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Man Utd CEO Richard Arnold offers brutal assessment of the club’s current state – and fair play to him

THE Boot Inn is probably not where Richard Arnold envisioned addressing the current difficulties at Manchester United.

But on a sunny Saturday in Willington, Cheshire, it was where he headed to avoid a march on his home by disaffected Red Devils fans.

Man Utd CEO Richard Arnold met with a group of 12 supporters at a Cheshire pub

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Man Utd CEO Richard Arnold met with a group of 12 supporters at a Cheshire pubPhoto credit: Twitter
Arnold met with the group at The Boot Inn after they planned to protest outside his home

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Arnold met with the group at The Boot Inn after they planned to protest outside his homePhoto credit: The Boot Inn
Arnold admitted last season was a

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Arnold admitted last season was a “fucking nightmare.”Credit: PA

Credit to the new United boss, who was tipped off he was tackling the issue head-on after recently taking the reins of a footballing juggernaut that is currently spiraling out of control.

The club is a shambles.

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

He duly emphasized this in an impassioned impromptu pub garden speech he could never have guessed he would deliver that morning.

Arnold told fans, “I didn’t promise anything I didn’t do – I don’t tell lies and I face the problems.

“I respect your passion and how you dealt with it. I need your help, otherwise I can’t do it.

“That sounds selfish. We didn’t bottle you in protest. I love the passion of the fans. But it was terrible even though the performances are bad.”

These protests led to a closed-door game against bitter rivals Liverpool towards the end of the 2020-21 season being postponed.

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As last season drew to a close, they enjoyed a new boost as the team finished with the lowest total points in Premier League history and returned to the little-loved Europa League.

Big names flopped badly and Arnold tried to defend against England players Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who missed penalties in the Euro final against Italy and then abused them.

Arnold said: “A lot of our players are young and came back after a hot period at Euro. Rashford and Sancho… the abuse they received.

“They have returned with the crowd in what has been a difficult season.

“I’m not surprised that her confidence has been crushed. I want to put us back together as a club and pull together to be successful.

“I’ll do my bit and make sure the money is there – that’s all I can do.”

Last year was a bloody nightmare. I hated every minute of it.

Richard Arnold

Richard Arnold took over from Ed Woodward in February

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Richard Arnold took over from Ed Woodward in FebruaryCredit: PA

Indeed, despite the unpopularity of the owning Glazer family and the debt they have inflicted on the club, money has not been an issue.

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

But they’re in worse shape now than ever, and Arnold made a point of admitting just that over a few pints in no uncertain terms.

Arnold said: “We fucking burned cash. We’ve spent a billion pounds on players, we’ve spent more than anyone in Europe.

“I’m not thrilled with where we are, it’s not easy and we need to fix that.

“We blew an enormous amount of money.

“Last year was a bloody nightmare. I hated every minute of it.”

As did the 12 fans in attendance who vented their anger when Arnold tried to placate them.

Man Utd fans continue to protest Glazers ownership

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Man Utd fans continue to protest Glazers ownershipCredit: Alamy

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

Arnold insists they do whatever it takes to bring Frenkie de Jong in from £70m-rated Barcelona.

He believes the deal will be finalized and so will Ajax’s Brazilian winger Antony.

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

Arnold’s appearance comes as a bit of a surprise, since he doesn’t want to appear as publicly as his friend and predecessor Ed Woodward.

He would like to run the business but prefers to delegate the football department to director of football John Murtough.

Hinting at this, Arnold said, “Do you want me to buy the players? Doesn’t that ring?

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

The club has belonged to the Glazer family since 2005

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The club has belonged to the Glazer family since 2005Photo credit: Getty

And Arnold claims they need new investors to address that.

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

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

The big problem for the fans is of course the image of those who own their club.

The Glazers take financial dividends from a failed deal.

It seemed that even a frustrated Arnold was at the end of his rope with the situation.

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

It was August 2005 when a number of fans at a baggage carousel in Budapest approached Sir Alex Ferguson to express their concerns about the Glazers’ ownership.

He suggested they could support Chelsea instead. Luckily for the club, those fans and many like them kept the faith.

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

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

“When you think of them like that, they’re rock hard. You are not afraid of people.”

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

As he found out on a sunny day in Cheshire in an outdoor pub.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5592599/man-utd-ceo-richard-arnold-fans-pub-cheshire/ Man Utd CEO Richard Arnold offers brutal assessment of the club’s current state – and fair play to him

ClareFora

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