Sir Alex Ferguson has returned to Manchester United as the club’s chief executive, Richard Arnold, sought counsel from the iconic Old Trafford manager.
Arnold has formed a think-tank comprised of Ferguson, former CEO David Gill, legendary United captain Bryan Robson, and current football director John Murtough to draw on their collective experience on all parts of the club.
It will give Ferguson more power at Old Trafford than he has since leaving as manager nearly a decade ago.
The five men’s lunch meeting at Carrington on Tuesday, which coincided with Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the training field for talks, is said to be the first in a series of regular meetings.
Although Ferguson and Gill have stayed on United’s football board as non-executive directors since leaving their posts in 2013, it has been viewed as mostly symbolic, with former United chief executive Ed Woodward preferring to do things his way.
Ferguson, according to Sportsmail, would welcome the opportunity to have more say at United after only being consulted on a couple of occasions by then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Scot, who is now 80 years old and has recovered from a life-threatening brain haemorrhage in 2018, can no longer play an active role at United.
However, Arnold, who took over for Woodward in February, recognizes the value of utilizing Ferguson’s immense football expertise, having won a historic 38 titles during his 26-and-a-half years in charge at Old Trafford.
Gill was a significant component in that achievement throughout his 16-year tenure at United, including a decade as chief executive, but despite his stature in the game, he has been a peripheral character at the club in recent years.
Gill, 64, is a member of UEFA’s executive committee, treasurer of European football’s governing body, and chairman of both the finance and pay committees.
Robson is regarded as a United legend and, like Ferguson, serves as an ambassador for the club.
The three individuals are expected to advise Arnold on a variety of problems, including the renovation of Old Trafford and Carrington, as well as the club’s connection with its fans.
It will undoubtedly include football issues, though they will be careful not to step on Murtough’s toes.
Ferguson spoke to Ronaldo when the player and his agency met with Arnold on Tuesday, although it was only a brief conversation when the player addressed his old manager.
According to club sources, their meeting was just coincidental because Ferguson’s lunch meeting had been scheduled for some time.
However, it is believed that the venue was changed to Carrington so Arnold could meet with Ronaldo and Mendes.
And having Ferguson in the building, who persuaded Ronaldo to remain an extra year at United in 2008, would have been another wise decision by Arnold.