Let me state up front that I am not a fan of Manchester United FC so I am not taking paracetamol for another man’s headache. Sunderland all the way (League 1, for now!).
It’s just that quite a few of my friends follow this former all-conquering team, just as many of my friends are Arsenal fans and they did not let us rest in the last three seasons when they were doing so bad and we non-fans had to advise them that Arsene Wenger was their problem – an advice they bluntly refused to heed because the man was like a god to them. As we all now know, Arsenal has bounced back after they parted ways with the ‘unsackable’ Frenchman.
On behalf of my friends therefore, I will get involved again; and it’s mainly to protect my ears from all the beefing and lamentations about how poorly their dear club has been doing in the last three seasons.
The obvious person to blame would be current manager Jose Mourinho, right? Well, wrong. JM has won the premiership, FA cup and UEFA Champions League several times with different clubs in different countries. Yes – he has his faults and problems and his best may have started to dwindle with age as he also gets crankier. That should be expected.
It happens to the best of coaches.
Even Zinedine Zidane with all his array of trophies and the Galacticos available to him saw the handwriting on the wall and quit Real Madrid in the nick of time. Real is right now in an unfamiliar 5th spot on the La Liga table, even after he has left.
Many Man United fans have blamed poor player signing strategies for their poor form. Some claim the Glazer family who owns Man U did not provide money to properly run the club since they took it over in 2005, saying that it is the genius of Sir Alex Ferguson and the team players that made them successful in those days.
Sir Alex left the club in 2013 and there was a huge void as the shoes he left behind were too big for anyone to fill. The questions people were asking were many. Didn’t he know he will step down some day? Why was he not preparing a worthy successor? Or was he planning to stay on for as long as possible until forced out by players or fans like Wenger?
David Moyes from Everton replaced Sir Alex on the latter’s recommendation. But Moyes wasn’t of the Ferguson school. The job was too big for him and his reign was as short as can be. He was kicked out when his inadequacies became obvious. Dutchman Louis van Gaal was also not good enough. Nor was Man U legend Ryan Giggs.
So United have struggled after Ferguson’s departure in 2013. There were 4 managers in 4 years that followed his departure – Moyes, Giggs, Van Gaal, and now Mourinho.
When Mourinho took charge, things looked more promising, especially with his bravado and wise-cracks. Sir Alex also seemed to have been pleased that his old arch-enemy had now brought his wealth of experience to help dig United out of the hole it had found itself.
But the Man U job even seems too big for a man like Mourinho who has coached big clubs in Spain (Real Madrid), Italy (Inter Milan), his native Portugal (Porto) and two times with Chelsea (England) where he won the leagues, cups and UEFA championships.
Since all these replacements for Sir Alex have failed, it looks like they have to look up to the old man himself as the main cause of the problem!
How can one man win so many trophies for one team in a single life time? Who does he or do the fans think can match his record?
Sir Alex Ferguson is to many the greatest coach to have graced football. He won 38 trophies at Man Utd which include 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, one European Cup Winners’ Cup and 2 Champions Leagues during the period he managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013, almost 30 years!
It’s no wonder the expectations of fans are high and the pressure on managers intense.
Also, the spectre of Sir Alex hanging around the successive managers can almost be felt physically. He has been present at almost all matches, except of course when he was ill and had to lay low for a while.
So, do you guys want Sir Alex back even if he has to be attached to a pace maker? Or will you just take it easy with any coach and let them build you up from the bottom as the Arsenal coach Unai Emery seems to be doing? Then you can ban Ferguson from attending your matches. Let him watch on tv for a much longer period.
Sir Alex is the cause of Man U’s problems. He set a bar too high and his spectre is still dominating the space where no one is big enough yet to fill his shoe size.