The chief executive of Manchester United Football Club is reportedly to step down as the club’s owners finalise the sale of a minority stake to Ineos billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Sky News is reporting that United will announce to the New York Stock Exchange later today (Wednesday) that Richard Arnold is to step down by the end of the year with Patrick Stewart, the club’s general counsel, set to fill in on an interim basis alongside his existing role.
The shake-up comes as the club is expected to confirm reports that Ratcliffe’s Ineos Sports is acquiring a 25% stake.
Quoting ‘insiders’ Sky claimed that Ratcliffe has convinced current owners the Glazer family to allow him to make a start on modernising the structure of United’s football operations after a dark period by United’s standards which has seen them win just one trophy in the last six years – beating Newcastle United to win the Carabao Cup last season.
Conversely, on the commercial side United has recently signed bumper sponsorship deals with Adidas and Qualcomm.
The incoming Stewart has been at United for 17 years, and already leads its liaison with governing and representative bodies including the Premier League and UEFA.
One Sky source said his appointment as interim CEO would allow United’s new joint owners to “identify the right long-term candidate” to run the club, suggesting current manager Erik Ten Hag may not be that candidate.
The ongoing saga of Manchester United’s sale has already dragged on for a year since the Glazers first mooted selling last November, and many sections of the club’s support are unlikely to be entirely satisfied with any deal that sees the widely disliked owning family retain a majority interest in the club.