The 3-6 humbling by Manchester City on October 2 highlighted how far Manchester United has fallen behind their city rivals. In the first half, the game at the Etihad Stadium looked like men versus boys. Trailing 0-4 at halftime against any team is unacceptable, particularly when it is your arch-rivals, your city rivals. Now is as good a time as any to dissect the main reasons for Manchester United’s spectacular fall from grace.
Sir Alex Ferguson is a legend not only at Old Trafford but on a global scale. Under his stewardship, United dominated domestically and on the European stage; nobody could hold a candle to Sir Alex’s United teams. Red Devils fans enjoyed a period of dominance they believed would never end. But it did end with Sir Alex winning the 2012-13 Premier League, the last time United had its famous name engraved on the trophy.
Under Sir Alex, United went into every game as clear favourites with the best betting online sites. Sir Alex had unrivalled authority over the team’s running and commanded the utmost respect from his playing and coaching staff. He was so influential, so Manchester United, that anyone taking over at the helm was onto an impossible task of filling Sir Alex’s shoes. Sir Alex’s retirement was always going to happen one day, so this was essentially out of United’s control.
Leeds United have been in a similar position since the sacking of Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentinian has legendary status at Elland Road and was responsible for a massive change of culture at the club. Everyone and anyone who coaches Leeds and, indeed, United will always be compared to the fans’ favourite, iconic manager. Whether or not having Sir Alex in the Old Trafford crowd hinders the current head coach is another discussion altogether.
A Lack of Stability
Sir Alex spent 27 years at Old Trafford, a reign we will never see again in our lifetimes. A lack of stability concerning Sir Alex’s replacement is costing the club dearly. There have been eight managers, including caretakers since Sir Alex stepped away from his role. Each was tasked with continuing success at Old Trafford and doing so “the United way”, but all have failed miserably.
Changing the man in the hot seat every two years is not a recipe for success. Each manager has his own coaching style and brings in players to fit how he wants to play. They then get sacked, and the process starts all over again.
Whoever sanctioned the acquisition of Ralf Rangnick needs their head reading because he was never a Manchester United quality manager. His 37.93% win rate is among the worst among all United managers ever.
The recruitment of players without Sir Alex’s input has been completely wrong and would be laughable if it was not so bad. Of course, Sir Alex made some shocking signings, too; here’s looking at you, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Bebe, and Kleberson, but the amount of money wasted on transfers of sub-standard players by the board recently is almost criminal.
Look at the transfer fees and wages paid on the like of Angel Di Maria, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Donny van de Beek, and even Harry Maguire, and it is challenging to stop yourself from crying.
Even the mega-move signing of Jadon Sancho showed United getting their recruitment wrong. Sure, Sancho is a superb player that looks to be coming good, but it was an unnecessary transfer at a time when United was crying out for a ball-winning midfielder. The entire transfer smacked of United stopping Manchester City from resigning the man they let go to Borrusia Dortmund in 2017.
Hopefully, Erik ten Hag is given plenty of time to put his stamp on this United team and rebuild the squad how he seems fit, and we get back to seeing United be a dominant force again.