Manchester United has witnessed some unprecedented lows in its 140-year history, most precisely, the post-Alex Ferguson era and the managers have sadly been on the receiving end of the backlash.
In critical terms, the football at Old Trafford has been drab and boring to say the least but to absolve the board of the blame is tantamount to committing red herring in the modern game.
To provide fundamental insight into the problem that has bedevilled the Red Devils, it is cogent to look at the decoherence that has hit the club since the appointment of Ed Woodward as the club’s CEO.
United is a club that has always been a force to reckon with in the transfer market during the days of Sir Alex Ferguson and frankly it was the bedrock of the successful era of the Scottish gaffer. The transfers were always done and concluded in ways that epitomised the club’s legacy as a giant in world football.
"Bye guys." 👋— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) December 18, 2018
This was the moment Jose Mourinho departed from the Lowry Hotel after being sacked as Manchester United manager. pic.twitter.com/dCTdqMEEM5
Conversely, the transfers that should be the backbone of managers appointed has been atrocious since the appointment of David Moyes.
The former Everton manager was welcomed by Manchester United fans all over the globe with the mantra the “Chosen One” but the only transfer completed prior to the commencement of the season was the embarrassing marquee signing of Marouane Fellaini. The failure in the transfer market that season was huge including the reported attempt to sign Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao via a third party. The season was a disaster already before it began and a panic purchase of Juan Mata from Chelsea during the winter was supposed to transform the club’s football magically but only allowed Moyes’ six-year contract last for nine months.
Mourinho has something I admire so much… Against all the turmoil, THRIVE! Good luck for the future boss. #GoodbyeJose. Once you get back to management, I'd be there again!— Sports Dilettante™ (@gleeddee) December 18, 2018
After appointing Louis van Gaal, the signings were evidently an upgrade of the play and achievements of the first season under the Dutch gaffer, with the team finishing in the top four, an improvement from the previous seventh position. The former Barcelona boss acquired some big names in Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin but all of them failed to make their mark.
Jose Mourinho took over the mantle of leading the team after sacking Van Gaal embarrassingly, despite winning the FA cup, even though he was set up to fail.
The importance of the right signings was evident again during the Portuguese’s first season as Man United won three titles after a successful transfer market. Of course one might be tempted to argue that the trophies won were not the Premier League and Champions League, but you can only beat what is in front of you.
Ed Woodward: “We are confident they will unite the players and the fans as we head into the second half of the season.”— United Xtra (@utdxtra) December 19, 2018
Shots fired at Jose. #mufc
The second season of Jose was a mixed one but still fairly manageable and points to the importance of giving your manager all the support he demands. Mourinho requested for four players including 2018 World Cup finalist Ivan Perisic, but was only provided with 75% of his request. He managed to finish second in the league behind the Pep Guardiola’s super Manchester City and lost the FA cup final to Chelsea.
Ivan Perisic was the main man needed in the team as the wing play Jose Mourinho is known for is central to all his past achievements. Gary Neville in the build up to the Newcastle game this season shared these positions and lambasted the board regarding the handling of the club and what it means to keep sacking, the instability it brings, the breaking of the sacking of the manager by journalists, and other negative energies around the club amongst a few.
Handling has been sensible, even if it means next five months might get worse. Long-term planning was always the initial intention but they let Fergie choose the manager and he chose poorly. Need to get this one right.— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) December 18, 2018
Jose has been sacked by the board after ridiculing the serial winner prior to the commencement of the season by stating that we have better players than what the manager requested in what can only be tagged a ‘show of shame’ in the transfer market.
A quick glance at other clubs and their policies regarding football would bring to the memory the important role of former club CEO David Gill and call for the appointment of a proper director of football. Manchester United have sacked three coaches in six years, spanning the initial contract awarded to David Moyes and are fast becoming a sacking club.
Compare this to clubs like Manchester City that have had Pep Guardiola for two and half seasons and counting or Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool since 2015. Not forgetting the likes of Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur for four years and are showing continuing signs of progress so much that the Lilywhites play much better than the Red Devils.
Manchester United have a fundamental problem and it is not entirely a problem of bad managers or uncommitted players, but, a deep rooted problem of appointing a marketer and football dilettante as the chief executive officer who is only concerned about short-term success.
The club might be doing well financially under Ed Woodward with more sponsorships coming in and an ever growing presence on social media, but he’s not doing enough to ensure there’s success on the field of play.
For this, he needs to be dismissed, otherwise more trouble lays ahead.
What are your thoughts on the future of Manchester United as regards Ed Woodward? Let’s have it in the comments section below.
Follow Dayo on Twitter: @gleeddee
Photo Credit: Getty Images