In our first of the two blog series based on United, here we will look at the five key areas where it exactly went wrong for United since 2013!
If you are a red devil, it’s not difficult to understand your sorrow right now. The club’s unfortunate slump must be too hard to bear and this might just be the most painful time for a true United devotee. Just six and a half years ago when United fans were celebrating their thirteenth Premier League triumph, Sir Alex bid adieu to Old Trafford faithful and left a legacy for many decades to come. Sir Alex took the helm in the 1986-87 season and transformed them into world-beaters. And attracted football fans from all over the globe towards the red half of Manchester by invoking an exciting brand of football among his players. They played with flair, freedom and most importantly, a motive. Ardent United fans couldn’t have imagined such a drastic fall in the club’s stature.
In the next blog of this series devoted to United, we will look for some long term solutions for this problem. But here we will confine ourselves to the top five areas where it all went wrong for United since 2013:
Eight years of severe underinvestment during Fergie’s era:
What if I tell you that United are just doing a catch up for those eight years of underinvestment during the end of Gill-Fergie era at Old Trafford. United had a net-spend of €158m over the eight years from 2005 to 2013, just €19m per season! While United’s cross-city rivals were building one of the strongest squads in the world, United was replacing Cristiano Ronaldo with Antonio Valencia. The year City signed Aguero, United signed Young! But this was overlooked up to a certain extent because Fergie was a freak of nature and managed to get the best out of the squad at disposal. And when the Scott left, fans were confronted with the truth that this squad just a below average squad in the Premier League.
Over the past six and a half seasons, the star signings have failed to have an impact and proved to be a liability in the team. Whenever the club is associated with a top-class player, it unfolds in a dramatic fashion and they end up signing the next possible name in the market. Bruno Fernandes is the latest edition in this list and let’s just see where would he land up in the coming days. It’s not very hard to guess that the manager doesn’t have the last say in transfers and Ed Woodward is the man to be blamed in this regard. From overpaying €3.5m on Fellaini’s release clause on deadline day in 2013 to the drawn-out nature of Maguire’s transfer this past summer. Solskjaer and Woodward ‘rebuild’ has already seen Lukaku, Fellaini, Smalling, Herrera, Valencia and Darmian leave and replaced them with a Championship player, a CB a year too late, and an RB six years too late.
Lack of fighting spirit:
Remember United teams from the past? One particular strength that they possessed was having the heart of a true fighter. Sir Alex created a trade of winning in the dying seconds of the game. As the clock moved towards that 90-minute-mark, United was too hot to handle even for top-notch opponents and a new term, ‘Fergie Time’ was associated with it. Opposition never took a sigh of relief until the final whistle was blown. And now we see players who seem to be more concerned about their social media update rather than what’s actually going on in the field.
People at the helm have failed to deliver time and time again. United have tried two of the biggest names of world football like van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, only to see them fail in their respective tenures. Rather, it would be safe to say that it all started with the treatment of David Moyes. He was not provided with the type of the signings that he expected. In fact, Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini were the only two to arrive at Old Trafford during his tenure. The instability can be understood by the fact that United have tried four different managers in the past six years. And you could see the fifth one in just a few days time if the performances fail to improve. While two of its biggest rivals City and Liverpool are dominating world football, United are just stuck in a system where even the best of players fails to deliver.
Lacklustre style of play:
United as a team is traditionally known for playing an exciting brand of football. They are known to exhibit high tempo of play which have made even avid football fans falling in love with the club. But Old Trafford is not a fortress as it used to be, players for the better half of the game seems to be passing without a clear motive and there is certainly zero penetration in some matches from this site. A series of sideways passes followed by a back pass to kill the mood inside the stadium. This is the most basic thing that the team lacks. But the good thing is that they do not need to look way back in history for inspiration if required.