue which unnecessarily holds back the club, and all fans want that dealt with by the owners, who created that debt in the first place.
“The club is crying out for clear leadership, and we very much hope you can provide it.
“If you are able to deliver on the above three point plan, all Manchester United fans will welcome your appointment.”