Television presenter Rachel Riley has condemned Manchester United’s chief executive Richard Arnold for his management of the Mason Greenwood matter.
Riley, who co-hosts Countdown, expressed her dissatisfaction with Arnold’s approach to the Greenwood issue. As a United supporter herself, she had previously warned that she might stop supporting the club if they allowed Greenwood back into the team.
Earlier this week, United concluded their six-month internal investigation, announcing Greenwood’s departure from the club. The player had seen charges of attempted rape, assault, and coercive control dropped in February 2023.
Speaking to The News Agents, Riley gave her opinion on Arnold’s handling of the situation. When asked if the United executive should consider his position, she said: “Yes, yes I do. I’m someone who has seen it first hand through supporting my friend with domestic abuse. Four years ago, I wouldn’t have known anything about this. I wouldn’t have even been in a position to comment at all.
“But I’ve seen first hand how little is known, even amongst professionals who are supposed to be dealing with this – I include the police, I include social services. If they don’t know the intricacies, I don’t know how a CEO at Manchester United who has multi-million pounds at stake is in any position to make a judgment on what has happened especially having not consulted domestic abuse charities. Not only that, having not consulted them, putting them on a list, calling them hostile to the idea that he would come back.
Riley believes United hierarchy lacked experience in handling of the Greenwood situation
“I think it’s been absolutely mismanaged. I have been a Man Utd supporter since before I was born. My dad has been going since 1960. I’ve had my babies’ Man Utd stuff ready when they were in the womb and I’ve never been more ashamed of the club. I think it’s just a disgrace.
“They had another opportunity to make it right, make a good statement and they have just green-lighted the abuse that’s been going on on social media to claim innocence, to turn the alleged abuser into the alleged victim, which is classic, DAVRO [‘Deny, attack and reverse victim and offender’] technique. I am so disappointed.”
She added: “I say this with such a heavy heart. As a fan, I grew up, these players are heroes. Manchester United players, for little kids, they’re your heroes. For me, I did Manchester United as my subject on Mastermind, I have been lucky enough to go and work at the club, to do charity events, to meet the players, to meet the managers to go to the directors’ box for matches. It’s like my ultimate dream.
“I would love more than anything in the world to give that to my daughters. But I can’t speak out. I mean, what I risk as a fan, or someone who gets all these privileges, compared to what a domestic abuse victim survivor risks by coming forward, even though she or he may not be believed, it is nothing. But I just don’t agree with what’s happened at all.”
Transfers to Roma and the Saudi Pro League are potential options for Greenwood. But both prospects appear unlikely at the moment. Al-Ettifaq manager Steven Gerrard has even confirmed that his team will not be pursuing a move for the player.