Manchester United’s first-ever head of fan engagement Rick McGagh has ‘apologised’ after supposedly threatening an ally of Ed Woodward online two years ago. McGagh is the club’s first senior appointment since Richard Arnold replaced Ed Woodward as chief executive this month but faces controversy before his start date.
United will bring McGagh in to help improve the club’s relationship with fans as part of a commitment co-owner Joel Glazer outlined after the failed European Super League bid.
He was previously school regulator Ofsted’s head of internal communications and has been a representative on United’s Fan’s Advisory Board and Fans’ Forum.
After his appointment last week, McGagh said: “Our fans want Manchester United to be the best football club in the world, both on and off the pitch.
“Supporters are what makes this club so special, and they should always feel they have the opportunity to contribute their views and be listened to.”
He is due to start in April, but The Athletic report Old Trafford figures have been left in dismay over his past behaviour online.
On January 29, 2020, McGagh seemingly attempted to spark trouble for one of former CEO Woodward’s associates after learning of his whereabouts.
He posted on an online fans’ forum: “Just been texted that [Woodward’s ally] is currently on the train from London, due to arrive at Piccadilly, 3pm. Coach J. Just in case anyone is around and wants to give him a welcome!”
The post came less than 24 hours after an unidentified group targeted Woodward’s house with fireworks as tensions were palpable between the club and its fanbase.
Woodward’s colleague was travelling to the second leg of United’s Carabao Cup semi-final at Manchester City from down south but left his train at an earlier stop to his planned destination.
He had been warned about the possibility of an altercation amid the online discussion of his movements and made the decision accordingly.
McGagh’s meaning of a ‘welcome’ explains itself given the mood around the club at the time, but without speculating, it certainly isn’t a good look regardless.
And he has since explained his regret over the ‘silly comment’ to the club before commencing in his new role in just over a month’s time.
A club spokesperson has said: “Rick recognises that this post from over two years ago was ill-judged and could be interpreted in a way that was not intended. He has apologised to those involved and they accepted the apology.”
With his actions in the past, it seems like United are still set to welcome him as their first-ever head of fan engagement in the final stages of the current season.
It’s a positive move at the start of what millions of fans worldwide will hope is a new era of success at Old Trafford.
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