Simon Jordan has labelled Manchester United CEO Richard Arnold as ‘naive’ after a leaked interview with supporters surfaced, telling the director to ‘grow up’ and the club to ‘get over it’.
The talkSPORT pundit and former Crystal Palace owner, Jordan, was responding to viral footage of Arnold being filmed without his knowledge speaking to a group of fans.
The club’s new chief agreed to the meeting at a pub after it emerged supporters were planning a protest outside of his house, and he then criticised the team’s current state.
Describing the 2021/22 season as a ‘f****** nightmare’ and saying he wasn’t thrilled about where United are, he also revealed he’s worried about the club’s future having ‘burned through cash’.
While the video earned some praise from a section of supporters, United were said to have been ‘disappointed’ the director’s chat with fans was filmed and then leaked online – especially as Arnold reportedly asked fans not to record it.
In Jordan’s eyes, Arnold’s admissions showed naivety.
“Fans don’t want to hear from you, they want to hear you saying what they want to hear, there is a difference,” said the White and Jordan host.
“I wouldn’t say what he said, I wouldn’t say I worry how we’re going to get this sorted for the future.
“There’s nothing that you should be saying to these people that you shouldn’t be willing to say in the public domain.
“You’re the chief executive of Manchester United you shouldn’t be saying, ‘I worry how we’re going to get this sorted for the future’, you should know how you’re going to get it sorted for the future.
“The challenge you have is that if you’re going to tell these Man United fans that you need an investor to fund the stadium and you’re going to use Tottenham as an example…
“If I’m a Manchester United fan I’m going to go straight back over the fence and say, ‘The Glazer’s took £1.5billion in interest payments over the last 15 years and dividends, why didn’t they stop taking that and then they wouldn’t need to go to funders to build a stadium’.
“Roman Abramovich was absolutely going to fund a stadium at Chelsea through borrowing money, everybody thinks he was going to build that stadium with his own money, no he wasn’t, he was out in the market place trying to raise funding.
“There’s nothing wrong with borrowing money but, in the space Manchester United are, the United fans are going to go straight back and say, ‘You’ve taken £1.5bn in interest over the 17 years you’ve been there, servicing a debt that you should have never placed on this club in the first place’, so I do understand their premise.”
After commenting on the content of the exchange, Jordan then talked about the meeting itself, saying that while it was secretly recorded, United and Arnold have no right to be annoyed about the video being leaked.
He explained: “Richard Arnold sat in that meeting, if you are that stupid, that gormless, that naivie, that wet behind the ears that you’re going to sit in that meeting and think that what you’re saying isn’t going to find its way into the public domain, either verbally or someone recording it – then what’s the matter with you?
“What’s the problem? Be a grown up. You go into a room, you’re in a public environment, it’s about being realistic. Why would Manchester United be unhappy about one iota of this content? It’s what their chief executive thinks isn’t it? In the real world you price it in, get over it.
“They [United fans] don’t want communication, they want the answers they want. They want to be told what they want to be told, they want to be told that the Glazers are going to bugger off, they want to be told that the Glazers are going to buy a new stadium with no cost implications, they want to be told United are going to win the league.
“I think his answers are fine, so stand by it. What are you whining about, why are you crying? Why are Man United unhappy?”
Fellow talkSPORT hosts Ally McCoist and Jamie O’Hara agreed that neither the club nor Arnold should complain.
The they went even further by saying the candid nature of his comments could be a positive thing for the club in repairing its relationship with supporters.
“It’s actually a good bit of PR which is what Man United could do with,” McCoist admitted.
O’Hara agreed, saying: “I don’t think it’s a bad interview, he’s just being honest and open about it.
“They have had a huge divide. If you look at teams that are successful, the fans and CEOs and managers and owners are all pushing in the same direction.
“But at United they’re all pulling in the wrong direction.”
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