Man United Move Closer to Finding Ed Woodward Successor

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Manchester United Chief Executive Officer Ed Woodward is certainly one of the most polarizing figures in club history. A large contingent of United supporters have distrusted him and the Glazer family that owns the club ever since their £790m debt-funded takeover of the club in 2005.

Woodward was instrumental in that takeover, working as a JP Morgan investment banker at the time, he provided the let’s say “fiscal agility” to make this deal happen. The Glazers then rewarded him with the CEO gig, making him the most powerful person at the club not in their family.

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Amid the European Super League debacle in April, and the intense backlash that it inspired, Ed Woodward announced that he would be stepping down at the end of the year. And now it appears the club has found their replacement, in Richard Arnold.

The announcement could come as early as next month, according to Sky Sports, who report that:

“Arnold, currently Manchester United’s group managing director, is reported to have been vying with at least two other United executives for the job – one of the most powerful positions in British sport.”

The moves comes at a time in which, although supporter acrimony for the club’s owners remains strong, there is a renewed era of good feelings, to some extent, after a very exciting summer transfer window.

The front office brought back club legend Cristiano Ronaldo, and that has fans buzzing about his re-debut after the international break. You can fault the Glazers for a lot of things, and their list of transgressions is long, but they have spent money on recruitment of new players.

If you want to know who Richard Arnold is, the Manchester Evening News did an in depth profile, which you can click here for.

An excerpt reads:

He joined the club ahead of the 2007/08 season, working as commercial director with responsibility for the management and growth of the club’s sponsorship business, retail, merchandising, apparel and product licensing business, and digital media business.

There is a bit of a “new era” feeling at United right now, and while the relationship between ownership and fan base is obviously very strained, some steps are being taken to change that.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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