Man United CEO Richard Arnold meets up with former chief executive David Gill after nightmare week
Richard Arnold, the controversial CEO of Manchester United, has met with the club’s former CEO David Gill for lunch after a nightmarish week for the 51-year-old.
The pair were photographed Tuesday at Cibo Italian restaurant in Hale Village, Cheshire, with Arnold likely using Gill as a sounding board, days after he was secretly filmed having a candid conversation with United fans in a pub.
Footage of the discussion, in which Arnold criticized the transfer policy of his predecessor Ed Woodward and admits the club has ‘f***ing burn-through cash’, surfaced this weekend.
Man United CEO Richard Arnold (left) has met former club CEO David Gill (right) for a Tuesday lunch in Cheshire
Gill (left) and Arnold (right) are pictured leaving the Italian restaurant Cibo in Hale Village
The lunch meeting comes days after Arnold was secretly filmed by a group of United fans he spoke to in a Cheshire pub – with the candid discussion leaking into the public domain
The United supremo also begged fans to end the protests that are ruining the mood at Old Trafford towards the end of the season.
Arnold said the past 12 months had been a ‘f***ing nightmare’ and English players returned to the club with their confidence ‘shot’ after their defeat in last summer’s Euro 2020 final.
Arnold admitted the situation was bleak, but assured them he was working hard to make things right.
United were disappointed that footage of the candid conversation, filmed by the fans in attendance, went viral on social media after Arnold asked them not to film the chat.
And now it looks like Arnold could take the advice of Gill, who spent 10 years as CEO after joining the club in 1997, about the situation and the season ahead.
Gill was CEO of United for 10 years after joining the club in 1997, overseeing Sir Alex Ferguson who won nine Premier League titles and two Champions League victories
The encounter also suggests Arnold is closer to Gill than his predecessor Woodward, who is said to have had occasional contact with Gill in the boardrooms, but the pair have never had a close relationship – certainly not close enough to allow the former chief executive seek for advice, reports claim.
Arnold, the first person to hold the title of CEO at United since Gill in 2013, was appointed in February to succeed Ed Woodward as United’s CEO and his first big step was to hire Erik ten Hag as manager after United was appointed finished sixth. 35 points behind champions Manchester City.
In a statement on Sunday morning, a United spokesperson said: “Richard learned that a group of fans had gathered in a pub near his home.
“He went to them, bought them all a drink, listened to their opinions and explained what the club is doing to achieve success on the pitch, improve the stadium and strengthen the engagement with the fans.”
Arnold (right) took over as CEO of United after Ed Woodward left in February
Arnold’s first big step was to appoint Erik ten Hag as manager after a bad season
The United chief labeled a ‘nightmare’ for the club last season as they finished sixth
In an honest assessment of United’s recent history, Arnold told the group of supporters on Saturday: “We’ve spent £1 billion on players, more than anyone else in Europe.
‘I’m not happy where we are. It’s not easy for me and I’m worried how we’ll manage this in the future. What happened is we burned cash.
“You can’t go to our training ground and say ‘show me where the £1 billion is’ because historically we haven’t spent the money well.
“Last year was a terrible nightmare. There was hatred in every game. We have passed on an enormous amount of money.’
Arnold also claimed that ‘money is not a consideration’ when it comes to pursuing Ten Hag’s transfer goals, with Barcelona and Holland midfielder Frenkie de Jong worth £69m topping the shopping list for the summer.
One of the fans recorded part of the conversation and posted the video on social media
Arnold told the fans, “Money is no object to who we want.
“It’s that the manager wants him, that they’ve done the work to see if he’s a great player.
‘Is it £100 million or £200 million? I don’t know. Get who the fuck you want.’
He added, in a dig at Woodward’s practical approach to transfer negotiations: ‘Do you want me to buy the players? Doesn’t that ring a bell?’