Now that Manchester United have confirmed that current CEO at the club Richard Arnold will leave his role, the speculation over who will replace him will be ramped up. Jean-Claud Blanc is the big name candidate that the rumour mill is stirring up as one of the first INEOS-led appointments.
The rather immediate replacement has been confirmed by the club as being Patrick Stewart, who will act as interim CEO presumably until either Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s takeover stake is confirmed or until the end of the season. Not to be confused with the X-Men star, Patrick Stewart has been working in football for the last 17 years and has been credited with playing a big role in brokering United’s new shirt sponsorship with Qualcomm Snapdragon as well as the historic renewal deal with Adidas.
Arnold is expecting to finish up with United in a transitionary role before leaving the club at the end of December.
Who is Jean-Claud Blanc?
Blanc is a Frenchman who spent a multitude of experience in working for sports organisations before he started working in football. He has chaired as CEO for French Tennis Association and managed major sporting events such as Tour de France, Winter Olympics and Davis Cup. His first involvement with a football club was Juventus as a Chairman, and then later as a CEO. He joined during the Calciopoli scandal era. He steered the club to a rebuild from the bottom to stability and oversaw the build of Juventus’ Allianz Stadium, all of which built the foundations and played a major factor in Bianconeri’s dominance at the top Italian football in the 2010’s.
He later went to his native homeland and joined Paris Saint Germain as a General Manger. But he would later join the INEOS setup with Sir Jim Ratcliffe to oversee the sporting portfolio that covers a range of teams such as OGC Nice, Lausanne-Sport, INEOS Grenadiers and INEOS Britannia, as well as Mercedes-AMG Petronas in Formula 1.
Red Devil Armada’s verdict:
Jean-Claud Blanc brings a huge wealth of experience to Manchester United, and has much experience in rebuilding a club such as Juventus. United are in a similar position (in terms of reputation) currently, so bringing in a man like Blanc seems like the perfect fit. Ratcliffe’s trust is within a small team of people that he trusts to do the job and it is so very clear that Blanc is a part of that entrusted circle.
The bar has been set relatively low for the Red Devils in the last 10 years, and the execution of any strategic plan to do with football has often failed miserably. Any degree of success that Ratcliffe and his team bring would be seen as a foundation to build on in coming seasons.