Manchester United chief executive Richard Arnold is reportedly unhappy with United’s widely-derided social media strategy, their most powerful source of direct communication with supporters across the globe.
Changes are already underway in the communications department after the director of communications, Charlie Brooks, confirmed in February he was stepping down after three-and-a-half years.
This comes after staff at United disagreed with the decision to endorse a tweet by Paul Pogba denouncing a story by a print journalist in October as it undermined their commendable campaign against online abuse that the club launched last season, according to Manchester Evening News.
Man United chief executive Richard Arnold is reportedly unhappy at the social media strategy
Staff at United disagreed over endorsing a Pogba tweet denying he’d quit French national team
Pogba denied media reports that claimed he quit the France national team over comments made by the country’s President Emmanuel Macron which were perceived to be against Islam.
The French leader later that month declared war on ‘Islamist separatism’, which he believes is taking over some Muslim communities in France.
The Sun newspaper alleged Pogba, a practicing Muslim, reacted to Macron’s comments by quitting the national team. The newspaper has since apologized and amended its story by him.
‘Unacceptable,’ the 29-year-old wrote on a social media post along with a ‘fake news’ sticker on a screenshot of the headline from The Sun.
Paul Pogba denied media reports that claimed he quit the France national team in October
‘So The Sun did it again,’ he added. ‘Absolutely 100% unfounded news about me are going around, stating things I have never said or thought.
‘I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some’ media ‘sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding the French national team to the pot.
‘I am against any and all forms of terror and violence. Unfortunately, some press people don’t act responsibly when writing the news, abusing their press freedom, not verifying if what they write / reproduce is true, creating a gossip chain without caring (if) it affects people’s lives and my life. ‘
Gary Neville previously launched a stinging attack on United’s CEO of media, Phil Lynch, after footage appeared on Twitter of him explaining how the club works with players on social media.
Neville accused Lynch of ‘creating robots on and off the pitch’ and claimed ‘he makes controlling fans sound like he’s trying to win a general election’ in response to the footage of him talking to Sports Pro Influencers.
United media chief Lynch says in the short clip: ‘Each one of these players are individuals. Some want charity focus, some want family focus, some want just football focus and I think it’s really about trying to understand what narrative they want to tell and then we’re here to support that narrative.
Manchester United’s CEO of media, Phil Lynch, has opened on methods the club uses with players on social media
Gary Neville accused Lynch of ‘creating robots on and off the pitch’ at Manchester United
‘It does get a little tricky sometimes. There’s a lot of the mass media out there, trying to build that story, trying to build that tabloid piece of content. That’s not what we do at all.
‘We’re trying to work with them and understand the story they want to get out and we support that, join forces on that.
‘We pull, twice a day, fan sentiment graphs for every one of our players. We have certain thresholds that alert us when we see fan sentiment going one way – be that a personal issue, an on-pitch performance issue and when that happens, we then start to work with the player and his team individually to try and counter that little bit narratives.
‘In a lot of cases it is just emotion and it comes off and it calms down anyway. But we do spent a lot of time on what we call social media monitoring and tracking and then working specifically with each individual player but it’s 25 bespoke processes. It’s not “hey, here’s the gameplan and it’s going to work for all of you” ‘.
Neville, in full, quote retweeted the clip saying: ‘Creating Robots on and off the pitch! Get the f @@ k away from them.
‘It’s a football club. He makes controlling fans sound like he’s trying to win a general election! ‘.
It isn’t the first time Neville has criticized how players have their social media managed.
Neville was left unimpressed by what he heard, telling Lynch to ‘get the f @@ k away’
United are also expected to make more significant changes at the club in response to their disastrous season.
The Red Devils currently sit sixth in the Premier League with just one match left to be played this season and have missed out on Champions League football next season.
The club is expected to hire another football director, with several staff changes also planned at their Carrington training complex.
Sources say United are planning a ‘big restructure’, having seemingly finalized their restructuring last year with the appointments of John Murtough as football director and Darren Fletcher as technical director.
United are planning a ‘big restructure’ despite naming John Murtough (left) as football director and former midfielder Darren Fletcher (right) as technical director just last year
Murtough has taken overall leadership of recruitment, with support from Fletcher, the recruitment department and legal department for finer contract details as Matt Judge is about to leave his role as director of football negotiations.
Arnold believes significant changes are required in a number of departments to change United’s image as a football club.
Since Arnold replaced Ed Woodward in February, United have confirmed Erik ten Hag as their next manager, as well as the outgoings of Judge, head of global scouting Marcel Bout and chief scout Jim Lawlor.