‘A stupid, gormless, naive, wet-behind-the-ears BUFFOON’: Man United CEO Richard Arnold is told he must ‘grow up’ by ex-Crystal Palace chief Simon Jordan, after fans secretly filmed his beer garden revelations on transfers and dressing room leaks
- Richard Arnold met with Man United fans at a pub near his Cheshire home
- Candid exchange between chief executive and the group was filmed and leaked
- United are said to be disappointed the footage made it into the public domain
- Arnold has been slammed by ex-Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan
- Jordan said Arnold was ‘naive’ to think the conversation wouldn’t get out
Simon Jordan has described Richard Arnold as a ‘gormless buffoon’ after the Manchester United chief executive was secretly filmed having a forthright conversation with fans in a pub.
Footage of the discussion, in which Arnold criticised the transfer policy of his predecessor Ed Woodward and admits the club ‘f***ing burned through cash’, emerged over the weekend.
Arnold also said the last 12 months had been a ‘f***ing nightmare’ and that England players returned to the club after their defeat in last summer’s Euro 2020 final with their confidence ‘shot’.
Manchester United chief executive Richard Arnold was secretly filmed by a group of fans he spoke with in a Cheshire pub – with the candid discussion leaking out into the public domain
United were left disappointed that footage of the frank conversation, filmed by the fans present, went viral on social media after Arnold asked them not to video the chat.
And former Crystal Palace chairman Jordan has laid into Arnold on talkSPORT, saying he was ‘naïve’ to think details of the chat would not leak out.
Jordan said: ‘Richard Arnold sat in that meeting. If you are that stupid and that gormless and that naïve and that wet behind the ears that you’re going to sit there and think that what you’re saying isn’t going to find its way into the public domain, even by a regurgitation of someone verbally giving back what you’ve said or someone recording it, what the hell is the matter with you?’
When presenter Jim White replies that Arnold went into the meeting with ‘all heart and goodwill’, perhaps not expecting it to leak out, Jordan says: ‘Jim, be a grown up. You’re going into a room, you’re in a public domain environment.’
Later in their discussion, White says: ‘Maybe Richard Arnold thought “they’re not going to record this because I’ve come here in all good faith.”
But a scathing Jordan retorts: ‘Then he’s a gormless buffoon then, isn’t he?’
Former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan was scathing of Arnold on talkSPORT
The full exchange on talkSPORT
Simon Jordan: Richard Arnold sat in that meeting. If you are that stupid and that gormless and that naive and that wet behind the ears that you’re going to sit there and think that what you’re saying isn’t going to find its way into the public domain, even by a regurgitation of someone verbally giving back what you’ve said or someone recording it, what the hell is the matter with you.
Jim White: What did he say that was untrue?
White: So what’s the issue? He goes there with all heart and goodwill, sits opposite them, is honest because he hasn’t said anything that is untrue and some character has got a phone under the table recording him.
Jordan: But Jim, be a grown up. You’re going into a room, you’re in a public domain environment.
White: Is it not about trust?
Jordan: Oh, come off it. It’s about being realistic. And by the way, why would Manchester United be unhappy about one iota of this content? It’s what their chief executive thinks, isn’t it? If you don’t think it, don’t say it.
Jordan [later]: When they walked through the door, did Richard Arnold stand there with his little group and say “I want you to sign a waiver saying that you will not record this?” Grow up, it’s the real world we live in.
White: Maybe Richard Arnold thought “they’re not going to record this because I’ve come here in all good faith.”
Jordan: Then he’s a gormless buffoon then, isn’t he?
The footage of Arnold addressing fans in a pub close to his Cheshire home emerged on Saturday. In it, the United supremo also pleaded with fans to stop the protests that ruined the mood at Old Trafford towards the end of the season.
It was a year of discontent at United, who could only finish sixth in the Premier League and failed in their other competitions after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked and replaced by interim Ralf Rangnick.
They have now appointed Erik ten Hag as their new permanent manager, with the Dutchman facing a gargantuan rebuilding job.
In a statement on Sunday morning, a spokesperson for United said: ‘Richard heard that a group of fans had gathered in a pub near his house.
The United chief labelled last season as a ‘nightmare’ for the club as they finished sixth
Arnold (right) took over as United’s chief executive after Ed Woodward’s departure in February
‘He went to meet them, bought them all a drink, listened to their views, and explained what the club is doing to deliver success on the pitch, improve the stadium, and strengthen engagement with fans.’
In an honest appraisal of United’s recent history, Arnold on Saturday told the group of supporters: ‘We spent a billion pounds on players, more than anyone in Europe.
‘I’m not thrilled where we are. It doesn’t sit easy with me and I worry how we get this sorted for the future. What’s happened is we have f***ing burned through cash.
‘You can’t go to our training ground and say ‘show me where the £1billion is’ because we haven’t spent money well historically.
‘Last year was a f***ing nightmare. There was hate at every game. We’ve blown through an enormous amount of money.’
Arnold insisted that a budget is there to strengthen the squad that Erik ten Hag has inherited
Arnold said United were trying to close a deal for Barcelona and Holland star Frenkie de Jong
Arnold also claimed that ‘money is not a consideration’ when it comes to pursuing Ten Hag’s transfer targets, with Barcelona and Holland midfielder Frenkie de Jong, valued at £69m, top of the summer shopping list.
Arnold told the fans: ‘Money is not a consideration in who we want.
‘It’s that the manager wants him, that they’ve actually done the work on looking if he’s a great player.
‘Is it £100 million or £200million? I don’t know. Get who you f***ing want.’
He added, in a dig at Woodward’s hand-on approach to transfer negotiations: ‘Do you want me buying the players? Doesn’t that ring a bell?’
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