Manchester United intend to use Twitter to 'listen to' 650million 'supporters'

The club recently launched an official Twitter account, and already have over 600,000 followers

Manchester United group managing director Richard Arnold has revealed the club intend to use Twitter as one of the ways of improving fan communication.

Sir Alex Ferguson was famously distrustful of the popular social networking site, questioning why his players, including Rio Ferdinand, did not go to a library and read a book to fill their time.

Since Ferguson's exit as manager however, United have launched their own official Twitter feed, that by the end of their pre-season tour to the Far East and Australia had already attracted in excess of 600,000 followers.

With another version on the Chinese equivalent Sina Weibo tapping into the world's most populous country, United feel they are more in tune with a worldwide support they estimate to be in excess of 650million than ever before.

Together with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who recently confirmed an intention to restore the words 'football club' to United's badge, Arnold is now responsible for the day-to-day running of United following the departure of highly-regarded chief executive David Gill.

He feels exploring the social media avenue can only be a benefit, even if the most vehement anti-Glazer fans groups, IMUSA and MUST, have been hoping for more direct communication with them.

"One of the things about being the biggest club in the world is that you have to keep looking for areas you can improve on," Arnold told Press Association Sport during an interview carried out in the club's office in Hong Kong.

"Just as we think we can learn about media management from Apple we will look at people in all areas of our business.

"We have to set areas for improvement off the pitch and fan communication is one.

"Nothing has changed in that regard. I want to make sure we listen to all the opinions.

"We have recently launched Twitter and Sina Weibo. One of the reasons for doing that is that it is not just helpful getting information out, it is a fantastic tool for listening to what people think."

Arnold likens it to a bar-room discussion.

Some views will be relevant and have the potential to be acted upon, others may well be dismissed out of hand.

But the point is, an avenue for dialogue has been opened, although he is adamant that does not mean the match-going fan will be ignored either.

"One of the challenges of my role is to do the right thing for the long-term health of the club, look at all the feedback we are getting and take a view on that," said Arnold.

"We get a full spectrum of opinion. Some of the views we get will be really helpful and we will be able to learn from them. Some will be part of a balanced view we take.

"One of the commitments both Ed and I made was to listen and in addition, I hope to do everything in my power to make sure the people who attend those games in the stadium recognise they are every bit as important as we think they are."


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam