At the moment Manchester United supporters continue to grasp for some reason for this “sudden” decline. There has been much finger pointing and blame, but very few answers and I would say that there is no easy answer for this.
The Glazers, Ed Woodward, and David Moyes are all very easy scapegoats, but much harder questions need to be asked of the players and, dare I say it, Sir Alex Ferguson. However dire the state of the club with the Glazers in charge, they have bankrolled some massive transfers. Even Ed Woodward has managed to bring in players despite his supposed ineptitude.
The first thoughts that come to mind about the current state of the squad are that there can only be one person to blame. While he may have brought decades of success and a cult of personality that continues to this day, Sir Alex Ferguson must bear the brunt of this epic collapse.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything that he did for the club, but he is not infallible. In many ways it is his success that has blinded the Red Devils faithful as well as himself. The Class of 92 made everyone think youth was the road to success for the club forever and always. However, it seems that this course was followed blindly. Now the club has been left with far too many young potentially good players mixed with far too many busts.
Sure, there are some very good players in that team, but where were the replacements for Fergie’s Fledglings? Also, don’t forget that these young players were interspersed with high quality veterans such as Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole, and Dwight Yorke.
This brings us to the problems with the current group of players. There are some high quality players in this squad and some world class players, especially with Angel Di Maria joining. The problem is that there are still far too many decent players who never reached their potential.
These players are good enough to play for United because, well, because they play for United! At one point in time these players were picked to continue their progression through the teams at Manchester United and there was a reason for it. What these players need is that belief that led them to a Premier League title just two years ago.
So what exactly is missing? In my opinion it is a matter of heart, or the current lack of it. The loss of Roy Keane has not yet been replaced and the same can be said of Sir Alex. Both were men that carried this club and neither can ever truly be replaced.
There is every chance that Loius van Gaal can become a legendary United manager, but for now, he is in the interim. He is the man tasked with helping this club find their footing and rebuild this squad. It is far too early to jump to any conclusions one way or the other.
The thing that is truly missing is that driving force in midfield. This team is crying out for a leader to push them and more specifically someone in the center of the pitch that can carry the ball and carry the team.
My own personal opinion is that Wayne Rooney could be this man. He is a contentious figure and one whose selfishness could ultimately be his undoing, but it is this same selfishness that could make him a legend. If he could be trained to be that driving midfield force like Roy Keane once was then there may be hope. I know that is a crazy idea, but it is one that I think he is more than capable of doing (and not just in Football Manager).
As I sat writing this I was also half watching the youth of Manchester United, the future of the club, get taken apart by the League One side MK Dons in the Capital One Cup. It was a match that underlines nearly everything gone wrong at the moment. No leadership on the pitch. Little in the way of spirit or desire to win. Individual mistakes. An broken and toothless attack.
At this point in time there is little for United fans to be hopeful for except that we can hope this is the bottom and we can only go up from here. Yet again, we thought the same thing at the end of last season.
So, what is there for United fans to be hopeful for?
I am still hopeful that LvG will stamp his authority on this squad and forge a team from the fire that will challenge for the top. Bringing in Angel Di Maria does provide some hope and I also believe it will bring with it a change in tactics. Do not be surprised to see them begin lining up with something closer to a 4-4-2, particularly if Rojo can get his work permit cleared and/or Luke Shaw returns to full fitness.
This is a club that now has a driving force for a manager and there is a chance that he can re-inspire this team to its lofty winning ways. Also, there are always the press conferences to look forward to, even if we don’t win.
Let me know what you think. What can be done to help this team?