Man Utd CEO Richard Arnold offers a stark assessment of the current state of the club – and fair play for him


THE Boot Inn is probably not where Richard Arnold imagined he would address the current problems at Manchester United.

But on a sunny Saturday in Willington, Cheshire, that’s where he lost his temper, to avoid a march on his house by disgruntled Red Devils fans.


Man Utd CEO Richard Arnold met a group of 12 supporters at a Cheshire pubCredit: Twitter
Arnold met the group at the Boot Inn after planning to demonstrate outside his house


Arnold met the group at the Boot Inn after planning to demonstrate outside his houseCredit: The Boot Inn
Arnold admitted that last season was a


Arnold admitted last season was a ‘fucking nightmare’Credit: PA

Credit United’s new and warned chief executive for tackling the problem head-on after recently taking the reins of a footballing juggernaut that is currently spiraling out of control.

The club is a mess.

But under new boss Erik ten Hag and with sweeping changes behind the scenes, Arnold is trying to get things back on track.

This he duly underlined in an impassioned, impromptu speech out of a pub garden that he could not have thought he would deliver that morning.

Arnold told fans, “I didn’t promise anything that I did – I don’t tell lies and I deal with the issues.

“I respect your passion and the way you handled it. I need your help because otherwise I can’t do it.

“It seems selfish. We didn’t bottle you up to protest. I like the passion of the fans. But it was horrible, even if the performance is bad.

Those protests led to the postponement of a behind-closed-doors game with bitter rivals Liverpool towards the end of the 2020-21 season.


They rebounded as last season unfolded, with the side finishing with their lowest points tally in Premier League history and back in the much-loved Europa League.

Big names flopped badly and Arnold tried to make a case for the defense against England players Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who missed the penalty shootout in the Euros final against Italy and then abused.

Arnold said: “A lot of our players are young and they came back after a torrid time at the Euros. Rashford and Sancho… the abuse they went through.

“They came back from a difficult season with the crowd on them.

“I’m not surprised that their confidence is shot down. I want to get back together as a club and shoot for success.

“I’m going to do my part and make sure the money is there – that’s all I can do.”

Last year was a fucking nightmare. I hated every minute.

Richard Arnold

Richard Arnold took over from Ed Woodward in February


Richard Arnold took over from Ed Woodward in FebruaryCredit: PA

Indeed, money was not an issue despite the unpopularity of the Glazer owner family and the debt they imposed on the club.

United have spent £1bn since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Still, they are in worse shape than ever and Arnold admitted that over a few pints in no uncertain terms.

Arnold said: “We f***ing burned money. We’ve spent a billion pounds on players, we’ve spent more than anyone in Europe.

“I’m not happy with where we are, it’s not easy and we have to sort this out.

“We spent a huge amount of money.

“Last year was a fucking nightmare. I hated every minute.

Just like the 12 fans present who vented their anger as Arnold tried to appease them.

Man Utd fans continue to protest Glazers ownership


Man Utd fans continue to protest Glazers ownershipCredit: Alamy

To restore balance, United need a very good summer transfer market. The problem is that the club is a tough sell at the moment and encouraging players to come to Old Trafford is harder than ever.

Arnold insists they are doing everything to get the £70m-rated Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona.

He believes the deal will go through as well as that of Brazilian winger Antony from Ajax.

Arnold said: “This summer the money the manager and director of football wants is there.”

Arnold’s appearance is somewhat surprising as he doesn’t want to be as public as his friend and predecessor Ed Woodward.

He wants to run the business but prefers the delegated football department to people like director of football John Murtough.

Arnold hinted as much, saying, “Do you want me to buy the players? Does that ring a bell?”

It’s not just the state of the squad that has drawn criticism, but that of an aging stadium and training ground at Old Trafford.

The Glazer family has owned the club since 2005


The Glazer family has owned the club since 2005Credit: Getty

And Arnold says they need new investors to fix it.

He said: “For the future, to invest in a new stadium and that sort of thing, for a £250m training ground, we have to do something, we have to bring in investors.

“I need it to do what I want for the club – I need to have more money than I have now.”

Of course, the big problem for supporters is the image of those who own their club.

The Glazers are reaping financial dividends from what has become a failing business.

It seemed that even a frustrated Arnold was at his wit’s end about the situation.

He said, “The money has to come from somewhere. You may not like them, but if you want someone else to come, they have to like the club and the team.

It was August 2005 when some fans approached Sir Alex Ferguson on a baggage carousel in Budapest to express their concern over Glazers ownership.

He suggested they could go support Chelsea instead. Fortunately for the club, these supporters, and many others like them, kept the faith.

But the Glazers aren’t going away, as Arnold pointed out of their stoicism in the face of huge protests when they bought the club.

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He said: “You know how it was in 2005 and the pressure on the owners not to buy the club, but they bought it anyway.

“If you think of them that way, they’re tough as rock. They’re not afraid of people.

The problem for Arnold now is that the fans’ patience is running out.

As he discovered in the garden of a pub on a sunny day in Cheshire.


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