Well, not quite yet because, although Ed Woodward is stepping down from his role as CEO on February 1st, he is not due to leave the club until June.

This is obviously to ensure that his replacement, Richard Arnold, is well schooled in how to waste millions in the transfer market, employ a long list of managers with limited to zero success and totally fail to win either of the two major trophies coveted by the big clubs nowadays.

There is also the possibility that, having watched Woodward fail spectacularly in these aspects of his role, Arnold may, and should, delegate this side of the club to people who actually know what they’re doing!

He already has John Murtough who is the club’s Technical Director or Director of Football or whatever and he is considered to be at the same level as the manager. An ex-sports scientist with Everton he at least has some knowledge of the game albeit more theory than practice.

Then there is Darren Fletcher, (no not the annoying BT Sports commentator), the ex-United player who spends his time flitting between the touchline where he appears to be a coach, and the boardroom where he is some kind of executive. Nobody really knows, not even the players.

Hopefully these roles will be more defined when the chaos which surrounds Woodward leaves with him.

So what do we know about Richard Arnold? Well, there isn’t much worth knowing to be honest. He is from Chelmsford, like Woodward. He went to Bristol university, like Woodward. He is an accountant, like Woodward and he worked for Price Waterhouse, like Woodward. In fact, United fans will be forgiven if they think that Woodward has just popped down to Somerset House, (if that’s still the place), performed a quick change of name and resumed his role hoping nobody will notice.

So what did Woodward really achieve in his time at United? Well, his first big decision was to employ David Moyes to follow Sir Alex Ferguson. The man who had won the most trophies in the club’s history was replaced by a man who had won a grand total of none.

His ineptitude in the transfer market, which was to achieve almost legendary status, was initially evident when he signed Marouane Fellaini from Everton missing, by 4 days, a contract clause which meant the club had to pay £4 million more than was necessary.

Many poor signings were to follow as Ed went on to prove that he was far more impressed with a player’s name and the resulting shirt sales, than whether he was actually good for the club.

Big names like Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria came, flopped and went. Lesser names like Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay came, flopped and went.

Big name managers followed Moyes. Louis van Gaal came, won the FA Cup and was sacked. Jose Mourinho came, won the Carabao Cup and the Europa League and was sacked.

Woodward then decided to try and placate the frustrated fanbase by bringing in an ex-player, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, as interim manager. This was a strange appointment as Solskjær’s only previous experience of the top level had been to suffer relegation from the Premier League with Cardiff City who he then took to 17th in the Championship before being sacked. Still, it was only temporary until a real manager could be found.

Only it wasn’t. Against all popular advice, which suggested a decision on Solskjær’s future should be left until the end of the season, Woodward made him permanent manager in December. There followed three more years of dire football with many, many downs and only the occasional up which didn’t include winning a trophy of any description.

The Norwegian would never have been given the job at any other Premier League club and, after his first season, would almost certainly have been sacked by any other Premier League club, but not United.

Woodward persevered and even tried to convince the fanbase that progress was being made. In fact, so good were Solskjær and Woodward at creating this illusion of success, that some of the less knowledgeable supporters still think, to this day, that he did a good job.

He didn’t and he was correctly fired albeit two years later than he should have been.

Woodward has now reverted to employing a football person to manage the club on an interim basis. Arnold may not be so quick as Woodward was to make the job permanent this time, hopefully learning from the previous mistake.

The early signs under Ralf Rangnick are not great. They are better than they were under Solskjær but the dressing room seems fractured and this may be the German’s biggest challenge rather than any tactical improvement.

It seems that it is not only the deadwood which needs shifting at United, there appears to be more to the problem.

These are problems caused, at player and football level, entirely by Solskjær and his amateurish coaches but, at the end of the day, the buck has to stop with the man who employed them.

Let’s hope his eventual departure really does spell the end of this error.


Have your say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.