When Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson announced that he would retire in 2013, it sent a shockwave around the football world. SAF had accomplished his ambition of knocking Liverpool out from the perch when he had managed to make Manchester United a 20-time English League Champion overtaking Liverpool 18. When SAF retired, United was in great shape for their successor, whoever is it. However, from the great heyday under SAF, United fans need to watch their rival Manchester City and Liverpool play great football, win trophies, and make records. How have things become worst for United since the departure of SAF?
The first thing that had led to United going downhill since the departure of SAF is the wrong appointment of the successor. David Moyes was appointed as the successor of SAF. First, the choice was deemed to continue to select United’s British manager, but it seemed to be tradition had turned into a disaster. United player played a dreadful football under Moyes that led many teams to get their first-ever win again United after many years. United had been heavily thrashed by Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester City, which led them to finish 7th place and the sacking of David Moyes. To be his men without living in the shadow of SAF, David Moyes had sacked all SAF backroom staff and got his backroom team to let to the instability in the United dressing room.
Once David Moyes had been sacked, United had appointed Louis Van Gaal as the manager. Van Gaal was known for his philosophy and promoting an attacking brand of football. His appointment looks fit to the tradition of United of playing attacking football and encouraging young players. He did a massive rebuild for United and debuted to many youngsters like Marcus Rashford, Jessie Lingard, Fosu Mensah, and many more. He did have an excellent record against big clubs like Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester City. His objective is to make United playing football like Ajax and Barcelona and emphasising possession football. During his tenure, fans are irritated with the football, but he won the FA Cup with a team full of the youngster. But shockingly, after he had won the FA Cup, he had been unceremoniously sacked by the United board and appointed Jose Mourinho as their manager. To his credit, Van Gaal did bring some stability to the club, promote young players, and want United to play Ajax and Barcelona, which may have come to reality if he had been there for another year. Even Guardiola and Klopp did not have a first good season, and only after the second season, their team was able to play their style effectively.
They were appointing a manager that does not fit the philosophy of the club. Even in the less than impressive time, Barcelona and Ajax will nominate the manager that will not alter their philosophy. Still, on this time, the Manchester United board under Ed Woodward had decided to appoint Jose Mourinho, who does not fit in any way with the club’s philosophy. Although he is a successful manager, Jose Mourinho is a short-term manager who only emphasises the established player and not the young player’s development. Once appointed Jose Mourinho, a big signing like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba had arrived. All went well on the first season when he had led them to win the Charity Shield, League Cup and Uefa Europa League. In the second season, with more signing like Romelo Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelof, Mourinho had led United to their highest ever place since SAF the second place in the league behind a record-breaking Manchester city. However, in the third season, the thing had turn downhill with unstable dressing room, infighting among the player and manager, sloppy and ultra-defensive football, and Mourinho constant moaning on the players and the board had led United to sack him in the half-season before handling the reign to Ole Gunnar Solkjaser.
One reason why the disruption of the harmonies of the squad had occurred is because of the wages offered to Alexis Sanchez. Due to the nature of his transfer, where it is swapping of the player with no transfer fee, Sanchez was offered a whopping 500,000 per week salary, which led to some discontent among the player. Worst to follow, Sanchez plays on the little match and spending more time on the substitutes bench, and it does little to justify his price tag. Due to this, many players like David De Gea, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, and many more are reluctant to sign a new contract as they too demand the same salary, which is justified as these players are putting a good performance week in week out in for United. Breaking the wage structure had led to another reason why United had slumped so badly.
Another reason which is more of the external factor is the rise of the transfer fee for a player—gone the day when a club can buy a player from the club for a little of 12 Euro or 30 Euro. Since PSG had bought Neymar by triggering his release clause, most clubs had done something and put a ridiculous amount for any player. Liverpool had bought Virgil Van Dijk for a whopping 75 million pounds from Southampton, which will not be the pre-Neymar departure to PSG. Due to this, Woodward is reluctant to pay the amount needed to buy some players causing more discontent between him and the manager. Due to this in some issue, Woodward will overrule the manager.
United is slumping so severely and watching their rival make a record-breaking run and win trophies; let’s hope things will change under the new manager Ole Gunnar Solkjaer, who sees him going on the United Way. Buying a young player and developing, talking all the positive things about the United, and passion about the club is needed from a United manager. Currently, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer managed to make play excellent football and forged the never say die attitude of the SAF team. Let’s hope that under OGS, Manchester United will be able to on glory trails again.