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Other SportsManchester United CEO Arnold to leave with Ratcliffe deal imminent

Manchester United CEO Arnold to leave with Ratcliffe deal imminent

Manchester United have announced the departure of chief executive Richard Arnold, as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS Sport prepares to acquire a 25 per cent stake in the club.

Arnold’s future appeared uncertain against the backdrop of Ratcliffe’s attempt to buy a minority share, with the British billionaire set to be given control over the club’s football operations.

On Wednesday, widespread reports emerged that Arnold – who first joined United in 2007 and succeeded Ed Woodward as chief executive last February – was set to leave his position.

Those reports were subsequently confirmed by United, who have appointed the club’s general counsel Patrick Stewart as interim chief executive with Arnold continuing to provide “transitional support” until the end of December.

Arnold told the club’s website: “It has been an incredible privilege to serve this great football club for the past 16 years. Through highs and lows, the constant has been the dedication of our employees and fans.

“I would like to thank all of them for their loyalty and commitment, and wish everyone associated with the club the very best for the future.”

Arnold has faced criticism on several fronts since taking the reins, including over the club’s lack of on-pitch success and his handling of a botched plan to bring Mason Greenwood back into the first-team squad after the forward was arrested on suspicion of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault. All charges against him were dropped earlier this year.

Arnold’s departure comes after a year of uncertainty regarding the club’s future. Last November, United’s owners, the Glazer family, announced they would explore “strategic alternatives” for the Red Devils.

Despite pressure from fans for the deeply unpopular owners to commit to a full sale, the Glazers are set to remain in situ after Ratcliffe and other bidders – including Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani – were unable to reach an agreement on a majority takeover.

Executive co-chairman Joel Glazer thanked Arnold after his exit was confirmed, saying: “I would like to thank Richard for his outstanding service to Manchester United over the past 16 years, and wish him all the best for his future endeavours.

“We are fortunate to be able to call on the deep knowledge and experience of Patrick Stewart to provide interim stability and continuity as we embark on a search for a new permanent CEO.”

Ratcliffe is reportedly hopeful of completing his £1.25billion deal for 25 per cent of the club before United’s next Premier League fixture, against Everton at Goodison Park on November 26.

There could be more upheaval to come at Old Trafford over the coming months, with boss Erik ten Hag under pressure after overseeing United’s underwhelming start to the season, with the Red Devils sixth in the Premier League table and on the brink of a Champions League group-stage exit.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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