1994 till date is 26 years, I have supported Manchester United for this long and I am always quick to point out Sir Alex Ferguson spoilt us with a lot of trophies. No I am not jumping ship, if my 14 year old nephew is firmly rooted with regard to his ties to the team then who am I? Just to mention he’s a Manchester United fan because of me, story for another day.
The team has struggled since Fergie left, yes a few trophies here and there with Louis Van Gaal winning the FA Cup in 2015. Jose Mourinho won the League Cup and Europa League in 2017 though since Ferguson’s departure it’s been a struggle to decipher what the team’s philosophy is let alone fashioning out a winning formula.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge in December, 2018 on temporary basis after Jose Mourinho was let go and he had an amazing start to life with the team especially on away grounds with the round of 16 win over P.S.G in the 2018/19 season of the UEFA Champions League easily coming to mind. It was that win that could be said earned him a 3 year contract at the club. Afterwards the struggle resumed, losing games they had no business conceding in let alone drawing. Expectations were the new season (2019/20) would bring hope.
The 2019/2020 season came and to be fair it was far better than the last, big teams were beaten in the league with home and away victories to Manchester City and Chelsea recorded but no silverware. The highlights were semi-finals in the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League. It was Ole’s first full season, pardonable I guess. The acquisition of Bruno Fernandes in the January transfer window also played a part to a good run till the end of the season.
Rumour had it that Solskjaer had dropped names of his transfer targets in July so they could worked on before the transfer window closed on the 5th of October, 2020. The focus of Executive Vice-Chairman from the list was Jadon Sancho who plied his trade with Borussia Dortmund in Germany, ignoring other possible targets or alternatives. The team missed out on players that could have been fit for purpose either short term or long term chasing one player that they didn’t eventually get.
Donny Van De Beek of Ajax who was mooted to sign for Real Madrid was drafted in along with Alex Telles from Porto before Edison Cavani (Free Agent) who was never up in the discussion followed suit. There was also a Facundo Pellestri, 18 who signed from Penarol, his home club in Uruguay and Amad Traore was also acquired from Atalanta in Italy but would be joining his United teammates in January, 2021.
It is pertinent to note that firing managers is no silver bullet for success, and while there are some that lack the tactical nous or technical ability to lead a club the Board and players too should face the heat for underperforming. The season started with a 3:1 loss at home to Crystal Palace. Expectedly they beat Luton 3:0 in a League Cup tie then hustled or struggled to beat Brighton 3:2 in the next fixture. To be honest United did not deserved to beat Brighton on the day let alone earning a draw. Brighton hit the woodwork 5 times in that game with a particular player (Leandro Trossard) hitting the bar 3 times. The League Cup game against Brighton was slightly better with a 3:0 win before Tottenham Hotspur pummelled them 6:1 in the league early October. A shambolic display within the period of the start of the League in September till the International break of October, 2020.
Replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has come up more often than not but the young man will string 3 to 4 wins on the bounce and his job is safe again. Just look at the back to back wins against Newcastle (4:1) at Saint James’s Park in the League and P.S.G (2:1) away in France in the Champions League. I don’t know if it’s the players that decide to step up or it’s his pep talk that does the magic.
I still think the team needs a few personnel to fight for any form of silverware. I am not swayed by the recent display of the lads but I still remain a big FAN. Let’s see what the next fixtures against Chelsea, RB Leipzig and Arsenal will bring. I expect good results from at least 2 of these 3 games.
Manchester United till my dying day……………… till I am old and grey!!!
Retelling sports with a goal in mind.