Patrick Stewart has been named as Manchester United’s new chief executive on an interim basis as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s investment becomes closer to confirmation. His appointment marks Richard Arnold’s exit after just two years in the role.
How long will he stay there? For now, nobody knows, as an announcement is yet to be made on Ratcliffe’s proposed 25 per cent buyout.
The Manchester Evening News understands the deal should be ratified during this international break as part of a major shake-up at Old Trafford. United have announced that Arnold will remain at the club in a transitional role until the end of December.
The coming days and weeks are set to confirm the biggest restructuring at United since the Glazers took charge in 2005. But what is known about Stewart, the man expected to lead the club in the imminent future?
MEN Sport has profiled everything you need to know about the man ahead of the biggest test to date.
Stewart grew up in Aberdeen, becoming the latest in a long line of Scots to hold a position of prominence at Old Trafford. He completed his LLB at Glasgow University before working as a solicitor in the late 1990s.
The new century resulted in him moving into football as part of UEFA’s marketing agency for the Champions League – a role he held until landing the United gig. Negotiating media and sponsorship deals at UEFA provided Stewart a background in being able to cut his teeth at one of the biggest clubs in world football.
As well as his work with UEFA, he has also held a position at the Court of Arbitration for Sport since 2019. He is one of 14 arbitrators who deal specifically with football issues across the world.
Previous United role
From his appointment as legal counsel in March 2006, he became responsible for United’s legal affairs, which includes dealing with stakeholders such as the Premier League. Stewart has helped the club emerge as one of the most commercially-successful sporting brands globally despite underachieving in recent years.
United were one of the only top-flight clubs with an in-house lawyer when he was appointed. Stewart was tasked with building the legal foundation at Old Trafford and he signs off everything, from player contracts to lucrative kit deals.
It is safe to say, despite not being a household name, Stewart has been integral to United behind the scenes for years. The Glazers listed him as a director last December, with Stewart sitting in meetings between the club and the Premier League.
Part of his remit in recent times was to conduct an investigation into Mason Greenwood once criminal charges against the forward were dropped. United faced a public backlash when it was revealed he would return – only for the club to U-turn on that stance.
In truth, the future looks volatile, with nobody knowing how it may look until Ratcliffe – or the Glazers – map out a plan. With Arnold staying until the new year, Stewart may not even get his chance to run the show should INES appoint their own man.