When Sir Alex Ferguson brought South Korean midfielder Park Ji Sung in from PSV back in 2005, you could have forgiven Sir Alex for having his doubts about the then South Korean talent actually making the grade at Old Trafford. However those doubts were quickly squashed, as Park went on to become one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest ever signings, going on to spend 7 glorious years at the Theatre of Dreams, before finally joining QPR Back in 2012.
He may not technically have been the greatest footballer to have ever graced the Old Trafford turf, far from it in fact, but one thing he did have in his locker was work rate. No matter whether it was the 1st minute or the last, Park just never stopped running, giving every last breath he had left in the tank for the team, this would become his forte.
When the big games came round, Park Ji Sung became one of the first names on Sir Alex Ferguson’s team sheet. This was merited as he went on to start 2 European Cup Finals in 2009 and 2011 against Barcelona keeping the likes of Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov out of the starting eleven. His work rate and desire to never give in became a key part of United’s success on the pitch between 2007-2011. Yes the attacking talent was fascinating to watch, but Park’s role in the side was just as important.
I myself, admittedly, didn’t realise at the time, just how important Park was to this United side and only really realised how crucial he was when he left. I never really understood his role properly and instead wanted to see more attacking options on the pitch. I remember thinking “Oh why he is playing, why is Berbatov or Nani not playing, I don’t want Park on!” I couldn’t have been proven more wrong if I tried, as United won 4 leagues in 5 seasons and made it to 3 European Cup Finals between 2007-2011 and reached the peak of World Football. He was in the side for a reason.
With Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and the likes on board, it would always be hard to grab the headlines, but Park Ji Sung’s consistent displays didn’t go unnoticed among the United faithful as he quickly become something of a fan favourite. It was particularly more impressive as it was fairly early when he became a fan favourite. Usually it takes time for the United faithful to be won over by a player, but with Park they made an exception.
As he entered his final season at Old Trafford (2011/2012) it became clear his days at the club may be coming to an end. His appearance’s in the first team became really just cameos as the season wore on. It seemed Sir Alex Ferguson was opting for a more youthful look to his Midfield with Tom Cleverley becoming more of a first team regular leaving Park on the Substitutes bench.
His time at the theatre of dreams had come to an end. However his legacy at Manchester United would not be tarnished, or for that matter, be forgotten by the United faithful. His mark at United had already been made.
This afternoon saw confirmation of the world’s worst footballing secret as outgoing Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola stated his intention to move to England, and the Premier League, once his contract ends with the German champions this summer. The news immediately sent Twitter into a frenzy as the world debated the Spaniards next destination, with Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and, of course, United the front runners.
Whilst many claim that it is the ‘The United Way’ to give managers time to achieve success, it is worth noting that Louis Van Gaal was never in it for the long haul. By his own admission, his intention was, and more than likely still is, to retire at the end of his contract in the summer of 2017. Three years was always going to be the most United were going to get out of their preferred choice to succeed David Moyes.
Cutting short this three year tenure to poach arguably the best club coach in the world cannot, in whichever way one spins it, be viewed upon as negative. Imagine Guardiola in charge of City, or Chelsea, with a blank cheque book at his disposal…scary isn’t it? Now imagine Guardiola in charge of United with that same blank cheque book…get it?
Guardiola is a coach which fits in with the profile of ‘The United Way’. Attacking, exciting football? Check. Promotes and believes in bringing in youth? Check. Proven track record of winning trophies at the highest level? Check.
Yes, Louis Van Gaal at least ticks two of them boxes, but it is plain to see that his best days are now behind him. Let’s think of this from a players perspective for example. Hypothetically, Lionel Messi is available and potentially wanting to join the club but it must be at the expense of a 36-year-old club legend. Would you stick or twist?
Claiming that replacing LVG with Guardiola (who, let’s not forget, has at least shown signs in the past that Old Trafford is one of his favoured future destinations) is not intended to promote any kind of hostility. No, quite the opposite. It is the sensible thing, and the right thing, to do and, if the opportunity is there, it is one that must be grasped with both hands.
Henrik Larsson will no doubt by best remembered among many, for his days at Scottish Giants, Celtic and rightly so; he was nothing short of sensational. However it would be his mere 3 month stay at Manchester United where I would finally get to the chance to see Henrik Larsson up close and on a regular basis. I wasn’t disappointed.
Nowadays its almost like a common occurrence for a striker to score 40 plus goals a season, its not even talked about, Ronaldo, Messi, have done it for years since 2008, but back then it was a different story. Despite playing in an admittedly poorer league, his goal scoring became legendary throughout the world of football (which eventually led to Barcelona taking him on board). Scoring 50 goals plus a season didn’t really happen very often and when Larsson netted 53 goals in the 2000/2001 campaign it became worldwide news, he wasn’t human, he was a goal scoring machine!
Rumours of a move to United had been whispered throughout the club as the club couldn’t count on Louis Saha playing week in week out. He finally got his move to Old Trafford in a shock loan deal on 1st January 2007. It didn’t take long for Larsson to feel at home, as he went on to score on his debut in an FA Cup encounter against Aston Villa with a trademark finish into the top right hand corner. You could clearly see how prolific of a forward he once as, he hadn’t lost that touch, some are just born with it I guess and Larsson was one of those. He followed up that goal, with a neat finish against Watford at Old Trafford before rounding things off against Lille in the UEFA Champions League scoring the winner with a sublime header into the bottom right hand corner. However his best goal for the club arguably came against Portsmouth in the FA Cup as he steamed home a beautiful volley only for it to be ruled out for offside.
What stood out for me was his finishing, Bar Ruud Van Nistelrooy, he was the most lethal out and out goal scorer I have ever seen play at United, he was that good. When he got a chance, you would have bet your house on him scoring.
Its only a crying shame that he didn’t stay for longer, one can only wonder if he did, United may have been successful on all 3 fronts that season, it was more than possible. He made his final appearance for the club in an FA Cup encounter against Middlesbrough, before finally waving goodbye to the United Faithful.
He may have only been at the club a mere 3 months but boy did he make an impact, it was an honour Henrik.
Atletico Madrid Manager Diego Simeone is currently being linked with Manchester United if Louis Van Gaal gets the sack. This man is arguably one of the greatest managers in Europe. His win rate as a coach is 55.1%, his draws being 22.3% and his losses only 22.6%.
He usually plays a 4-4-2 formation which Alex Ferguson has used back in the day when he was managing the Red Devils. However do not get your hopes up yet because the Argentinian man has been linked with the likes of Chelsea as well, who are performing shockingly in the Premier League this season. In my opinion I would love to see Diego at this club turning things around and playing attacking football which we would love to watch again.
Another interesting fact is that Diego Simone has never managed a team in the Premier League and if he comes to Manchester United and starts his English management career there I think he would win a lot of trophies and sign key players. Manchester United really do need a new manager because most United fans are sick and tired of Louis van Gaal’s philosophy. In my opinion I think Diego Simeone is a much better manager than van Gaal even if van Gaal has won a champions league and Simone hasn’t.
We have also been linked with Antoine Greizmann so this could possibly mean if Diego Simeone comes to Manchester United he could indeed bring the French goal scorer along with him as the Red Devils could do with a striker right now. Other key players at Atletico Madrid such as Diego Godin who we have been linked with in the past could come to old Trafford and also a Spanish youngster named Oliver Torres who has been labeled as the next Xavi Hernandez.
Believe it or not, Louis Van Gaal has a solid reputation amongst the footballing world. This transpires into a great advantage for Manchester United. Whether you like the man or not, you can’t deny that he has done very well to attract players of the highest quality to our club. Bastian Schweinsteiger has been the most recent example of this theory and even the rather naïve signing of Angel Di Maria last season.
Could you imagine David Moyes attracting this calibre of talent? Whilst it is one of the few positives that one can draw from our manager, it is a very important one as well as one which may prove to be very useful during the foreseeable future.
With the January transfer window upon us, it is customary that Manchester United should have very ambitious targets. The Daily Mail have valued our transfer budget at £100 million plus (obviously the largest in the Premier League). Surely, that’s enough to solve the problems of any club. In my opinion the two main positions that need to be strengthened are the right-wing and striker roles. Additionally, money could be spent on a new left-back with both Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw injured or even a new centre-back in order to add stability to the back four. This is a detailed list of the players that I think we should be targeting in January.
Lucas Moura – PSG (£40 million)
The Brazilian international is the perfect solution to our right-wing problem. He offers pace to burn and some phenomenal skill to accompany it. Ever since the arrival of Angel Di Maria to the French side, Moura has been sidelined which has led to him being unhappy at the club in recent months. However, his price tag is quite large and questions must be asked about whether he will shine under Van Gaal’s philosophy. At only 23 years of age, he already has over 30 international caps and has played 90 games for PSG scoring a total of 56 goals for club and country. He looks the perfect combination of youth and experience and will add a lot of flair to the current United side. However, it may be difficult to attract a player of Moura’s calibre from a team still competing in the Champions League to one which is not.
Felipe Anderson – Lazio (£35 million)
Perhaps a more realistic January target, Felipe Anderson is also a Brazilian winger who can play anywhere across the front three. He will also solve the right-wing problem as well as provide depth in the final third. At the age of only 22, he may turn out to be a very solid long term investment. Much like Moura, he offers vast speed in attack as well as great creativity on the flanks. This transfer is more likely to happen as Lazio are too out of the Champions League, but once again questions must be asked about whether Anderson will blossom under LVG’s style of play.
Alexandre Lacazette – Lyon (£45 million)
The Frenchman is a prolific goalscorer having scored over 55 goals in Ligue 1 and will be the perfect striker for Manchester United. He could either be playing alone in the centre forward position or even partner Anthony Martial in a 4-1-3-2 formation. Despite the fact that Lyon are also out of the Champions League, if this deal were to go ahead it will most likely be during the Summer transfer window.
Many other players could also address our lack of depth in the striker role. The likes of Yoshinori Muto and Ayoze Perez have also been heavily linked with Manchester United but their ability is questionable.
Ryan Bertrand – Southampton (£15 million)
The English left-back could be a very good buy for United this January especially after the injuries of both Rojo and Shaw. He offers speed in his position and is Premier League proven. Should the role be strengthened, it’s hard to look past Bertrand as a very suitable target.
It’s been a very boring start for Manchester United this season. LVG’s men have only managed three goals in United’s last six home games, four of those games infamously ending 0-0. It can be argued that the disposal of players like Van Persie, Di Maria and Chicarito Hernandez, who himself has scored 11 goals in his last 10 games for Bayern Leverkusen has led to the reds struggles up front this season. On the other hand, the Red Devils defence this season has been a massive positive especially with Chris Smalling breaking out as one of the world’s best centre-backs. Mike Smalling has also been combining well at the back with ball playing defender, Daley Blind. But when the attack is as poor as it has been, it is hard to have an all round good team performance. But almost halfway through the season United still seem to be lacking that flair the red devils used to bring to the pitch.
The Devils have been lacking a strong, fast and most importantly, a clinical finisher in the heart of attack that possesses composure, physicality and confidence when on the ball. Although Martial possesses all those qualities, at 20, United shouldn’t be putting so much pressure on such a young player who recently arrived from AS Monaco for a fee around £36 million. The majority of our attackers, lack confidence which is seriously hurting our chances of keeping up with Leicester, Arsenal and City. According to ‘Sky Sports’ LVG has been given a whopping £200 million to spend this coming January transfer window. Although, from other reports, it is said to be unlikely he will dip into that budget to bring fresh players into United this January.
Here, we look at players that could bring entertainment and goals back to Old Trafford:
1. Harry Kane – Spurs
A player that hasn’t struggled to find the net this season after a storming debut season last year, scoring 31 goals in 51 games. This season Kane has already started well scoring 10 goals in 19 games. The 22 year old English international, used to the Barclays Premier League and is rated one of the best young talents in the world and reportedly has been looking for a way out of Spurs in pursuit of Champions League football, a factor that United could offer him. He is a fine talent that will only get better in time and would surely be more of a consistent choice than Wayne Rooney.
After being in the shadow or his “hero”, Didier Drogba, Romelu Lukaku has become his own player after moving to Everton. Lukaku posses great strength in and around the box and being 6’2, He’s also a massive aerial threat. Having spoken about his desire to play Champions League again, Lukaku would definitely be open to a move to Old Trafford. And Lukaku’s tally of 13 league goals is five better than United forwards Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay combined. And after scoring against Leicester last week Lukaku became only the 9th player to score in seven consecutive Premier League games.
Quite a bit older than, the two players we’ve just mention, Arjen Robben (31 years old), unlike Kane and Lukaku would bring a wealth of experience and much more quality to United’s performances. It has recently been reported that Robben wants to leave Bayern Munich having struggled for a starting role in Guardiola’s side since returning from injury. United have been linked with a deal, and after reports that Robben has agreed to move to Old Trafford, we say the Red Devils are prepared to offer £49.7m to do business. With United fans desperate to see attack with pace, Robben is definitely one to offer that.
4. Alexandre Pato – Potential Fee: £5 – £20 million
A player who tipped to be a world beater, Alexandre Pato, who in the summer revealed Manchester United had made a later offer for him. Ferreira told Globo Esporte “At the moment there are only enquiries, But if a club comes in with an offer of €25m (18.5m), we will let him go, otherwise he will return in January. “Louis van Gaal may be forced to make signings this time around if his team don’t start playing with more fluency. After scoring 15 goals and assisting nine in 2015, Pato is now being linked with a move back to Europe, and would prove a great option for United’s attack.
5. Antoine Griezmann – Potential Fee: £57.3 million
Griezmann has already netted 12 times in 21 games for Atletico, and can play left and right winger for United as well as forward, a position in which United lack great depth in. The highly-rated playmaker has a £57.3m release clause at Atletico which Van Gaal is eager to meet. It has been reported that Antoine is a big supporter of Manchester United and would be willing to move to the Red Devils in January.
Some very interesting news about Jose Mourinho has recently broken out. Mourinho has told Real Madrid he is not interested in returning to the club, opening the door for him to take over at Manchester United, according to Spanish newspaper Diario Sportclaim.
In my opinion, Mourinho was the right option for united because he has the ability to get results and also gets the big name players into the club. However I feel Mourinho will obviously be tempted to take over at Real Madrid, despite the coming reports, as Madrid really have a well built squad.
As of now, three players have been spotted by manchester united: Goncalo Guedes, Felipe Anderson and James Rodriguez; James Rodriguez being our main target. I don’t think Madrid will let James go so easily as they are in a vulnerable position now and don’t look strong enough to win La Liga. However we do have a good chance of signing him if we use money and Ed Woodward, as usual, has a trick up his sleeve.
Reports are also coming in that Madrid are going to swoop in for David de Gea which makes it yet another summer transfer saga repeat. Felipe Anderson is gifted and has great technical ability and will be a great addition to our squad. Goncalo Guedes, dubbed ‘the new Ronaldo’, is also a talented young teen; on the contrary he is inconsistent.
This January transfer window is going to be very interesting and vital. Louis van Gaal will be desperate to keep the fans content and strengthen his squad with some talented players. Hoping for the best. As of now James Rodriguez would be a dream transfer and we should get a good left back.
When Nani arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2007, comparisons were already being made to then team mate Cristiano Ronaldo and with many respects it was easy to see why, Bags of potential, Young, had plenty of tricks in the locker, was from the same club in Sporting Lisbon and was even the same nationality. All was set for Nani to really make a name for himself in world football, Unfortunately this didn’t happen.
In his 7 year stay at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, Nani failed to live up to expectations, not even getting close to the achievements set By Cristiano Ronaldo during his stay at the club, as he finally called time upon his Manchester United career by completing a move to Fenerbache last summer.
By no means was his career at Manchester United a complete disaster or anything close to him being labelled a flop as such, it was that we expected so much more. In Nani there was a potential Ballon D’or Winner. If he wanted it as badly as we wanted, he would have done it. Inconsistency was the key issue, from one week making the Arsenal defender’s look like school boys at the Emirates in 2010, lobbing the ball over Almunia to getting subbed off early in games, there was no consistency.
However the early signs were promising. Things could not really have gone much better for Nani as he became a first team regular helping the side go on to win the Premier League and the Champions League in 2008. The evident ability and talent he has in those football boots were there for all to witness as he made a real name for himself and become something of a fan favourite among the United faithful, including me I might add! His “Infamous” somersault celebration was becoming somewhat of a regular occurrence as the season wore on scoring some outrageous goals including a goal of the season contender against Middlesbrough. It was all set for him to and establish himself for Manchester United.
As we entered the second season Nani’s issues in his game began to rise, It was a far cry from his debut season where at times he lit up Old Trafford. He may have received a premier league winners medal at the end of the campaign but his impact on the team was near non existent as he more often than not found himself out of he starting eleven. The only real note coming in a FA Cup encounter with Derby County. He just didn’t look as interested , it wasn’t the same player as we had witnessed the season before.
It wasn’t really until January 2010 where Nani finally made it back into Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans, making a return to the team against Hull City at Old Trafford. If it wasn’t for this performance his exit from Old Trafford would have been a lot earlier in my opinion. Luckily, Nani grabbed this opportunity with both hands and managed to force his way back into the first team even making himself a contender for the clubs player of the season award despite only really playing half of the season.
His improvement continued into the following season of 2010/2011 were arguably Nani produced his best consistent football for Manchester United. Right from the off it was clear he meant business. It wasn’t just his goals and assists that were impressive, it was his consistent displays. He had finally taken it upon himself to go out there and preform on a consistent level. His partnership with then forward Dimitar Berbatov was particularly impressive at the time. It was like watching poetry take place on a football field. The standout moment coming against Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford where Nani and Berbatov linked up superbly with each other in a breath taking team move as Nani provided the assist for Berbatov’s goal. Its only a crying shame that this consistency never continued.
The following season’s under Sir Alex Ferguson brought more of the familiar mixed bag with Nani as again inconsistency remained the annoyingly key problem. Time was running out for the Portuguese star at Manchester United, you got the feeling especially after 2011/2012 that Nani’s time at Old Trafford was drawing to a close whether Sir Alex Ferguson remained there or not.
After spending time on loan back at former club Sporting Lisbon back in 2014, His time at Manchester United officially came to an end after he completed a move to Fenerbache last summer. It marked the end of an era between Manchester United supporters and Nani, he made you applaud, he made you cry, but in the end he left you feeling disappointed, so near yet so far.
Back in 2005 Manchester United were a sitting duck. The ‘richest club in the world’ was snapped up by a murky opportunistic businessman known as Malcolm Glazer.
Malcolm Glazer had made a career of corporate takeovers and buying a football club from a few wealthy businessmen who were in it for the profit was as easy as pie. His world record £790m buyout was about 300p a share, a whopping 10 times more than the trading value of around 30p. An eye watering amount in the sporting world at the time but common place amongst the leverage buyout scene. Fans taking up a stake was mooted however, the amounts involved made it prohibitive.
The financing behind the deal was engineered by one Mr Edward Gareth Woodward, who was with JP Morgan. Malcolm Glazer utilised the same shock and awe tactics with his successful $192m bid for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – a record for a sports franchise at the time. Following which he put his three children in charge and they promptly saw to recouping their investment. A new stadium was constructed – paid by the taxpayers – to ensure a steady stream of cash to the Glazers.
The venture reached its zenith with the Super Bowl success in 2002. From then onwards it has been a yo-yo season, one after another for the Buccaneers with insignificant success. If the Glazer family are unable to dominate a sport familiar to them through a club in their home state how do you expect them to replicate success across the Atlantic with the biggest sporting team on the planet?
The investment made to purchase Manchester United PLC was more than the total wealth of the Glazer family at the time. The loans taken by the Glazers were to be transferred to and repaid by Manchester United. WTF right? Such is the world of Investment Banking; where money talks, while morals and ethics are unusual.
Promptly after the takeover we went from signing the best young talent in England for a record price to signing Park Ji Sung and Edwin van der Sar for peanuts. Although interestingly, these thrifty signings along with Evra and Vidic in January were perhaps the most astute signings under Fergie and Gill. They were the cornerstone of the successes to come. Fast forward to the final few years of the Fergie era.
Young talent after young talent were snapped up by the nouveau riche and other better managed clubs. We failed to identify needs of certain attributes which were lacking in the squad. Most fans were aware of the dearth of quality in the midfield department yet we persisted. This poor squad management was made obscure by Fergie’s mastery epitomised by the signing of a hungry Robin van Persie to fire him to his swansong title.
The departure of Gill meant the investment banker (Woodward), who in an interview at the start of the season, came across as someone who knows little about football let alone being passionate about Manchester United would be in charge. From securing signings, hiring management, managing the club except on the pitch, youth set up, the commercial side, everything really. He is the overlord at MUFC. The Glazers were indebted to him for his scheming during the buyout. The Glazers have exclusively dealt with him even when David Gill was in charge.
The appointment of David Moyes was commonly attributed as a goodbye gift to SAF, however in a company the CEO would have the final say and that man is Ed Woodward. After handing the reigns to him any chance of continued success diminished when he removed Rene Meulensteen and Mike Phelan and replaced them with his own people. Manchester United should not have allowed that. It was equivalent to culling that Goose in Aesop’s Fables. These men were crucial to on field tactics and training ground work.
Compounding this was the atrocious transfer market activity. One of the first things done by David Moyes was to tweak the scouting system. Years of lackadaisical work and Fergie power had probably led to a limp team involved in identifying talent, yet Ed has his team were clueless to it. This culminated in the signings of Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata. In a squad that lacked a proper midfield, pace and had an aging defence. We sign two players who solve nothing.
What about the botched signing of Ander Herrera? Dealing with a club that is known to only sell their players when their buyout clause is met. Clearly illustrated by the well-publicised sale of Javi Martinez! Wayne Rooney and Luis Nani getting exorbitant new contracts. The fruitless pursuit of the best players in the world seem to characterise Ed Woodward.
Enter Louis van Gaal. One of the best coaches in world football. Perhaps on the decline but his fundamental work almost ensures an easier job for his successor. Probably the best thing Ed Woodward has done for the club football wise. Woodward pushed through the signing of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw and communicated it to LVG prior to sealing the deal. LVG is a coach more than anything. His time at Ajax Amsterdam, FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich meant he didn’t have Fergie like power in making signings. He had an influence perhaps but these are these are three of the best managed clubs around. They do their homework and have excellent youth and scouting systems in place.
Manchester United meanwhile has a stuttering youth development program and a scouting and deal execution team which signed two unnecessary players at exorbitant rates. LVG goes on to sign Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and controversially, Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao. The latter both having an agent who has healthily enriched himself from MUFC since the Cristiano Ronaldo deal – Jorge Mendes. You put super-agent Mendes and clueless Ed Woodward on the negotiation table you know who is coming out on top. Falcao wanted out of A.S. Monaco and a move to Real and Jorge granted him his wish. PSG and di Maria wanted each other and Mendes used MUFC and naive Ed to get the deal done. This is a man on the top of his game.
It would seem that LVG had ordered signings of Blind and Rojo based on the World Cup in Brazil. Both players shone however Rojo was not too sparkly outside the World Cup. That is the job of the scouting team to gauge compatibility of the players to the team. On the field RVP still seemed bemused and Chicharito was not involved in the game enough for LVG and both players were rightly gone by the end of the season. Performances were mixed but demolition jobs on Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool F.C. seemed to be a hopeful sign of things to come. I would like to include Trasfermarkt.co.uk stats on spending as well. It shows £136.75m spent and £34.76m recouped, giving a net spend of £101.99m. A whole lot of dough for fourth place in the league.
Season 2 under LVG. The previous campaign showed us among other things that the squad needed pace upfront, Rooney a fast fading force, Smalling and Jones as injury prone as they have been throughout their tenures, de Gea not signing a contract extension, Falcao and Di Maria huge flops on the pitch, the midfield needing steel, a lack of physicality on the field through the lack of speed, athleticism and power being noticeable. LVG probably handed Ed a list of players he felt the squad would be better off without.
MUFC makes prompt signings of Depay, Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, and Darmian. All great signings on paper, Midfield steel, check. Winning mentality in Bastian and Depay who also brought with him pace, shooting ability as well as being a set piece threat. Darmian is Italy’s first choice fullback and is equally comfortable at right back and left back. Then after a decent pre-season, the club decides to get rid of the excess players. Selling prior to buying is like showing your hand in poker. Deals to purchase replacements were clearly not in place. Then we go on another round of Ed Woodward’s hapless pursuit of unlikely signings such as Sergio Ramos and Thomas Muller.
The consensus was that we still needed another striker, a pacey winger who hugs the touchline and definitely a solid centre back or two. The transfer market closed with the ‘expected’ failure for MUFC to sign any of those ‘unsignable’ players Ed craves but, we were somewhat placated by signing the young talent that is Anthony Martial albeit for an absurd amount of money. There were ample young talent out there to fill gaps however we seemed only interested in those superstars of world football. Fergie once said the best signings are those under 24 and rightly so. They can grow in the club ethos and improve. We seem to have strayed from that.
We made a decent start to the season although the first two defeats were the first time I have seen LVG outfoxed tactically both by Gary Monk through Ayew exploiting the space in the left channel left vacant by Shaw and by Santi Carzola luring Bastian out of position. The Arsenal game was an omen of what was to come. One chance one goal.
When the two CMs are not protecting our defence they seem to be not able to stop anything. As much as he has improved, Smalling is still not a dominant defender. A proper CB needs to boss his duels. For someone 194cm tall he still lost 35% of his aerial duels and is often overpowered by forwards most recently by Cameron Jerome down United’s left which led to him scoring a goal. Winning duels is chief to winning games. Dominating the air ala Vidic shreds the confidence of opponents. The same with winning tackles and dribbling past defenders. It breeds doubt in opponents and creates confidence in our team. That is something that we lack in our squad right now. The Fergie legacy players – Rooney, Carrick, Young and Valencia – supposedly able to continue the assiduity of dominance have failed us and the Ed Woodward-Moyes signings are proving a hindrance to LVG.
The bottom line is a lot of the blame for what is happening on the pitch is down to the club and how it is run. The Glazers who are only interested to profit from the club are well represented in the sense that we are more than decent in increasing revenue, disinterested in investing in Stadia and our youth set up, little interest in clearing the debt, raising funds on the stock market which go straight into Glazer pockets.
MUFC is a cash cow and that’s how the Glazers would like to keep it. Top four and a few games in the cups are sufficient for the Glazers. They are not bothered about the legacy of Manchester United only the flow of funds into their pockets. The worst thing I’ve heard from MUFC fans is that the Glazers need to open their cheque book to sign players. Hello? We make money, enough to sign Gareth Bale every season and a few duds. Look at our balance sheets. We make money, pay the Glazers to sit on our board, pay the Glazers loans and pay the interest on those loans. It’s all funds generated by Manchester United. Ed Woodward himself said selling the ‘United’ brand is like selling diamonds.
Replacing LVG is not going to lead to success when the fundamentals of the club are wrong. A new manager is going to face the same hurdles faced by LVG, Moyes and Fergie. The moment the Glazers came in they’ve shaken things up negatively. A winning team needs to be ahead of the curb, always looking to improve and to innovate. Young players, the best sports science is sport, the best scouting, the best people to seal the deal, the best commercial arm, the most socially responsible club. That should be the hallmarks of this great club. We are dithering and that is causing our rivals to streak ahead.
The Glazers are building a castle on sand. They couldn’t be bothered. Realistically we can’t boot them out and they won’t be going anytime soon. Nonetheless, we cannot be ignorant to these facts. We need to let these people know that we are aware of their exploitation of our beloved club. We need some sort of civilised disobedience – #GlazersOUT trending instead of #LVGOut, banners and online chatter ridiculing these opportunistic thieves, effigies of the Glazers and their banker boy pawn Ed Woodward in and around Old Trafford.
What for you might ask? They need to know that we know their deceptive tricks. Focusing hate on LVG doesn’t change that. Focusing hate on Rooney, Fellaini, Memphis et al. doesn’t do anything apart from erode what little confidence that they have left. Continuous hate on the Glazers could possibly lead to them giving in to more serious involvement to the footballing side of the football club.
Running a club is not rocket science, if you allocate the right amount of funds to the right sections of the club we can easily regain our place at the zenith of football. There is so much money in football that I see it as impossible for us not to return to dominance and line the Glazers pockets at the same time. The Glazers are imperturbable because most fans don’t care and don’t know the real reason behind our decline which began as a club on March 2003, when Malcolm Glazer bought 2.9% of MUFC Plc. Since then he has done nothing except shackle the club while our competition takes to the skies. Remember Love United, Hate the Glazers.