I don’t know about you, but I have asked myself this question several times since Sir Alex announced his retirement. The answer always seemed so simple. Develop young talent and blend with proven veterans/stars. However with each new manager and each new “style”, United were pulled into too many different directions. The identity of the club has dwindled with each failed coaching hire. Each manager tasked with fixing the issues of his predecessor. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Where It All Started
When the Glazer family took over the club, many fans and some in the English FA, were not happy with the manner in which Manchester United was purchased. This is not breaking news to United fans. When they took over there was stability at the club. David Gill and Sir Alex ran the show; true football men. When they both retired at the end of 2013, we were sold that a smooth succession plan was in place. Ed Woodward was promoted to Executive Chairman and David Moyes as manager.
Despite working with Gill for around 7 years, Woodward struggled mightily in that first transfer window, as we all painfully remember. The club were convinced Gareth Bale was joining. And when he inevitably joined Real Madrid, Woodward unsuccessfully scrambled for another marquee signing. Despite winning the league the season before, United had a thin, ageing squad that needed replenishing.
We still had star players in the likes of Vidic, Rooney, and RVP, but instead of trying to bolster the existing squad with a few young, exciting players, they instead put all their eggs in the Bale basket. We ended with Fellaini, on deadline day, followed-up by Juan Mata in the January window. Personally, Juan has been one of my favorite players over the last six years, but he was not enough. Surely this wasn’t a sign of things to come right??? RIGHT??!!
The Chosen One…
I’ll keep my thoughts on David Moyes short… much like his tenure. David Moyes was out of his depth from day 1. He was never fully trusted by the players and it showed. The play was boring and restricted. Couple that with a lack of signings and Moyes is canned after barely 3/4 of a season. Again I say, surely this is not a sign of things to come, right???
Surely It Will Get Better?!
Year 1 was such a setback that Woodward has since been trying to fix the mistakes of that first summer post Fergie. In year 2, we welcomed Louis Van Gaal and I was frankly thrilled. Experienced manager with a winning track record fresh off a great run in the World Cup with the Netherlands.
That transfer window went a little better with the signing of Angel Di Maria and Falcao. Star players with star power. What could go wrong right? The play was still boring and the two star signings weren’t settling well. Falcao just never seemed to fit and Di Maria clashed with Van Gaal immediately. Both would not return the next season. The real negative here however is not that we lost two star players, but something much deeper.
Drugs Are Bad…mmmk
Woodward that second summer was successful where he had failed the year before; landing “Galactico” level signings in Di Maria and Falcao. He tasted true victory in that transfer window. He was addicted. Each transfer window since, he has targeted 1-2 high profile signings in hopes of satisfying his itch and ever growing ego.
The first summer of Mourinho was arguably his best transfer window. Getting a mega personality in Zlatan, a playmaker in Mkhitaryan, a young promising defender in Bailly, and the return our golden boy Pogba. Oh man we are rolling now! Although that season was not the best, we won some trophies and got back into Champions League. There was hope. And the Woodward ego was hungry for more.
Eddie. You Have A Problem.
Next summer, the one marquee deal was Lukaku. Matic and Lindelof were just a quick fix for Eddie. So that January he “stole” Alexis Sanchez from under the nose of our noisy neighbors. Back in reality however it came out that United were giving Sanchez unreal wages. Wages that City were never going to pay because they knew it would upset the balance of the squad. And that is exactly what happened.
Constant reports in the media that some United players wanted new deals, including Paul Pogba, reportedly wanting a new deal to match Alexis. Whether or not this is true, it doesn’t matter. They had fallen into a pattern of overpaying for players. And not just new signings, but current players getting new deals which saw them receive huge raises. This has lead to extreme difficulty in offloading players. Not to mention so many of our players have seemingly regressed and no one wants them.*cough* Phil Jones *cough*. Sorry bout that. Moving on.
If we don’t change our ways then we are more likely to become like Leeds United, a fallen giant, rather than returning to consistent contenders.
There is so much more to what has gone wrong with our beloved Red Devils, but what I wanted to highlight was the lack of strategy the club has demonstrated the last six and a half years. Our two biggest rivals have leapfrogged us because they each have a clear direction. They have systems in place to ensure not just short term, but long term success. A thing Manchester United once had not too long ago.
The club has refused to modernize its setup and appoint a true Director of Football. Not simply because the Glazers don’t care (they don’t), but mainly because we have a chairman in place who is addicted to the rush of being the main man of England’s biggest club. He thinks we are dumb when he leaks all the bs about transfers and potential changes at the club to the media. But we see through all of it. I don’t know when it will happen, but one day he will no longer be the chairman of Manchester United. I just hope it is not too late by then.
#GGMU #GlazersOut #WoodwardOut