Football is a team sport and the beauty of the game revolves around teamwork. However, once in a while some essential people emerge and become an integral part of the team and gradually the team begins to rely on that particular person’s performances for their success.
There have been several cases that the departure of certain players or managers has affected the team’s performances for some time or in some cases for a prolonged period. Let’s take a look at five such instances when a team never remained the same after the departure of some of its integral personnel.
1. Manchester United (post-Ferguson era)
Whenever it comes to a team losing its lustre in the modern days, the first example that comes to our mind are the Red Devils. Not so long ago, Manchester United were regarded as one of the strongest clubs in European football under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson. Ferguson took over the reins of the club in 1986 and gradually developed them into one of the best clubs in English as well as European football.
The Scot went on to stay at the club for nearly three decades before hanging his boots at the end of United’s victorious 2012-13 season. Under Fergie, the Red Devils won lots of silverware which included 13 League Titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 2 Champions League Titles and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2008.
When Sir Alex left the club in 2013, Manchester United still had a number of quality players like Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie. However, under new manager David Moyes, United had a very disappointing 2013-14 season as they ended 7th in the league and subsequently missed out on European qualification.
As a result of the team’s poor performances, David Moyes was sacked and was replaced by Dutchman Louis van Gaal. Silverware eluded the Red Devils in the 2014-15 season as well as they ended fourth in the league despite the additions of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao to their lineup. Their only consolation was a spot in the Champions League.
The current season has again been disappointing for Louis van Gaal’s side as they have ended 5th in the League. Furthermore, they were humiliated in Europe as a group stage elimination from the Champions League was followed by another swift exit from the Europa League at the hands of bitter rivals Liverpool. Their sole consolation has been winning the FA Cup. However, it’s a huge mountain to climb to regain their form during Fergie’s days.