Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

Manchester United have named Richard Arnold as successor to vice-president Ed Woodward, as the English top club are struggling to revive their fortunes on the pitch and rebuild trust with fans following the team’s role in the failed European Super League.

The club’s managing director, Arnold, is currently known for negotiating the big money sponsorship deals that give the New York-listed Premier League club a financial edge over most competitors. He is due to succeed Woodward, who announced his departure last year on 1 February.

Arnold, 50, who, in addition to his commercial duties, was responsible for match-day operations at the club, will take on the role of chief executive, a change from the “executive vice-president” title held by Woodward. His appointment was widely expected.

Woodward has managed the club since 2013, his tenure coinciding with the club’s longest run without winning a Premier League title. His departure comes after a turbulent period on and off the field amid the coronavirus pandemic, the dismissal of driver Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November after falling outside the lucrative Champions League places, and a setback over the club’s support for the failed European Super League.

However, United’s commercial strength helped to withstand the worst of the pandemic, which cost the club more than £ 150 million in lost revenue, while other clubs were forced to sell players or raise capital to cover the lack of ticket sales. compensate. performed without fans.

Commercial revenue, including sponsorship and retail, totaled £ 232 million in the year ended June 30, almost 17 per cent year-on-year. By comparison, match day revenue fell more than 90 per cent to £ 7.1m amid pandemic-induced curbs on ticket sales. Annual broadcasting revenue increased by 82 per cent over the same period to £ 232 million.

United continued to pay dividends to the American billionaire Glazer family, who have controlled the club since a £ 790m leverage buyout in 2005. It also continued to make high-profile purchases, including the Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo, French defender Raphaël Varane and English wing Jadon Sancho.

United recently announced plans to modernize its stadium and aim to create a class of shares for fans to invest in the company as part of plans to rebuild trust with supporters. Arnold is co-chair of the newly formed Fans Advisory Board, which is designed to increase dialogue between leadership and supporters.

“We are now looking forward to Richard and his leadership team opening a new phase in the club’s evolution, with ambitious plans to invest in Old Trafford, strengthen our involvement with fans and continue our pursuit of our most important goal – to to win the field, ”said Joel Glazer, executive co-chair, in a statement.

Arnold, a former PwC consultant, has been credited for negotiating commercial transactions, including with instant sponsors TeamViewer. He will be based at United’s Old Trafford Stadium rather than the club’s London offices.

A person close to the club said Arnold is expected to delegate more control over football decisions, following the appointment of John Murtough as the club’s first football director last year.

Woodward and a number of managers – David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, José Mourinho and Solskjaer – could not win the Premier League title or the Champions League. At that time, the team won the domestic League Cup, FA Cup and Uefa Europa League.

Shares in United, which were listed in 2012, were about 12 percent lower on Thursday than last year.

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