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Football News: The Weakness of the Manchester United Way

The Weakness of the Manchester United Way
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Even though I respect the 'United Way' (which has been compared positively to the values of the 'Real Madrid Way'), there remains a fundamental weakness in it, which is, that sustained periods of success are separated by even longer periods of winning-nothing seasons.

All that leaves supporters with is the moral high ground from which we / they preach about organic growth, youth policy and playing style. That's fine it that's enough, but in the sad new age of instant gratification (where the journey no longer matters), overseas investment and managers / players becoming ever more mercenary, the chances are that the model or philosophy may never work again.

It wasn't just a case of having the right players coming through, but the right guiding manager to nurture them. It's why so many fans cry out now for Pochettino. He is the manager that to my mind at least is the closest thing going to a Sir Alex or a Sir Matt.

The reality is that the romantic notion of the 'United Way', and to a large degree Sir Busby and Sir Alex's success, is bound statistically to the possibility of a crop of local young players emerging and bonding together. We had Fergie's fledglings before the class of '92. They didn't hit the heights that many hoped Russell Beardsmore and co. would, nevertheless, they were loved because they were the 'United Way'. I've no doubt other batches of players will emerge as a group in time, but being a good enough group may mean a much longer wait if that is a key part of our strategy.

I would be curious to see if Sir Alex were still manager if the current crop of young players coming through (and there are plenty) would be given their own collective name? Supporters knew Sir Alex would develop them. The current players will never get such a name under Jose as he's not a long term thinker, strategist or despite his claims, depender upon youth. Ironically he doesn't appear to be anything other than trouble at the moment, but that's not the thrust of this post.

So, United are between the wolf and the cliff edge. The board will never willingly enter a road that may leave the club some 20 to 30 years without a major trophy. No trophies erodes the franchise image, even if still maintaining top four. The board may find themselves on such a road through incompetence, but that's a different matter. The above economic fallout will ruin Manchester United commercially (some may say hooray) and will foster a generation where past successes will be so far away that they'll be largely forgotten barring those who have a generational link to the club.

As such we can appreciate why the club has little choice but to change managers far more regularly. Its a toxic balance sheet and investor call that worries the Glazers, not so much a fanbase that damages the #mufc hashtag. It's not too far removed to believe the Directors box has images of directors pictured next to the trading share price instead of captain's holding trophies aloft.

This to my mind is how United will be for the foreseeable future folks. More Gary Neville rants, born from his own statistically fortunate opportunity to be part of United's golden era. Funny thing is, I don't hear many United players from the 70's or 80's agreeing with him. We endured atrocious managers and were Gary playing for them then he may not have been so vociferous in their support when they were sacked.

So football is now not quite so much about having the right manager as it is having the right owner. The question is, does a potential owner that typifies the 'United Way' exist? Certainly not in Saudi. Wealthy, astute, patient, great judge of manager, nurturing and a lover of free-flowing football is United's utopian owner. If this person does not exist the question is, what would supporters be willing to compromise upon? Saudi financed trophies? Real Madrid's ruthless approach to managers? Or nothing that gets in the way of the 'United Way'?

Written by Timbo October 31 2018 19:13:34


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