Over £150 million spent on bringing in new players in this summer transfer window just goes to show how desperate we are to bring in world class players to United. Last year’s disaster under the helm of David Moyes showed the whole world how far behind in quality United’s squad was compared with the likes of Chelsea and City. Surely our squad didn’t become shit over night? Even after a successful transfer window in which United have acquired some quality players there is still a long way to go before we catch up with other title contenders in terms of depth and quality. The question is why and how have we let ourselves get left so far behind in the race? How have we gone from playing three champions league finals in four years to finishing seventh in the league? Let’s line up the usual suspects and see how much blame each one of them shoulders.
David “The Chosen One” Moyes
When you think of a fall guy to blame for the disaster that was the 2013/2014 season the first person that comes to mind is David Moyes. Handpicked by outgoing manager Sir Alex Ferguson after his 25 year tenure as Manchester United manager few people expected David Moyes to pick up where the legendary Scotsman left off. Moyes was always going to take time to adjust to the surroundings of Manchester United, a much bigger club than any he had ever been at before but no one expected him to be how shit he was either. (Well maybe some of you did, but you get the point right?) He surely was something special as he managed to take the reigning champions and made them forget how to play football (not that everything was his fault). David Moyes recently claimed that he wanted to sign Bale,Febregas and Ronaldo during the summer transfer window of 2013. We all saw how that ended, United signed Fellaini on deadline day and even managed to overpay for him. Moyes’s tendency to put out defensive teams throughout the season was hard to watch at times. Being spoiled by years of watching Sir Alex’s sides going into matches knowing that they could win under the most difficult of odds didn’t help ease the discomfort of how negative united were at times. Multiple records broken and countless depressing performances. The Manchester United squad of last season was indeed getting older and lacking quality in certain areas of the pitch but it was definitely a squad that should have done much better than finishing 7th. A man without a footballing philosophy David Moyes was the living embodiment of Tactical Naivety.
Ed “Money In The Bank” Woodward
The man has done wonders for his reputation amongst the clubs fans this summer window by somehow managing to sign two elite players of the game in the form of Falcao and Angel Di maria along with 4 more signings. Even managing to ship out players like Nani,Buttner,Bebe,Hernandez and Cleverley in the process. The man who advised the Glazer family during their takeover has shown much improvement since his first transfer window. In the previous two windows he failed miserably to provide sufficient backing in the transfer window for David Moyes. Albeit Moyes’s main targets were quite un-realistic Woodward should have done much better in acquiring the fall back targets. Chasing targets like Cesc Febregas publicly, briefing the media about each and every target and managing to somehow pay £27 million for Fellaini. How could I forget the curious case of Ander Herrera and the Three Stooges? Without a doubt the highlight of that Transfer Window. Woodward’s shortcomings more than confirmed that our season was doomed from the start. Woodward does a brilliant job in the commercial side of things and is largely credited with being the man behind the clubs current financial status but he has a lot to learn when it comes to the footballing side of the club. Even though this summer window has been a relatively successful one there are still hints that Ed Woodward has a lot to learn. Some may argue that there seems to be a lack of strategy in acquiring transfer targets as some important holes are still left in the squad. Maybe we do need to appoint a director of football?
The Glazer Family
Since the 2005 takeover the Glazer Family have been leeching money out of the club with close to £700m of the clubs money spent in interest, fees, bank charges and debt repayments. Money which could have been invested in bringing quality players to the club. 2009 saw the departure of Ronaldo for £80million and Carlos Tevez for free. This was arguably the end of the last “Great” United side under Sir Alex. Let’s not forget we would also go on to lose Owen Hargreaves to injury. The Sheikh’s of City were dumping huge amounts of money into the club and buying top players without the luxury of being a club of huge stature while the Glazers were busy lining their pockets. Years of Manchester United PLC taking precedence to Manchester United Football Club has resulted in United losing out on the top quality players of the world. United are stuck with players such as Ashley Young starting while the likes of Chelsea can bring on a player like Willian from the bench.
Sir Alex Ferguson
It’s hard to criticize a man who has brought so much success to the club we all love. The man is an absolute legend, The greatest manager ever. Period!! Sir Alex was the ultimate squad builder and he always claimed that he was always looking to build for the future. It was a thing of beauty to watch him rebuild united time and time again effortlessly. So why did he leave such a weak and unbalanced side for David Moyes? After losing the title to city in the final day of 2011/2012 season it was quite clear that city’s spending power was slowly taking their squad out of our reach with regards to quality. Yes, we did only lose out on the title by goal difference but the gap was clearly there to be seen. The United squad was getting older and city were adding world class talent to their squad each transfer window. The summer transfer window needed to be a big one and with the early acquirement of Shinji Kagawa it looked set to pan out that way. It seemed that the club had a plan to spend big and to fill out the holes in the squad. Linked with players such as Eden Hazard, Lucas Moura and Wesley Sneijder it looked like we were finally looking to fill those gaps in our midfield. None of those moves materialized and in the end Sir Alex decided to go for the title by making a stop gap signing in the form of Robin Van Persie instead. Let’s not forget the RVP signing is the main reason why Kagawa had to spend so much of his united career playing out wide. Maybe Sir Alex knew he was retiring at the end of the season and wanted to go out on top ? Or maybe he thought he still had time to build a foundation for his successor? I am not even going to bother going into detail about how United replaced Ronaldo with Antonio Valencia, Tevez with Michael Owen and Owen Hargreaves with no one. Does Tom Cleverley count? Was it a case of the Glazers not backing him ? Or did Sir Alex just decide that midfielders are obsolete based on his vast management experience? Surely it was because there was “No Value in the Market”.
The damage has been done from 2008-2014 and now this is the time to mend those damages. Louis Van Gaal is the man tasked with doing just that and closing the gap and returning the club to “acceptable” standards. If one thing is for certain after his first transfer window in charge, he is a name that can attract the players of the quality that we require and are desperately in need of. Be it Van Galacticos or whatever Louis Van Gaal is adding the elite level of players that we are desperately in need of to bridge the gap in quality between us an the other super powers of English and European football. The Dutchman has surely made his intent clear at this point of his United career. Taking us back to where we belong, the pinnacle of English and European football.
The question is can he do it ? Leave us your opinion, Who do you think deserves to shoulder the most blame for the decline of Manchester United ? David Moyes for being a shit coach ? Ed Woodward for screwing up the most important transfer window in the clubs history ? Sir Alex for forgetting all managers are not him and midfielders are required in order to play football ? Or The Glazer Family for not investing enough in the club ?