IIf Richard Arnold studies the story of Ed Woodward, his future predecessor as Manchester United’s most powerful executive, he will understand how the closed season may be the only chance for his tenure to be a success.
Nine summers ago, Woodward appointed David Moyes as United manager after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and he never fully recovered. The Scotsman lasted 34 Premier League matches of a six-year contract before being fired and Woodward’s failed quest for the right number 1 was extended over the next seven years as Louis van Gaal, José Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær. they came and went without winning a 21st title, before an interim manager, Ralf Rangnick, was hired to allow the club to regroup.
When they did this, the gun went off in the process of searching for the heads of a sixth permanent United starter since Ferguson left. Candidates may include Mauricio Pochettino and Brendan Rodgers, but Arnold simply has to make the right choice. Go ahead, name a man who can become United challengers again, and all the anger Woodward suffered from disgruntled fans will evaporate. Fail and Arnold will be qualified as a second Woodward, his first managerial appointment will have to be eliminated and the pressure regarding the second will increase.
Woodward believes Arnold has learned by witnessing his time in charge. However, United can operate as a high-level structure, so it will be vital that Arnold can delegate more than he, Woodward and Joel Glazer, the executive co-chair, have previously done. This is understood to be his goal: to give department leaders more autonomy by replacing Woodward as CEO on February 1.
Arnold, who attended the University of Bristol as Woodward, joined United in 2007 and was promoted to group operations manager in 2013. Discussing his candidacy for the top job, the 50-year-old informed the United board that he intended to refine the strategy and advocate for more consulting, making it clear that tough decisions will be made.
Arnold and Woodward were the initiators of United’s first soccer director and managerial appointments, John Murtough and Darren Fletcher, respectively, a move that indicates that he understands the importance of one overriding structure. Although Arnold will remain heavily involved in United’s lucrative business operation, Murtough and the manager will brief him. But Arnold intends to leave the football operation to them. Do so, and indeed you have learned from Woodward, whose downfall beyond mismanagement and player recruitment lies in a glitch in optics – for too long he allowed himself the perception that he was heavily involved in all decisions relating to strategy in the field.
Arnold, who is said to be data-driven and has mixed popularity within the club, is about to get into the “travel hell” that is taking United – the characterization offered by Woodward, to his friends, regarding to a global giant. which is also a soap opera and cultural institution. Upon assuming command in 2013, Woodward’s task became more challenging once Ferguson ended a brilliant 26 1/2 year reign, having to not only replace an all-time great, but also drag in an exclusively run club. to Ferguson at 21.century.
Woodward believes his legacy could have been different if Ferguson had stayed another year. But he didn’t, and thus Arnold had a seat in the ring as Woodward went through his quartet of failed managers and a host of scattered signings that included Ángel Di María, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao.
Woodward, to his credit, recognized these twin flaws and tried to eradicate them. But, given that United have an interim coach in the continual search for the magic candidate, the former remains. So too, the second: the team is 22 points behind Manchester City, which is roughly their average finishing margin relative to the champions of every season since Ferguson left. Woodward believes that if Pep Guardiola of City or Jürgen Klopp of Liverpool had been signed, they would have led United to a title.
Arnold, who previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers and in the tech industry, is responsible, along with Woodward, for United’s admirable policy of not increasing season ticket prices for a decade. He is also the president of the club’s fan forum. But unless there is a serious improvement on the field, he will be labeled another owner money man, the Glazers, who cannot feel the invigorating pull of the game and United’s proud place in it.
In 2012, Arnold said: “We don’t hire players to sell jerseys. We depend on 25 players and they are all massive stars. We have 25 George Clooney. “The A-list super-rich Hollywood actor’s citation was unfortunate because it suggested United was in the lucrative payday business rather than focusing on claiming silverware.” We have 25 Gary Nevilles “might. have been more appropriate.
With the replacement of Mourinho as permanent coach by Solskjær in March 2019, came Woodward’s much-heralded strategy of a “cultural reset.” This included having players with “X factor”, “attacking football”, respecting the “history” of the club and “winning”. However, having to do this exercise illustrates how lost United was. And really, only the final element should form a core philosophy: win, with the championship as a priority. It’s what Ferguson, Sir Matt Busby and Ernest Mangnall did in creating United’s rich heritage.
As Woodward heads to the exit, he takes responsibility for an academy review, scouting and player recruiting, rating United’s soccer operation at just 10% finished item. Given the constant rotation and evolution of the game, the missing tenthit may never be achieved.
Arnold’s mission, then, is simple: sign the manager who can finally lift United out of the post-Ferguson era and make him one defined by that upcoming and thus far elusive title.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism