A small group of disgruntled Manchester United supporters have taken to the club’s chief executive’s home to express their concerns amid widespread unrest in the fan base over the Glazer family ownership and other issues.
They probably got more than they bargained for.
A planned protest by fans turned into an impromptu sitting with chief executive Richard Arnold in a bar as a range of topics appeared to be discussed, from the owners to the club’s financial issues to the intense stalking of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie. de Jong.
“Richard heard that a group of fans had gathered at a bar near his house,” United said.
“He went to meet them and bought them all a drink, listened to their opinions, and explained what the club was doing to achieve success on the pitch, improve the stadium and enhance interaction with the fans.”
goalkeeper sport final
Every morning, get your late sports scores and stories from the night before.
A video has been leaked on social media showing Arnold, who took on the role in February, addressing the concerns in a somewhat blunt way. It was not clear if he knew he was being filmed as he spoke of how United were “burning money” and the need for additional investment in facilities such as the stadium and training ground.
Increased fan involvement has been an issue of increasing importance among United supporters after the escalation of hostility towards the American monarchy over the involvement of the pirate-owning Glazer family in plans to launch the European Premier League and the decline in the fortunes of the team, which have not won a major trophy in five years.
Co-CEO Joel Glazer attended Fan Advisory Board meetings in January and again in April at a time when fans were venting their anger at matches at Old Trafford at the end of another disappointing season.
The arrival of another new coach, Dutchman Erik ten Hag, and the departure of a number of players – Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata, among others – who have been well paid and underperformed in recent seasons. Perhaps cause for some quiet optimism as the 2022-23 campaign, which begins in August, approaches.
United have yet to sign a memorandum, as De Jong’s pursuit appears to be hitting snags at a time when the team’s main rivals have cut big deals of their own.
Manchester City have already signed Erling Haaland, one of the world’s most sought-after players, while another young striker, Darwin Nunez, has joined Liverpool amid interest from United. Tottenham and Arsenal have also been busy in the transfer market in the month since the end of the last domestic season.
In the leaked video, Arnold can be seen saying “the money the manager and the director of football want is there”, but it has not yet been spent.