Identity crisis: on the collapse of Manchester United
Anyone who thinks Manchester United's crash on the pitch depends on the identity of the manager or the players doesn't understand what they're talking about.
It's not that United don't need professionals and reinforcements, but first of all they need heart
Tuesday, August 16, 2022, 12:00
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Summary of Brentford's victory 0:4 over Manchester United (Sport 1)
In 2005, on the eve of the Champions League match against Milan, a fan demonstration took place outside Old Trafford.
A few hundreds, maybe thousands (go isolate yourself from the crowd), marched in zero degree temperatures with red lanterns in their hands.
The reason for the demonstration: the intention of the Glazer family to take over what was then (and even today) considered one of the most luxurious clubs in the history of world football, Manchester United.
I was lucky enough to be among those protesters.
How did we know?
It is not that we are gifted with a prophetic sense and even anti-Semitism was not here.
There was only an examination of what happened to other sports ventures taken over by Malcolm Glaser (who has since passed away), ticket prices went up, the merchandise sold well, but the clubs, despite flashes here and there, lost their soul.
The first years caused us criticism even from the fans of the team: in 2007 the club broke a streak of 3 years (Arsenal and twice Chelsea) and won the championship title.
In 2008, the Champions Cup defect was added to the list, after a penalty shootout victory over Abram Grant's Chelsea - and since since then the club continued to win championships (until 2013) and appear in the finals of the Champions League (two losses against Barcelona), this was apparently because Disproving the thesis that the Glazers bought one of the luxury clubs of world football in a horribly leveraged deal, only to empty it of cash and enjoy the management fees.
The beginning of the collapse began after he took over Manchester United.
Malcolm Glaser (Photo: GettyImages)
loss of way
Manchester United's road loss was not apparent at first.
David Moyes' attempt to step into the huge shoes of Sir Alex may have been a failure, but he symbolized at least the continuation of the policy of "taking the water out of the rock" under which titles can also be won with players like John O'Shea, Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans - players who Were part of the rotation of the legendary manager, they would probably have fought for a place in the Newcastle lineup (no offense, God forbid. I have respect for the lovable Geordies).
The sequel was already much bleaker.
The experiment with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have happened first, but instead we saw at Old Trafford Louis van Gaal, an old-fashioned coach who cannot coach any top club, followed by Jose Mourinho, who more than anyone symbolized the loss of the club's way: the fighting spirit, the sacrifice , the tradition and nurturing of Ferguson's home players, replaced the cynicism (and it was full, but it was accompanied by horrible football!) of the Portuguese.
I was with the team in the Europa League final in Stockholm (where they beat Ajax), the players cheered for the bonuses, the fans politely clapped and went for a drink - it wasn't the same, and we all felt it precisely at the peak moment of the team in the post-Fergi era.
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If Mourinho symbolized the loss of the way on the lines, then on the field it was Paul Pogba (Photo: Reuters)
If Mourinho symbolized the loss of the way on the lines, then on the field it was Paul Pogba.
A player whose cynicism was rivaled only by that of the manager.
Pogba's main achievement was to show that when United decides to bring to the club the most expensive player in the world (at the time), it is capable, but beyond that the man, who is mainly interested in the color of the stripe in his hair and maintaining the list of followers on Instagram, was a bad spirit in the dressing room and on the pitch.
He was not alone - and here and there he showed something of the ability that raised his price, but the message was clear, especially when you remember that Sir Alex was the man who kicked Pogba out of the club, a few years ago: Fergie doesn't live here anymore.
Indeed, the legendary manager who in the meantime managed to win in extra time not only the final of the Champions but also the battle for his life (after a stroke), was involved not only in managing the game, nurturing the players, instilling tactical discipline and also in luck... but He was involved in everything that was done in the club up to the level of the ratio between the logo and the size of the napkins in the "Red Cafe" in the stadium (real!).
As long as Manchester United had a reasonable management, I would say, but when David Gill was replaced by the financial man Ed Woodward, it was evident that the owners (the children-heirs of Malcolm Glazer, mainly Joel and Ivy) are only looking to keep the sponsorship agreements and continue to draw management fees, While inflating the debts.
Manchester United, once a magnet for young talent, has gone from bad to worse.
From a club that turns a teenager with potential Reuben Oved, like Cristiano Ronaldo, into the best player in the world, to a club where careers end quickly.
The acquisition campaigns also seemed delusional: half a reasonable World Cup plus was enough to make Harry Maguire the most expensive stopper in history, Anthony Martial (not without talent, although problematic) was purchased for an amount that is still joked about in France - and the list goes on.
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Ronaldo is frustrated (Photo: GettyImages, Catherine Ivill)
End of the Road?
The beginning of the end could be seen in something that seemed for a moment to be a record moment: Cristiano Ronaldo was seemingly "kidnapped" under the noses of Pep Guardiola and the hated city rival.
The truth, of course, couldn't be further: City's wealthy owners were excited about the opportunity to show their friends from Paris that they too had a superstar - and were about to sign with the aging talent.
Their manager liked it less, to say the least - until he built a winning team in a team that was once a symbol of losers, now will he violate the delicate balance in the dressing room?
You know what happened next: Ronaldo was "convinced to return home" after a conversation with Sir Alex - and the rest is history: the cohesive dressing room, perhaps the only asset left behind by the fired Norwegian manager, completely crumbled.
With all the love for the phenomenon from Portugal, the image of the late Sir Matt Busby came to mind, sending the team's greatest player in its history, Georgie Best, to have his liver framed on the pub wall and telling him: "Son, no player is bigger than the club".
"We will never die" sing the United fans at Stratford-End, in the stadium that is still the most populated in England in a song that mourned the victims of the Munich disaster, but even if it takes more than one greedy family to kill the most popular brand of football in the British Isles, at the very least the team is dying and disgraced.
A goal ratio of 7:1 (and the right goal - myself!) and 20th and last place in the league.
And that's it, players like Bruno Fernandez and Marcus Rashford, who were considered to be the ones to take the team on a new path, look as if they retired from active play - and when Eriksen, who died and came back to life, becomes a leader in the midfield, is it any wonder that the team looks like it needs revitalization?
He is only the symptom, look for the disease overseas (Photo: Reuters)
You can of course blame the coach already after 180 nightmarish minutes, but the truth is that exactly as I wrote here just a year ago about the lovable Solskjaer: the managers at Manchester United can at most be the symptom, look for the disease overseas.
Manchester United need deep plowing in the squad - and a persona who can carry it out on the lines, but for that to happen they first need a manager and an owner who differentiate between football and feather ball, although I would not be in a hurry to dismiss the Glazers' understanding of football, after all, as the late Malcolm answered When asked what is the family's connection to football?
"My son studied in England and used to watch the games with his roommate who is a Tottenham fan."
And when it is this heritage that dominates the team with the most glorious heritage in England, Brentford can also celebrate 0:4 already in the 35th minute.