Thursday, July 25, 2024

Manchester United are Lacking Direction

A quick search of the name ‘Mourinho’ on Twitter will show you just how divided the Manchester United fans really are at the moment. Arguably, the most divided they’ve been in the post-Ferguson era.

Both Toby and Sam think Mourinho should get the boot at United whilst Rob Altcroft shows his support for the manager.

Mourinho polarises opinion but I fear United’s problems run deeper than just Jose Mourinho.

The Manchester United Way

As Sir Alex retired there was a huge argument about whether’ the manager’ would interfere at club level and manage from the shadows. Funnily enough, every Manchester United fan would bite your fan off for that opportunity to actually have arisen.

The truth is the club has a real lack of leadership in a footballing sense at board level and a demonstrated a clear lack of vision and naivety. 

From the aforementioned Twitter search, it quickly becomes clear that the majority of fans are crying out for football in the Circa 1998, 1958 & 2008. I.E – fast, effective attacking football.

Manchester United 2008
Manchester United, 2008

Understandably so, The philosophy the fans are craving transformed the Club from a Northern powerhouse to the envy of Europe. The courage and bravery of a man with daring ambition and vision to take the Club further than just the shores of this country. He laid the foundations for everything Manchester United are. 

Like every fan, United’s red half crave commitment to attractive, entertaining, attacking football filled with drama and excitement. A dedication and emphasis on constantly developing their own players and giving youth a real chance. Fans are accepting they might not always succeed, there may be periods of frustration and failure (ala Chelsea in various periods over the last decade) but these ethics and the ‘United attitude’ should remain constant and consistent. Undiminished by time and circumstance.

Lacking Vision

Looking at the current owners, the board and somewhat the manager! Who actually runs Manchester United? Are the owners focused on a plan to take the club forward? What is their plan?

From the Glazers perspective, I can’t imagine that they’re to concerned with the playing side of things but I also can’t imagine they’re stupid enough to realise how a lack of planning will hurt the revenue streams. On the football side, It’s the former Banker & Accountant Ed Woodward, who now appears to be the custodian, the man in charge, the big cheese.

Ed Woodward, Manchester United
Ed Woodward, Manchester United

Moving on downstairs, we have Jose Mourinho, a colossus of a manager with an even bigger ego (albeit earned). His clear focus is to win at all costs, how becomes irrelevant as long as the club end up victorious. The finances nor the long-term future of the club are his issues to worry about therefore he doesn’t worry about them.

The elephant in the room, however, is that Mourinho only truly cares about number 1. So how long until Mourinho moves on for pastures new?

Are Manchester United Happy With the Mourinho Way?

So here’s the overall consensus. Should United ship out young, exciting, promising players, players the club have invested heavily to bring them in in the first place and should the manager replace them with yet more expensive, experienced, players with the little possibility of sell on value and no guarantee of success competing against the genius of Guardiola and the Media’s darling Jurgen Klopp? Would the club be willing to continue to invest at this rate to sustain this buy, buy, buy ideology? I’m not so sure.

I have a growing concern that the great Manchester United will only invest at a rate to compete for the Champions League. Winning would be the icing on the cake, but keeping United competitive and ultimately relevant is the overall concern.

Jose Mourinho speaks during at his press conference (Image: Manchester United/Getty Images)
Jose Mourinho speaks during at his press conference (Image: Manchester United/Getty Images)

So here we are at a loggerhead, Mourinho will, of course, refute any kind of situation like I just mentioned, he’s a winner and he doesn’t settle for merely competitive relevance. My opinion is that the board have severely underestimated the consequences of a p*ssed off Jose Mourinho.

I think Mourinho may just be finding himself embroiled in the politics of a Club without a clear vision or recognised leader. In some respects, he may find himself a victim of his own success and now some modicum of stability has been restored the purse strings have predictably tightened. Do they really want to challenge City and return us to the pinnacle of European football? 

Mourinho is not the type of manager to maintain the status quo putting the club at risk of a power struggle between a win, win, win manager and a regime seemingly more interested in profit margins, sponsorship and turnover over success on the pitch. If the books look good does it matter what happens on the pitch? 

Mourinho will not settle for second best and whatever you think about him I think Manchester United fans can all take some comfort from that. It’s no coincidence to me that this window might represent the lowest investment in the team for a number of years just as we’ve established ourselves back into the top 4. I guess this will all unravel sooner rather than later and we’ll have our answer.

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