It’s confirmed! Jose Mourinho is no longer the manager of Manchester United! We’re saved! Title challenge is back on! The world is all good again!
At least, that’s the opinion of some fans. Removing Mourinho had become inevitable. It had no longer become a question of if the club would act. Following the atrocity at Anfield last Sunday, it became a case of when the club would act. That said, even the most optimistic of ‘Mourinho Out-ers’ would have refused to believe that Woodward would give the manager his marching orders before Christmas.
Perhaps even more surprising was that there had been no rumours circulating prior to the announcement. The last two sackings were handled in such a farcical fashion that we could all be forgiven for thinking that the Sports Editor at The Big Issue would find out before Mourinho. If we can take anything from this, at least the club have now learnt how to deal with a sacking!
That said, even I could see that Mourinho could no longer continue his tenure. I’ve fought a lonely battle these past few months as part of the ‘Mourinho In’ camp but it was obvious that his time was up. However, this is only the beginning.
I look at our run of fixtures over the Christmas period, I see we play Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Newcastle in the Premier League, before Reading in the FA Cup. I expect to win every one of these games. I’d of expected to win them under Mourinho, contrary to the evidence so far this season saying otherwise. Winning all of those fixtures doesn’t mean we’ve recovered, or even that things are looking up. This is the beginning of a long, hard slog as a Manchester United fan. Instead of using those fixtures as a yardstick, look forward to the fixtures between mid-February and mid-March where we play PSG twice, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City.
After the removal of David Moyes we knew what would happen next. Van Gaal was the favourite from the off. Then, it was the world’s worst kept secret that Mourinho would take over from Van Gaal. I think the one thing we can all agree on is that none of us have a clue what happens now. The only thing we do know is that an interim boss will be appointed to the end of the season.
Since the news broke this morning I’ve heard Zinedine Zidane, Laurent Blanc, Arsene Wenger, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Leonardo Jardim, Antonio Conte and Eddie Howe. And that’s before we even mention Pochettino.
I’ll get it out the way now. Why would Pochettino want to join Manchester United? Okay, I get the whole ‘biggest club in the world’ debate, but, right now, we are a shambles, from top to bottom. What Poch has at Tottenham is an excellent team of his making, stability, security, a new stadium and a chance to finish what he has started. Tottenham will be playing Champions League football next season. Manchester United, barring a miracle, will not be. Pochettino to Manchester United will not happen (and, yes, I’ve heard his press conference).
The word transition is one that we have heard many times since Sir Alex Ferguson hung up his magic wand but the word has never been more apt than it is right now. There is no quick fix to this mess. This will take some time to fix and we have to be patient. I’ve seen a video this morning claiming Gary Neville is not a Manchester United fan after his recent comments. That’s nonsense. The analogy used by Neville is the best I’ve seen regarding this whole debacle. We need a reset button. Absolutely spot on. Owners, CEO, manager, players, even a section of fans. We need to start again.
Currently, Solskjaer is expected to be given the chance to take the club foward in an interim role. This, I must admit, is something that I wouldn’t be adverse to. The baby-faced assassin knows the club, gets the ethos and is an Old Trafford legend. This could be just the sort of appointment that could unite the fanbase once more. After all, whether some like to admit it or not, being a Manchester United fan recently has been hard work, and I don’t mean because of the results on the pitch. The fanbase has become poisonous, divisive, abusive even.
In the meantime, I, no doubt like yourselves, will be spending the next few days constantly hitting the refresh button on Twitter. Things just got interesting…