Dear Jose: An open letter to Mourinho from a Manchester United fan
I am disappointed. Well, actually, millions of us are disappointed, and the fact that Manchester United did not win a trophy last season is the least of our worries.
When Manchester United announced your appointment two years ago, we felt driven with hopes of resurrection. The United legacy, the trophies, the dominance, were all about to return. It was an excited time to be a United fan.
Ever since Sir Alex retired, we were desperately seeking for assurance, seeking stability and direction. With your arrival, it seemed, we would at last be on the road to revival. And why not? With your indomitable spirit, your unconquerable desire to win, your unmatched trophy record, you demanded respect, you deserved adulation.
The first season was fruitful – 3 trophies to add to the trophy cabinet, but there were facets of your game which troubled the more traditional United faithful. But we chose to ignore – we were deprived of trophies for ages in United years, we were starved of success for longer than we were used to.
Yet, with every passing game, the clouds of doubt got stronger. Maybe the only reason people got up and took notice was because we did not win any trophies last season, but the signs were already up there since long.
For starters, what frustrates us most, is your stance with promoting youth. We at Manchester United are used to seeing young players break into the team since ages, it is something that is unique to the club and embedded in its roots.
We are used to seeing our Manager recruiting unknown lanky teenagers and turning them into the best in the world. Yet, since your inception at Old Trafford, we are yearning for you to do the same. We understand that your habit of choosing finished product over nascent talent is driven by your desire to win.
Yet that is only a local solution and does not have long term implications, unless you attach a raw individual with your experts, so that some of the skills and qualities are rubbed on. By doing so, you make your present warriors immortal.
With your years of experience, you could nurture fresh talent, guide them, show them the way and mould them into players of your liking. Can you imagine the endless possibilities that would unleash?
We also understand that you like winning, we all do. However, you prefer winning at any cost and it is another aspect of your management that we have not warmed up to. Parking the bus against oppositions, heaving the ball on to the penalty box to get a scrappy goal, we are not used to these tactics. How can such negative football get us anything good?
We cannot expect to win over Europe with such alarming display of defensive football. This is not the Manchester United way. Even if we lose, we wish to lose trying hard, playing open attacking football like the days of old. We are unable to indulge in this brand of football that you have tagged our beloved club with.
Please, sir, have a go, unleash the flood gates, let the boys take some risk. Do not burden the young attacking players with defensive responsibilities. Let them be free, let them glide over the patches of green and fulfill their potential.
I'm sure you are aware that we support Manchester United from various parts of the world. We work, we study, we sit for our academics, we strive through the week, some of us even through the weekends. Every single one of us is burdened with responsibilities, problems of our own.
In such a tiring life, Manchester United is our prime source of solace. Our 90 minutes of relief, our peace, our safe haven. Through the week we wait in anticipation for the matchday, encountering and enduring whatever life throws at us. Through the week, all around the world, millions of us wait for those 90 minutes and there’s only one wish on our minds – to have a good game.
Yes, winning definitely makes our days better, but it’s moments from the game – the breathtaking skills, the fascinating volleys, the exciting game play – that are etched in our memories forever. All we desire are beautiful memories from the beautiful game, in agony or in ecstasy.
We desire to be entertained, but the Manchester United under Jose Mourinho does not entertain. Mourinho’s United is an emotionless beast, devoid of feelings, a dry, hard cascade of professionals. It is no longer the Manchester United we cried for, we laughed with, and felt attached to, irrespective of distance.
Sir, strive for your perfection, fight for your trophies, but return us our United of old. Give us our many moments of a lifetime, let us cry, let us laugh, let us be excited. Help us wait through the week in anticipation and when you give those 90 minutes, make every minute seem like a lifetime. That is all we desire. The trophies, the accolades, the records will follow.
Despite everything, we still have our varied levels of trust in you. You only need to look within yourself and find the Red Devil in you.
A Manchester United fan