Manchester United CEO Richard Arnold met with the club’s former chief executive David Gill for lunch after what was a nightmarish week for the 51-year-old.
The pair were photographed at Cibo’s Italian restaurant in Hale Village, Cheshire, on Tuesday, with Arnold likely using Gill as a sounding board, days after he was secretly filmed having a candid conversation with United supporters in a pub.
Images of the argument, in which Arnold criticized his predecessor Ed Woodward’s transfer policy and admits the club had ‘burned money’, emerged over the weekend.
Man United CEO Richard Arnold (left) met the club’s former chief executive David Gill (right) for lunch on Tuesday in Cheshire.
Gill (left) and Arnold (right) are photographed leaving the Italian restaurant Cibo in Hale Village
The lunch meeting comes days after Arnold was secretly filmed by a group of United supporters he spoke to in a Cheshire pub – with the heartfelt discussion leaking into the public domain.
The United supreme also urged fans to stop the protests that ruined the mood at Old Trafford at the end of the season.
Arnold said the past 12 months had been a ‘fucking nightmare’ and that England’s players returned to the club after last summer’s Euro 2020 final defeat with his ‘shot’ of confidence.
Arnold admitted to them that the situation was grim, but assured them he was working hard to fix it.
United were disappointed that footage of the frank conversation, filmed by fans in attendance, went viral on social media after Arnold asked them not to record the chat.
And now it looks like Arnold may be seeking advice from Gill, who spent 10 years as CEO after joining the club in 1997, on the situation and the upcoming season.
Gill spent 10 years as United’s CEO after joining the club in 1997, and oversaw Sir Alex Ferguson winning nine Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.
The meeting also suggests that Arnold is closer to Gill than his predecessor Woodward, who would have interacted with Gill in the directors’ boxes on a few occasions, but the pair never had a close relationship – certainly not close enough to seek out the former president. executive to boards, reports allege.
Arnold, who became the first person to serve as United’s CEO since Gill in 2013, was named to succeed Ed Woodward as United’s chief executive in February and his first big move was appointing Erik ten Hag as manager after the United finished sixth. 35 points behind champions Manchester City.
In a statement Sunday morning, a United spokesperson said: “Richard heard that a group of fans had gathered in a pub near his home.
“He went to meet them, bought everyone a drink, listened to their opinions and explained what the club is doing to succeed on the pitch, improve the stadium and strengthen engagement with the fans.”
Arnold (right) took over as United’s chief executive following the departure of Ed Woodward in February
Arnold’s first big move was appointing Erik ten Hag as head coach after a bad season
The United boss called last season a ‘nightmare’ for the club as he finished sixth
In an honest assessment of United’s recent history, Arnold on Saturday told the fan group: “We spend a billion pounds on players, more than anyone in Europe.
“I’m not happy where we are. It’s not easy for me and I worry how we’re going to solve this for the future. What happened is that we burned money.
“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 nightmare. There was hate in every game. We spent a huge amount of money.
Arnold also stated that “money is not a consideration” when it comes to chasing Ten Hag’s transfer goals, with Barcelona and Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong, valued at £69m, topping the list of summer shopping.
One of the fans recorded part of the conversation and posted the video on social media.
Arnold told fans: ‘Money is not a consideration in who we want.
“It’s just that the coach wants him, that they’ve really done the work to see if he’s a great player.
‘Is it £100 million or £200 million? I don’t know. Get whoever you want.
He added, in a critique of Woodward’s hands-on approach to transfer negotiations: ‘Do you want me to buy the players? Doesn’t that sound like a bell?