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08 Jan 2018 14:24:15
I was just reading the Manchester Evening News. It gave a list of SAF's signings subsequent to the 2008 Champions League triumph:

Dimitar Berbatov, Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen, Gabriel Obertan, Mame Biram Diouf, Chris Smalling, Javier Hernandez, Bebe, David de Gea, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell, Robin van Persie, Angelo Henriquez, Alexander Buttner and Wilfried Zaha.

Other than de Gea, was there one world class star who one might have envisaged having a long illustrious career at United? Compound that with his disastrous choice of Moyes as his successor, whose inappropriateness led to LVG, and these two manager's inept signings and you have where we are.

Whether his poor transfer record during the latter stages of his career was as a result of his own parsimony, his inability to adapt to a more modernist and international style coaching techniques, an unwillingness to be taken advantage of by agents, financial strictures courtesy of the Glazer's LBO debt, or just sheer arrogance, or a combination of all of five is a matter for conjecture, but an honest assessment of his illustrious career requires that it should not be swept under the
rug. As a man paid to speak about business and motivation at places like Harvard Business School, isn't it the case that the final lesson of his career is that without the right combination of recruitment of young talent, letting go of the old before its past sell by date, and the adoption of new advanced techniques, any business will become moribund, stale and die.

Agree9 Disagree8

08 Jan 2018 15:00:07
He won 3 more league titles after 08, he also took us to 2 CL finals which we lost to arguably the greatest club side this side of the war.
What point are you trying to make with this? Some of them did turn out to be duds but you can’t deny the mans legacy at the club because he had a few transfer flops.

08 Jan 2018 15:32:06
Good post Shaw but Fergi somehow managed to keep pulling rabbits out of hats which papered over the cracks.

With the strength of the premier league and the emergence of teams such as Spurs and L'pool performing on a more consistent basis without significant investment even Fergi would have struggled to compete. I guess we'll never know if the lack of investment during his formative years was due to constrictions placed upon him by the Glazer regime or his unwillingness to pay big transfer fees, agents and wages etc.

I always judged Fergi by how well we competed in Europe and after two drubbings by Barcelona in 2009 and 2011 he certainly didn't do enough to keep us at that level. Those defeats should have been a kick up the back side and we should have witnessed significant investment sadly this never happened or was ever likely to happen given most of the names on your list.

08 Jan 2018 16:49:48
Shawthing, what is your point? When you consider some of the players we already had during that time it becomes clear that maybe we didn’t need a overhaul between 2008-2011/ 2. We had VVD, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Hargreaves, Scholes, Nani, Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez. Admittedly Ronaldo left in 2009 and to be honest there was no player bar maybe Messi who we could have signed to replace him. We bought players such as Smalling, Jones. DDG and Powell who were supposed to be ones for the future, sadly atm only DDG has worked out as hoped. The other three have had issues staying fit. Zaha was supposed to be another in that category but that didn’t work out either. Valencia, Young, Berbatov, Kagawa and van Persie were all top players either in our league or in Germany when we signed them, they were at good ages and have had varying levels of success. The rest were squad fillers (Obertan, Buttner or Diouf) or calculated risks such as Owen, Hernandez or Bebe. Most didn’t work out but considering we signed all those players for less than 20m if one or or two did, great, if not then we should be able to recoup at least what we paid for them.
Sadly most of those signings failed to hit the heights and in hindsight we might have been better of signing half as many but investing more in higher quality players. But that's the advantage of hindsight.
I think towards the end of Sir Alex’s reign everyone knew he would be leaving either this year or within the next couple, with that in mind I can understand why the club might have been reluctant to spend big on a player who might not be wanted by the next manager. Subsequently we have had three new managers and each of them have signed a club record signing during their time (Mata, Di Maria and Pogba), which I think backs up the idea that the club didn’t want to spend big during Sir Alex’s final couple of seasons.

Maybe the club should have approached him before and ushered him out the door earlier if keeping him in the job was restrictive to the growth of the club. However if they had done that after all Sir Alex had done for the club the supporters would have been up in arms. You need to show respect to a manager who has given so much to the club, surely he had earned the right to go out on his terms? Sadly that meant the club maybe couldn’t or at least was reluctant to invest heavily in a team being built by someone who would soon depart.

08 Jan 2018 17:19:36
*VDS obviously. lol.

08 Jan 2018 18:06:52
Just about to post something similar . But shorter.

08 Jan 2018 18:19:31
SAF was clearly a great, probably the greatest manager, of all time as far as British football is concerned. His record speaks for itself. His ability to get the most out of his resources is beyond dispute. What he accomplished at Aberdeen was amazing, and how he managed to win that 20th championship was perhaps the greatest achievement of all. Nothing can ever take any of that away and United fans should be for ever grateful for him, and honour him accordingly. But let's not make him a God. Even the greats have their weaknesses, and, in my opinion, SAF's weakness was that he was ultimately unable to adapt to the transition from a league that was essentially populated by players of British descent to a truly international one. Danny Lancs mentions the two drubbings by Barcelona and the reaction, or lack of it. That sums it up to me. Whatever the reason for the lack of response is up to conjecture, however one of the possibilities to be considered is that Ferguson didn't have the tactical ability to contend with that level of performance.

Shappy, as for the lack of need to invest because of the quality of the existing players, I can't agree. The fact is that the squad was getting older and each player that went past his best was never replaced with equal quality. One of the greatest of all management skills is to recognize when a player has passed their prime within the context of the growth and reinvention of the team. Clough and Taylor were excellent at this, and SAF himself showed himself adept when he sold Beckham and Van Nistelrooy. But that process stopped, and instead he began to rely more and more on an aging core of players, bequeathing to his successor a poisoned chalice. Giggs, Scholes, Keane, Ronaldo, Tevez etc were never replaced adequately. I think he knew exactly what was going to happen but he was not prepared to see his own reputation suffer by adopting the one principle he had previously lived by: giving youth a chance.

08 Jan 2018 18:31:02
Good post shappy.
The squad he left behind was full of aging players rvp Rio vidic evra carrick Rooney fletch giggs the squad was filled out with some mentioned above and some remain today in young Jones smalling carrick ddg valencia.

08 Jan 2018 20:06:15

Some excellent points

One of the strong attributes of SAF was that he built great teams and then rebuilt them. After Ronaldo left in 2009 you could see the start of the decline. Yes, he was impossible to replace, yet we made almost no effort to do so. When our team cried out for investment SAF brought Scholes out of retirement. SAF watched his great players age, Rio, Giggs, Neville and Scholes yet when players like Aguero and Hazard became available there was no value in the market. We can argue the cause, for me part Glazernomics and part SAF getting to the point where he didn’t feel able to build another team and didn’t want to be the one to make more tough decisions.

However, did he really earn the right to go out on his own terms? Are people really saying SAF was bigger than the club, more important than the continuity of the club’s success? Adulation is one thing but he was ultimately an employee of the club and should have been worked with to ensure succession went smoothly, the lack of that transition brought major problems. No matter how much we love SAF for all he did, he should have had the same respect as other employees of the club, great players, but the club should come first, it’s success and continuity. By not doing that we only show there is too much emotion in decision making.

08 Jan 2018 20:09:08
Shappy - I think Shaw makes a fair point to be honest mate. That list makes pretty grim reading and the Ronaldo money was never really invested back into the Club. A lot of those players you've mentioned E VDS, Evra, Neville, Rio, Giggs, Scholes etc were nearing the end of their careers, the likes of Smalling and Jones were brought into replace them but didn't have the same quality and more importantly couldn't stay fit, Hargreaves was never fit and don't forget we lost Tevez the same year as Ronaldo.

Fergi was getting the best out of what he had and doing an amazing job with some ageing stars, home grown players and squad fillers. I think what Shaw meant was that when he retired he left a squad bereft of any real quality and ageing stars perhaps now past their best. There can be no argument that during that time there was a significant lack of investment in the squad and surely you spend whilst at the top.

I wonder how much money City spent in that same period? They've not stopped and are still outspending us today.

We rested on our laurels and didn't invest to try and allow us to compete with the likes of Barca! I can't believe for one minute that Fergi wasn't hurting following those defeats and didn't want to try and improve the squad. From memory we had relatively straightforward draws into both finals and maybe our team wasn't quite as good as we thought it was!

In my opinion we didn't adequately replace Ronaldo or Tevez and the investment in the squad from that summer until Fergi retired simply wasn't there!

We didn't appoint the right man to succeed Fergi and to compound matters we didn't back him in the transfer market either our only signing being Fellaini in a panic induced deadline day disaster!

Is it any wonder we have struggled so much in the last few years!

08 Jan 2018 21:01:04
Very interesting topic and opinions guys.

When we won the league and champions league double in 2008 we were not only the best team in England but the best in Europe in my opinion; a balance of pace, movement, flair, solidity and leadership that was unmatched in my view. But for certain reasons we allowed ourselves to decline, initially to a team that was still in for the big titles but started to play some uninspiring football, eventually to one that often plays uninspiring football and isn't truly in for the two biggest titles, as it is now. A combination of glazernomics and latter-day Fergie at his stubborn worst started this off in my opinion.

Still goes down as the greatest football manager in history for me and a man I would love to meet one day.

08 Jan 2018 21:26:35
It's nearly 5 year since fergy left that's a huge amount of time in a players career.
We are going back 5 transfer windows 10 including January windows .
We have bought 23 first team players in that time plus rash kean lingard foush etc come through .
Ronaldo and tevez left nearly 9 year ago . Tevez because he struggled for a game after we blew 30 mil on Berb.

Living a wee bit in the past here.

08 Jan 2018 21:43:08

5 years.
Giggs played for 24 years for the club
Rio, 12 years
Gary Neville, 19 years
Scholes, 20 years

Is 5 years a “huge” amount of time?

The point is that these were key players we let retire around the same time and did not replace satisfactorily. The king is dead, long live the king, except at United where we wallow in emotion and ignore Glazernomics.

08 Jan 2018 21:52:36
Can't argue with any of that Rave!

For those bemoaning Jose pragmatism just remember that it was Fergi that left Tevez, Berba and Scholes on the bench in a Champions League final against a team that had Ya Ya Toure at CB.

After that humbling defeat we lost Ronaldo and Tevez and didn't replace them. We didn't make another significant signing until we got RVP. Looking back it amazes me how we wasn't all up in arms and yet we still reached another Champs League final! I still can't decide if we didn't spend because of constraints on the Club from the Glazers or Fergi's insistence there was no value in the market! Red Man quite rightly points out Hazard and Aguero make a mockery of that statement. I don't think we'll ever really know.

This isn't an anti Fergi post the man was a genius and the way he built team after team was remarkable I'm just saying that I think there was a real lack of investment in the team from 2009 onwards hence the position we find ourselves in today.

Jred - We have to look into our past to understand our future.

08 Jan 2018 22:11:32
It shows how difficult out is to get the right player at the right time and to have the coach and system to get the best out of any new signing. Also how difficult it is to assess if a player will settle or be overawed or if he is only coming for the money.
As jred has said 23 players in. Very few if any bad players. But you ciuld argue that very few have come in from those 23 that have truly excelled and won our hearts with their play. None jump out as real leaders.
Some of the 23 flopped completely for loads of reasons morgan Bastian falcao di maria varela (ibra This season) depay miki.
Some have come in and done ok at times but not commanded a regular start for again many reasons I would include blind fellaini Romero darmian none appear to have a long term future with the club any longer.

Then there is a group in that 23 that have played very well at times and make a consistent positive contribution but there are doubts I wiuld suggest on their futures with the club for again many reasons mata shaw rojo herrera fall into this category imo. But all could easily be kept. The ball is in their court.

Then imo there is a final group from the 23 players signed that look like they will be the corner stone of the squad cooing forward bailly lindelof matic pogba martial lukaku plus academy graduates rash jessie mctominay tuanzabe tfm gomes. A few experienced heads like ddg young valencia jones or smalling and mata and shaw along with 5 or 6 new signings would be ideal.
So i would expect out of the 23 players signed to date that a maximum of 8 of those will be in the squad in 2 windows time and 5 of those 8 will have been signed by jose.

08 Jan 2018 22:23:58
Jred, I'm living in the now, which enables me to respond to you without a Tardis.

Yes, we're in the 5th year since Fergie resigned, but the first three were under the stewardship of Moyes, his hand picked successor, and then LVG, the replacement of desperation. Ferguson's shadow is only now starting to recede.

The point of this analysis was to give a realistic perspective on the problems Mourinho has had to encounter as the manager of United. Clearly some of the difficulties have had nothing to do with SAF and are as a result of the club structure itself.

Suffice it to say, for whatever reason you care to come up with, as far as football is concerned, City have taken over the Manchester mantle. The way things are going it will not be too long before they catch up with us as far as revenues are concerned too. Their business plan is well thought out and executed, while providing great entertainment value I watched some of their goals against Burnley in the cup. Gundogan, another player linked with us for years, was fantastic. Silva is always brilliant. Rio himself, a United man through and through, recently said they're the best team on the planet.

08 Jan 2018 22:24:53
Ken I really like your last sentence! I think Jose's signings have been really good. Ok maybe Miki hasn't quite worked and Lindelof has had a tough start but in general he's bought well. I think given the right backing he'll put a really strong team together over the next few windows. History will tell us he doesn't last longer than 3 years at any Club so hopefully we'll see him buck this trend. If not he'll leave the Club in a much better position than he found it with players such as Bailly, Pogba and Lukaku forming the spine for the next manger.

08 Jan 2018 22:52:31
Danny maybe taking over a team that came a disappointing 5th when he took over which was level points with city, then spending 300 million in two year on 7 internationals and saying he will leave us better than he found us isn't the Everest of achievements in football management.

09 Jan 2018 00:31:34
Considering he won 2 trophies last season and we sit 2nd in the table, he’s not done too bad.

Back José ooossh.



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