Manchester United banter 80670

 

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30 Sep 2018 00:01:46
Our club was a leader but it failed to keep up with the changes. The first major change was the internationalization of the players, (in 1999 we had no player, other than Yorke, who was from outside northern Europe), and the second was the internationalization of the managers and tactics. The best comparison is with England of the post war years. There was an arrogance about the FA with regard to English football: we invented the game, we were the best and we needed no advice or input from a load of foreigners. First we lost to the USA in the 1950 world cup and then we were shown up by Hungary who beat us 6-3 at Wembley, revealing just how tactically and technically inferior we were. Have we ever really recovered?

As good a manger as SAF was his teams disappointed in Europe. Only 2 trophies in how many attempts? Even then one could hardly say we won those finals playing spectacular football against Europe's best. In the first we eked out a United type win after having been completely outplayed for 89 minutes. In the second we pipped a fellow English team on pks. SAF was a manger built for English football and the dour working class roots upon which it was based. He was also a man of strong opinions and habits and like most people of that type they were both his strength and his weakness. His weakness because one way or another he failed to modernize the team allowing one great player after another to depart or pass his sell by date without replacing him with an equal. Whether this was because he a) was restricted by the club's limited budget as a result of debt service, b) unprepared to deal with the rise of the agents (preferring to deal with his son? ), or c) he just simply did not have the tactical nous, is a matter for speculation. But let's face it Chelsea under Mourinho generally had the upper hand against us.

I am not a fan of the Glazers. I believe the LBO and the consequent debt service did irreparable damage to the team. In Fergie's last years top player after top player went somewhere else. Why? And why is that we still seem unable to buy young talent and develop them, instead paying absolutely top whack for everyone, and then watching them disappoint, and then find ourselves unable to unload them because they are overpaid and not as good as they were hyped up to be. On top of that we have hired managers well past their best while other teams have looked to the future. Some wish to blame the current situation on the toxic fans, but I still think that's a cop out. The process started well before LVG, and has carried on since. The buck stops with the people who run the club. They are responsible for the hires and their timing and the transfers, and if they're confident in their decision making, they should stick with the plan even in the face of whatever toxic mix the fans throw their way. The problem is that they don't know how to run a football club.

Agree5 Disagree6

30 Sep 2018 00:22:27
Good post Shaw, you make some interesting points which I enjoyed reading mate.

30 Sep 2018 01:09:39
I agree with some of what you say here but no one can rule forever. Yes we belong at the top but do you honestly blame fergie for our current mess?! that's like saying englands current nightmare is churchills fault!

30 Sep 2018 06:10:44
Shaw, that’s a harsh overall view of SAF. Firstly, he won 3 European trophies, not 2 and in 1999 we rampaged through Europe. The final was a big disappointment but we were missing 2 of our best players and finals can be strange. The football we played through SAF’s time was often breathtaking, we brought a bunch of our own through and also bought and developed some real gems. Look at our overall performances in Europe and you will find some big wins and stunning performances. My personal favourite was the Roma 7-1 game.

I agree we should have won more in Europe, losing to mid ranking teams in Semi finals was hard to swallow. In 2004, Porto beat Monaco having got past us due to a very poor refereeing decision and a last minute goal. Where would Jose be now if our second goal had not been disallowed?

Where I do agree is that SAF sometimes got his tactics horrible wrong. The Barcelona finals are testament to that. And in his later years he did not buy well. jones and Smalling were the future but they now appear to have been poor buys. I’m not saying they are not ‘good’ players, but they are not Bruce, Pallister, Stam, Rio, or Vidic. He often referred to ‘no value in the market’ and that has to have been driven by the owners, I just can’t see that SAF would have worried about fees, he was a winner and wanted the best.

in terms of where we are now, since Woody we seem to have become star struck but it is clear that signing good players isn’t as simple as it might seem. We have signed some big names who haven’t worked out, and we have also made some poor short term decisions. David Gill was a huge loss and we have to yet adequately replaced him, if Jose does go I think we will continue to struggle until we have signed someone to replace Gill.

30 Sep 2018 08:09:29
Good rebuke AJH, whilst I enjoyed reading Shaw's post I agree he was harsh on SAF as you have so eloquently pointed out. Having said that I do remember the searing disappointment when we got knocked out of Europe. At times it felt like the season was over even though we often had the premier league wrapped up. Oh how spoilt we were!

Ed001 pointed me in the direction of a fascinating Twitter thread a few days ago regarding Utd's finances. They make for fascinating reading if you can find the thread. What immediately struck me was that in 2009 over 40% of turnover went on financing the debt which stood at over £100m per year. Around that time we sold Ronaldo who was never adequately replaced. It was around this time we also heard the immortal words "no value in the market". The debt obviously had a massive impact on transfers and its testimony to SAF genius that he kept us so competitive during this time. If it hadn't been for his genius the Glazer take over would have been an unmitigated disaster and had the Clubs performances and results dropped to the levels we have witnessed in recent years possibly put the Club at significant risk of bankruptcy. I often wondered why SAF toed the party line and didn't challenge the owners regarding spending as Mourinho has. Maybe he knew the Club was in grave danger who knows but servicing debt of over £100m a year was a colossus weight on the Clubs shoulders. The debt has now been reduced to 3% of turnover and interest payments are around £18m a year but it's still a significant amount of money taken from the Club just to service debt which was leveraged on the Club as a result of their takeover.

It is obvious that the owners have no footballing strategy for the business. They have been unable to fill the huge void left by SAF. There interest in Utd is financially motivated and they have no need or desire to see the Club succeed. The only time we have seen them panic or forced into any kind of action is when we have failed to qualify for the Champions League. They think in terms of revenue not results. Mourinho will not be fired in my opinion. They will be reluctant to pay off his contract and gamble on the fact that he can still finish in the top 4. Results in the next few weeks may dictate otherwise and force them into action but if Mourinho can steady the ship they'll wait and if he can finish 4th the season will be considered a success. If not they'll hit the panic button again.

The owners are a cancer at our Club which is slowly sucking the life out of us. They should never have been allowed to purchase the Club using a leveraged buy out and until they leave I fear we'll never find peace. Three well respected, highly decorated managers have all spectacularly failed perhaps we're missing the bigger picture.

30 Sep 2018 08:15:58
Very important point you make there AJH - the loss of David Gill. More significant than a lot on here realise, probably because they are too young to remember (I don't mean that in a sarcastic way, but there are a lot of young posters on here now) . Despite being a 'suit', Gill was also a football man and had a very good relationship with Fergie.
It was a huge loss to lose them at the same time.
People rightly point out that these days we are paying silly money for older players, but we shouldn't worry about the money etc and just spend what is needed.
But when SAF and Gill we at the club, I seem to remember we had a policy of not signing players over the age of 28 which meant there was always some longevity in any signing. The only significant signing that I can remember that broke that policy was what I saw as Fergie's leaving present - Robin van Persie.

30 Sep 2018 08:40:06
Was that policy forced upon them though Betty?

Juventus strike me as a sensible and well run Club, in recent years anyway yet they have just invested over £100m on a 33 year old?

You should never back yourself into stupid policies, having an overriding principle is fine but each transfer is unique and should be considered on its own terms.

People have short memories we were up in arms regarding transfers between 2009 - 2013. Back then it was about trying to topple Barcelona who had just humiliated us in two Champs League finals. We spent nothing, we were constantly told there was no value in the market. Maybe the financial results illustrate why. None of us could understand this bizarre argument but you can always find the answer if you look hard enough. Investment in the squad during this time boarded on the neglectful. The squad was allowed to age, SAF retired they appointed the wrong man in Moyes, they didn't back him either and the rest is history.

30 Sep 2018 08:59:41
DLIB, I agree in principle regarding the owners. But are they really to blame for the current situation? Ultimately, you are right about them being interested in money rather than results.
But the reality is that money has been spent, and huge amounts of it. Irrespective of what we all think of the Glazers, funds have been made available and we have invested heavily in players - and managers for that matter. By all accounts, they have not interfered with footballing decisions, name have allowed the 'management' tomtake care of things.
Unfortunately, the huge amounts of money spent have, in the main, been spent badly. We have a Mish mash of players put together by four different managers, each of whom had their own plans and ideas. We have consistently spent huge sums on 'names', and overpaid massively for most of them.
We are now in a situation where we are stuck with some of these flops because nobody else will pay them the same.

I honesty don't think that the owners biggest mistakes are a lack of investment - it's more a case of who they have entrusted to oversee that investment.
Woodward should not be anywhere near the football decisions synthetic club. It's mistake after mistake and the sooner a DoF comes in the better.

And I just want to make clear this does not mean I am defending, nor approve of the Glazers as owners. Nor does it mean that I am deflecting any blame away from Mourinho because I know everything is his fault :)

30 Sep 2018 09:16:49
That policy worked well for United for many years DLIB - and I think I am right in saying long before the Glazers took over.
Some of the signings we have made minor recent years have been nothing short of bonkers - Zlatan and Scweinsteiger in particular. I believe both were on wages of over 300 grand a week and for what? Remember bringing in new players is no longer just about transfer fees, but also has implications on over all wage budgets.
And we as fans may not like terms like ' no value in the market's or ' no sell on value's but there surely are, and should be relevant. It seems that all the other top teams are able, and happy to recruit younger players and develop them. Even sell them on at a profit. What do we do? Massively over pay for players and then have to vitally give them away to get rid of them.
To be fair, that is not entirely a new thing, it's just that the sums involved now are so much higher.

30 Sep 2018 09:37:45
You make an good argument Betty and perhaps you have a more balanced view than myself.

My point is investment was neglected during the latter stages of SAF career which in my opinion was directly related to the mind boggling debt saddled on the Club during this time. SAF worked miracles with his limited budget but City were always destined to take over if things continued in the same way. The squad aged, SAF retired and we had absolutely no contingency plan.

I can't argue that investment hasn't been made in the squad in recent years. In my opinion this has just compensated for the years of under investment. It has been spent in a reactionary way as a result of us falling out of the top 4 with no clear strategy.

In my cynical opinion the owners have little interest in delivering us titles or having a clear commitment and ambition to making us the very best. Their sole motivation is to increase the asset value of the Club and make themselves stinking rich on the back of a leveraged buy out which has disadvantaged the Club for over a decade. Winning is seen as the icing on the cake. Of course money will be invested but only to safeguard the brand and protect revenue streams and sponsorship opportunities not to win trophies. Our owners are shrewd business men and even they understand that a certain level of performance on the pitch must be maintained. Anyone who buys a Club using a leveraged buy out does my have the best interest of the Club at heart.

Maybe we should pay closer attention to what's happened to their American sporting franchises for a glimpse into our own future. I fear this will make things frightening clear. I sincerely hope I've got this so wrong!

30 Sep 2018 11:25:37
I certainly don't disagree that we failed to invest in SAF's later years. My point was more about rectuitment policy rather hen investment policy - though of course the two are very closely linked.
It seems a long time ago now that United were ' top dogs', but there was a great deal of complacency, even arragance in the way he club was being run. It was almost a case of them working on he basis that United would remain at the top just because we are United.
Since that was very quickly proved not to be the case, we have tried to throw money at the problem minutes a bid for short term success. Like you say - reactive rather than proactive.

The ironic thing is, the fans who made making the most noise about our current plight are the very ones who demand the instant success, the quick fixes.
Quick fixes are not going to solve this. The whole club needs a rethink and a restructure. We all know a DoF is wanted, and needed. A new manager is inevitable, and that in itself virtually guarantees the need for further, significant investment in new players as any new manager will have his own ideas and requirements.
Rightly, everyone is pointing to City and Liverpool as the new benchmark. But success hasn't come to them overnight either. Time and patience will be needed, and an acceptance from the fans that it will take time. Our biggest problem now is that a rebuilding job that started when SAF retired should have been completed by now. Instead, we will be on to our fourth attempted rebuild when Jose does go.
We will be coming from a worse starting point, and 7 wasted years later. Not to mention the hundreds of millions of wasted investment.
It really is one hell of a mess now.







 

 

 
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