First of all I want to make it clear this thread has nothing to do with Jose in particular or the kind of football we play or the results this season. I have been thinking about the general direction our club is taking as we look towards the future. In 5 years time where do we see Utd in the footballing world? Will be in a better position, a similar position or a worse position to the one in which we currently are? Can we answer with absolute (or relative) certainty? If we look at the giants of the European game, Real Madrid, Barca, Juve, Bayern etc we can more or less say with certainty that they all will be in similar standings in the game as they are now (notwithstanding a short blip or a glorious period). This is because the structures of these clubs are vastly different to ours. They have a set pattern of the players they like to buy and the kind of football they expect to be served that maintains their status quo. We were pretty similar under SAF and in 2000 or 2007 we could have said pretty confidently that where we expect to see Utd in the next 5 years. But nowadays there isn't that kind of surety of excellence (or relative excellence) around our club. Yes we underwent an understandable blip once SAF retired but I think its a little deeper than that. Much of our immediate future seems to rest in the hands of our manager (whoever it may be at the given time). With SAF we knew we had someone who would be here for the long haul but after him, as many posters here are fond of repeating, we won't be seeing such a long serving manager again. So why are we still following the same kind of model we did when he was in charge? I'm not simply advocating a DOF because again for that position you need someone whom you trust completely and you know will be here for the long haul, because no matter how you paint it, with a DOF you are undermining the power of your manager and if you are gonna do that you absolutely have to be sure that guy is perfect for the job in every way. I look at our squad now and to me it does not guarantee future success. We have lots of brilliant young players but can we say with certainty that we are providing them the best platform in which to flourish? We demand instant success and if they fail to deliver, they end up being replaced by experienced players (eg Shaw by Young, Martial by Sanchez). But the problem is our experienced players are all near or above 30. When we look back at our most successful teams (1999 or 2008) we will find we had players relatively young in age (The CO 92 in the former and Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez) but not so young in experience well supplemented by wiser experienced pros. The reason that even at ages 24, 25 they were all much more seasoned than you would expect is because they were all regularly played at young ages, even when they under performed. I know at that time we had the luxury of having older match winners around which we don't at present but the only solution is to persist with the likes of Rashford, Martial, Pogba, Shaw etc and let them make mistakes. They will learn and grow and become top quality players. We may not win much in the next couple of years but we surely will be flourishing 3-4 years down the line. Otherwise if we keep demanding instant success and replacing players and managers if we don;t get it, we are gonna end nowhere. Not only is the belief in young players essential to this, but we also need people at the top (footballing people) who are ready to persist with this. The hierarchy needs to be able to trust the players completely and vice versa. The best direction for the club to take is to set targets for the next 3-4 years and not seasonal targets, because its the only approach that at this point that has the most chances of succeeding. Once we have a core of world class players in their prime, that's the time to revert back to having lofty expectations season in and season out, ala the Reals and Barcas of this world. Do you guys agree with this? Or you think the current approach of aiming for short term success is better? Edit- TL: DR For assured long term success, the better model for us currently is to establish a footballing hierarchy at the top that is happy to let our youngsters play and grow at the cost of a few barren years. Once the players reach their prime then we go back to expecting managers to challenge for silverware every season as chopping and changing every year will get us nowhere.