7 reasons for the decay at Manchester United
The All-English line up of Liverpool and Tottenham in the Champions League final and Chelsea and Arsenal in the Europa League final shows two things - how deeply Manchester United have fallen and that a billion pounds in, money still can't buy Manchester City the holy grail of trophies.
For sure the Arab money has skewed the market and the rest of the field has been struggling to compete financially. But then, attention should also be directed towards the brilliant work of Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy in North London. Not a single penny spent in 2 transfer windows. Yet they have a brilliant new Spurs stadium, a Champions League final spot, as also a European night comeback that will shine in perpetuity. They are the ones who challenge Manchester City and Liverpool on a consistent basis in the league. Manchester United meanwhile has been conspicuous by absence in that fight for far too long.
Things have gone so bad since 2013, that the look of sadness on the face of Sir Alex Ferguson in the stands is too much to take. Imagine the pain of the greatest ever club manager on seeing his decades of work being withered away and his philosophies diluted. The great Scot who inspired his team thus
"All those lads you see going to the factory in Trafford Park, they come to watch you on Saturday. They have boring jobs, so you have to give them something they will enjoy.”
It is difficult for a child to fall in love with football by looking at Manchester United play right now. Manchester United still have the high ground of not being propped up by oil money and blatant Financial Fair Play violations. And may they long continue to have it. But, they have also become a banter club, one that has become meme fodder for the unforgiving internet. It will take a lot of things to change for Manchester United to be back in contention domestically at first. As for Europe, it is just a channel away but the gulf is too huge currently. The rot is systemic. It is in desperate need of gentle care but also of a violent purge. Here are 7 issues that are holding Old Trafford back.
When you want to know how things really work, study them when they're coming apart. Manchester United are coming apart. The players have stopped believing. The Red Devils used to be dangerous when coming from behind in a football match.
Lethal in counter, potent in possession. Resolute in defence, free-flowing in mid-field. They had strikers who could assist and captains who would play with a punctured lung. Winning is a habit that the current lot has been weaned off. That’s why open goals are bungled, back passes are fumbled, throw-ins are aimless and corners are brainless.
The psyche is not there to run, win, dribble or dominate. United are always trailing, even when they are ahead. Winning seems an anomaly and tepid performances the norm.