Where Has It All Gone Wrong For United?
By Jack Chapman
There is so much to be said for Manchester United’s dreadful season so far isn’t there?
1st round third round FA Cup knockout to Swansea City shortly followed by United’s eighth loss this season in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi final at Sunderland. So much to say for their inability to consistently win a game of football that it has sparked further debate on where it all went wrong? The past 20 years has seen United fans showered in glory from the footballing heavens, much in contrast to the forecast drought lying ahead.
Explanations there are a plenty, five home defeats halfway through a season is certainly hard to swallow with the reasons and opinions certain to be at the forefront of any football debate right now. In fact, before we hear about the great form of league leaders Arsenal and Manchester City’s ability to score with their legs tied together, we hear about United’s severe dip in form since Sir Alex Ferguson left and David Moyes took over. This really does show the size and expectation of a club like Manchester United but also emphasizes the shadow the Red Devils have cast over their opposition over the years.
So, where did it all go wrong? I don’t think anyone truly knows, certainly not Moyes. A squad that won the league last season by 11 points are now struggling to stay in a European competition. A huge fan base divided between the opinion of ‘Moyes Out’ and calling for patience are now bickering in pubs, estates, message boards and Facebook. It’s now clear to see the fans that once lauded the ‘United Philosophy’ of giving a manager time have now already grown impatient and calling for Moyes to stand down and playing the blame game.
So, was Moyes wrong to drop the coaching team already in place and implement his own? I absolutely believe so, for the sake of the clubs/players rituals and training. No need to reinvent the wheel here, United are Premier League Champions remember, it is hardly necessary for a reshuffle in the training department.
So, was Marouane Fellaini the signing United needed to bolster the midfield? So far, no.
Is the current squad good enough? No.
Was the summer transfer window a success? Don’t make me laugh. The summer transfer dealings were about as good as Michael Owen commentating a football match. Not only did United fail to bring in the top midfielder they have needed for the past three years but it made Ed Woodward look like an absolute amateur.
Is Moyes the exotic, charming, foreign manager in which the press have come to love? Of course he is, he’s from near Glasgow in Scotland don’t you know? I hear they make great managers there.
Hearing Darren Fletcher’s interview after the Swansea match was heartbreaking after recognizing the boo sections from the home support, but adding that the players did get strength from noticing the unfaltering support and applause from the Stretford End. Truth is that a lot of the hardcore faithful can no longer afford going to the games now after the recession, ticket prices going up and the break off of the FC United rebellion after the Glazer family take over. The foundation in which the club has been built on has been compromised with day trippers and the ‘Prawn Sandwich Brigade’ as Roy Keane famously labelled them. Sure enough these touted ‘Glory Hunters’ are the ones who don’t remember what it was like in the 1980’s and years prior during United’s struggle for success.
Yes, there is a lot to be disappointed about for United fans and it is easy to jump on the band wagon of ‘we should have done this’ and ‘Moyes should be doing that’, but at the end of the day United fans have prided themselves on the fact that Manchester United Football Club is not a sacking club. Of course we all need a moan and we love to do that over a pint or behind a keyboard but in the words of Sir Alex Ferguson ’Stand by your manager’.
That is exactly what I intend to do just in hope that Moyes buys an influential midfielder and Ed Woodward gets lost in an airport somewhere, maybe the same airport he was last seen at when he had to leave United’s pre-season to attend ‘urgent transfer business’.
The answer has to be that if you can’t support United when times are rough then don’t be cheering for them later when they start winning again.