Andy Mitten column: At Manchester United, things are very bad – and could get worse

Murder on Zidane's Floor

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Draft and salary cap. You are not in complete control of who comes to you and who leaves for a bigger paycheck, that's why the NFL works in windows at the exception of the Steelers and the Patriots with Belichick, no one knows how the Steelers managed to only have 3 head coaches in 50 years.
So true and wow, did not know that about the Steelers.
 

togg

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Shaken, and very stirred......
A problem is that fan's patience is the thinnest it's ever been. It will only take a few not so good results at the start of next season for calls for him to go to start rumbling. But there is no way he's going to improve us that much in one window. I think he's on a hiding to nothing and that is sad.
 

Chesterlestreet

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Absolutely. To be honest I'm more worried about their capabilities than their intent/ambition.
Yes, there's that.

But there is one very obvious move on their part, which they haven't tried so far - and that is to bring in a DoF. I don't understand why the hell they haven't done this. They're not competent on the football side, their right hand man Woodward isn't either, it's evident - well fair enough: hire someone who is, then, and give that person the authority to lay out a long-term strategy/plan for the club. It's the logical thing to do.
 

DomesticTadpole

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As a Tampa Bay fan & season ticket holder since the orange sorbet & Bucco Bruce - a winking pirate with a stiletto in his lips, large feathered tri-point felt hat & a come hither look, it currently is shit for the Bucs. Sure, we won our only Super Bowl under the Glazer regime, but we also haven’t been to the playoffs in almost a decade. I thought the early Bucs were shit in their first years, but that is understandable for an expansion team (my family first started getting season tickets in 1978), but we also made it to the NFC Championship game the very next season. Then it was shit for fifteen years. Then we started making the playoffs, then won the Super Bowl, then shit again.

The reason for our long periods of being shitty can be boiled down to two things: poor coaching hires & poor drafting. We were / are also abysmal with free agency signings, but that falls under poor coaching hires. This is where the Bucs & United align, the wrong coaches & the wrong transfers.

The Bucs & the stadium make the Glazers a pretty penny even with the inferior product on the field. I never say a comparison between the two sports clubs until a few months ago when both clubs were entering key periods of the offseason with no head coach in place, no direction for the teams. The Bucs head coach hire has created some feel good emotions just like Ole has with United. But, for a decent part of the offseason, the Bucs has a GM who should have been fired a couple of years ago & the Glazers running the Bucs, similar to United having an interim manager & the Glazers running United.

I kind of look at us winning the league in 2013 as United’s Super Bowl victory. United is on a very similar descent immediately after, just like the Bucs.

Unfortunately, I don’t think either club has hit rock bottom yet.
The things with the Bucs is that the worst thing that can happen is you finish bottom. The worst thing for United is we can get relegated. At least, unless they go to the wall completely, American sport does have that safety net. We will not get rid of the Glazers until they have milked every last penny out of us that they can. :(:(
 

Lennon7

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It really is a sad state of affairs at the moment made worse by the fact there seems no way out... there's just no way they're going to sell the club, it's a cash cow for them - made even more so by Woodward and his noodle/furniture deals
 

In Rainbows

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It's a nonsense though. 6th will not be an achievement We are 9 points clear of 7th currently despite playing like absolute garbage and we'll be among the biggest investors in the transfer market this summer. Chelsea will be facing a transfer ban and are going to lose by far their best player. Arsenal are rumoured to be spending absolute peanuts in the market this summer. Spurs will likely lose important players this summer and have relatively little to spend. We should be more than well placed to challenge for 4th or 3rd under a competent manager.

It just seems to me like a leak from camp Ole to dampen expectations. Its all very Moyseian but because its Ole plenty of fans will lap it up and be grateful to finish 6th next season and even forgive him for finishing 7th or 8th.
Chelsea's in a bit of a mixed spot

Negatives
1. Hazard getting sold
2. Transfer ban
3. Hudson Odoi achilles injury

Positives
1. Good amount of their youth (Tammy Abraham, Reece James, Tomori, DaSilva, Mount) developed well in the Championship.
2. Pulisic transfer happened before transfer ban
3. Loftus Cheek has developed well


I would have probably put them ahead of United if not for Hudson Odoi's injury.

Long term strategy isn't a thing in the NFL, 4 head coaches isn't much and Gruden record wasn't particularly good and they were going nowhere with him.
Baseball would be a better comparison because of the youth prospects involved requires long term planning, scouting, developing, and the analytics behind the successful teams.
 

JPRouve

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So an adequate manager would solve most problems then?
I think that it would but it's the most difficult hire to make, the amount of adequate managers is very small and they are not necessarily available. I don't know that would be but if you don't focus too much on this season, I think that Tuchel is an interesting option if you take into account his input, I don't know Rose and I'm generally wary about managers like Setién.
 

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Absolutely. To be honest I'm more worried about their capabilities than their intent/ambition.
Their (apparent) unquestioning devotion to Ed is downright bizarre. The club needs a large dose of ruthlessness, which neither the Glazers nor Ed seem able to provide.
 

calodo2003

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The things with the Bucs is that the worst thing that can happen is you finish bottom. The worst thing for United is we can get relegated. At least, unless they go to the wall completely, American sport does have that safety net. We will not get rid of the Glazers until they have milked every last penny out of us that they can. :(:(
United are light years away from being as bad as the Bucs overall. Some of it has to do with United winning silverware recently, while the Bucs only possibly can win the Super Bowl (yes, there are divisions & leagues that the Bucs can & have won in the distant past, but those do not hold the same preeminence as winning cups), so there are many more recent successes at United. But, the general malaise at both clubs is eerily similar especially when the coaching hires are compared.
I truly hope United doesn’t become a consistent kid-table club not even winning the League Cup; if that occurs over the next few years, then the mediocrity comparison between the two clubs will be complete.
 

Ban

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When Poch signed for Spurs their squad was also in disarray with a number of overpaid and unmotivated players, yet he managed to to improve their results whilst spending very little money. Its because he's a very good manager. Is Ole?

The idea that Ole will be Ed's scapegoat is laughable to me because already the opposite dynamic is true.

There are fans actually already spouting nonsense such as finishing 6th next season will be an achievement.
Depending on a transfer window.

As for Ole, then it's all good, hire a good manager and we are flying.
 

DomesticTadpole

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United are light years away from being as bad as the Bucs overall. Some of it has to do with United winning silverware recently, while the Bucs only possibly can win the Super Bowl (yes, there are divisions & leagues that the Bucs can & have won in the distant past, but those do not hold the same preeminence as winning cups), so there are many more recent successes at United. But, the general malaise at both clubs is eerily similar especially when the coaching hires are compared.
I truly hope United doesn’t become a consistent kid-table club not even winning the League Cup; if that occurs over the next few years, then the mediocrity comparison between the two clubs will be complete.
:(
 

calodo2003

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Long term strategy isn't a thing in the NFL, 4 head coaches isn't much and Gruden record wasn't particularly good and they were going nowhere with him.
Your statement further illuminates the ineptitude the Glazers have in hiring coaches (& GMs).
 

Adnan

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As a Tampa Bay fan & season ticket holder since the orange sorbet & Bucco Bruce - a winking pirate with a stiletto in his lips, large feathered tri-point felt hat & a come hither look, it currently is shit for the Bucs. Sure, we won our only Super Bowl under the Glazer regime, but we also haven’t been to the playoffs in almost a decade. I thought the early Bucs were shit in their first years, but that is understandable for an expansion team (my family first started getting season tickets in 1978), but we also made it to the NFC Championship game the very next season. Then it was shit for fifteen years. Then we started making the playoffs, then won the Super Bowl, then shit again.

The reason for our long periods of being shitty can be boiled down to two things: poor coaching hires & poor drafting. We were / are also abysmal with free agency signings, but that falls under poor coaching hires. This is where the Bucs & United align, the wrong coaches & the wrong transfers.

The Bucs & the stadium make the Glazers a pretty penny even with the inferior product on the field. I never say a comparison between the two sports clubs until a few months ago when both clubs were entering key periods of the offseason with no head coach in place, no direction for the teams. The Bucs head coach hire has created some feel good emotions just like Ole has with United. But, for a decent part of the offseason, the Bucs has a GM who should have been fired a couple of years ago & the Glazers running the Bucs, similar to United having an interim manager & the Glazers running United.

I kind of look at us winning the league in 2013 as United’s Super Bowl victory. United is on a very similar descent immediately after, just like the Bucs.

Unfortunately, I don’t think either club has hit rock bottom yet.
Thanks for the insight.
 

Revaulx

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No, that's Woodward trying to prove he's some kind of transfer player instead of the nob-head we all know he is.
Yup. The Glazers ok’d Sanchez’s ridiculous wages; they aren’t going to be bothered about a few quid here and there for Darmian.
 

Inigo Montoya

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I’m new so I have a limit on my posts. But someone asked what Buccaneers fans are doing in that protest thread...

Here’s what they’re doing...feel free to post it.

Buccaneers fans have stopped showing up to games. They rank 30/32 in attendance. However, the NFL has a welfare system and shares revenues league-wide, so no team ever really feels fan protest in one market


Messaged to me by MAGAred who's a Buccs fan
 

TRUERED89

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Best part of this article is the paragraph about how the players are blaming each other about their paycuts. That's where their priorities are: Money not Man Utd. Shows why there's so little effort on the pitch.
Sons of b*tches
 

calodo2003

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Thanks for the insight.
For years, the Bucs were far & away the worst professional franchise of any professional league, some said ever. This was far before the Glazers, but in the dark ages under Culverhouse. The Glazers did oversee some immediate successes & it seemed as though we were turning a corner for good, but we were a white dwarf that got pulled back into the black hole of being true Bucs. I have become sort of numb to the Bucs in the past couple of years, I hope to never become that way with United.
 

11101

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Obviously you are right about Sanchez and I agree with you that if Pogba is not committed then he should go too (provided we get a good offer, minimum £100m and none of Madrid's own deadwood). Same for Martial and De Gea.

I disagree that that will be enough though. We are stuck with Jones now after his ridiculous new long term deal and we will have Young for at least one more season as well. But that's just scratching the surface of our failed players list. Mata has done nothing to justify a new contract and I would happily sell Rojo, Darmian, Matic and Bailly as well. With Valencia and Herrera (probably) also leaving then our squad will genuinely start to have a fresh look to it. We are long past the point where 'one or two' changes will make a difference. A major rebuild like Guardiola did in the summer of 2017 is in order.
We don't have to sell them all to make a statement. It doesn't mean we have to play them every week though. I'd be very impressed with Ole if he put players like Young and Jones at the back of the squad list and we only saw them in the odd cup game next season. Our biggest problem is persisting with consistent players we know are not good enough because we're scared of what might happen with the players we don't know enough about yet - the obsession with scraping into the top 4 contributes to that. We have to start clearing those players out, even if means putting them in the shadows, and letting the new players show what they can do over a season.
 

passing-wind

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I think the real truth is that no one even fans have faith in Solskjaer. If we had a competent manager in charge much of the recent fiasco would seem limited because we could all look forward to the season ahead. It just feels like Ole is out of his depth, I certainly don't trust him to rebuild the team, the new contracts for average players especially in the defence was the nail in the coffin.
 

calodo2003

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I’m new so I have a limit on my posts. But someone asked what Buccaneers fans are doing in that protest thread...

Here’s what they’re doing...feel free to post it.

Buccaneers fans have stopped showing up to games. They rank 30/32 in attendance. However, the NFL has a welfare system and shares revenues league-wide, so no team ever really feels fan protest in one market


Messaged to me by MAGAred who's a Buccs fan
Somewhat similar to one of our other professional franchises, the Tampa Bay Rays. There is a welfare system in MLB as well which allows teams to still make money while only playing in front of 8000 fans. The Rays are the best team in baseball by several games (& they were Bucs-level bad for many years), but the fan base in this area is so fickle & apathetic. The respective owners are seeing revenue, so all is right in their world.

That poster shouldn’t ever be promoted on handle alone. : )
 

Roboc7

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The club is a state the owners are driven by profit but they are also stupid. They’ve allowed Woodward to waste hundreds of millions on players, tens of millions on paying off players/managers and are massively over paying pretty much every player in the squad.

They’ve lost millions in revenue because of this and still allow the same people to do the same things with the same results. Woodward, Judge and Murtough are being out manoeuvred by every agent, player and club they come into contact with. They even know how to negotiate contracts with our own players.

A better run club would save the millions and make more money but things are getting worse rather than better and the article by Mitten will be repeated all summer and beyond.
 

drdoityourself

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Just a quick question. How are the u23 playing under Ricky Sbragia?

Haven't seen them but as a person on the internet, I have of course decided that is a bad appointment.
A 62 year old man who had Sunderland playing awful football when he was a senior manager. Strikes me as another part of our club that has no vision.
 

johanovic

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I have supported United since I was a kid and will continue to do so no matter what. I hope OGS will do the right things this summer and the club will back him up. We need a overhaul on the squad as most can see and we need a clear structure and vision of where to go from here. Will the current owners do that? I have serious doubts BUT the big question for me is considering Man Utd is a valuable brand can the owners count on it if they do not take care of the playing side. I can not see that and hopefully that will lead them to either sell the club or put in a big investment on the playing side. The young kids today that are the fans of tomorrow are not being entertained by United and they look at City, Liverpool,PGS,Juve,Barca,Real and so on for the heroes to follow. One thing that should not be underestimated is the power of fans if they show their mind in a open way. The idea of a walk out, white hankies and protests is not to far fetched. Think of the pressure standing up and leaving the stadium empty during a game would have? Of course one could claim that´s not what a supporter should do but is it the right thing to do for the greater good so to speak?
 

JPRouve

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Your statement further illuminates the ineptitude the Glazers have in hiring coaches (& GMs).
No it doesn't or at least it doesn't target the Glazers because when you compare them to others you quickly realize that they are simply average, Lovie Smith and Arians are on paper good hire, we will see what Arians does but your defense is bad and he isn't going to fix it. If you want my opinion on the Glazers as owners of both entities, it's that they are risk averse, the Bucs should tank every seasons until they get a franchise QB and they shouldn't spend on free agency, the experience that you value in free agency is generally fool's gold. At United that trait is demonstrated by their willingness to invest heavily in players that are already in the team and are known quantities for the club even when they could get similar or better players for equivalent fees outside of the club, the second sign is with managers they go with tried and tested managers even Ole fits that definition because the club had him in the building as a youth coach, years ago, and then an interim coach.

I don't like to throw that term around but the Glazers aren't inept, they aren't dumb, not even cheap. They are coward and it's a good thing when you have a competent manager because they will never sack him unless he miserably fails but it's a massive issue when they have to take proactive decisions, the only way to fix that with them as owners is by adding someone with an aggressive mentality that will convince them to take uncomfortable decisions, if they find that person they will be alright because for some reason they don't really mind money being spent and sometimes wasted, which to me is weird.
 
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Wallez

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Mitten is right, things are bad and will probably be even worse in the next years. The way I see it, the only way out of our misery is that Solskjær and Phelan get the time and backing they need to rebuild the club. I am not saying that Solskjær and his team have the abilities of SAF, but I think this is the only hope we have.

The root of our problem is at the top, with the Glazers that have no insight into how a modern football club should be structured, and they dont seem to care anymore. Beneath them we have Woodward, a man that they seem to trust blindly, as he has been a main part of their strategy since they started the process of buying the club. I see speculations that Woodward has held meetings with Ferdinand and Fletcher over some kind of a technical director role, but I don't think this will solve anything. As long as it is Woodward that is supposed to hire such directors, he would still be above them in the club structure and have full control over the club. Woodward refused to sign the players Mourinno wanted last summer, and it would be even easier for him to control lightweights like Ferdinand and Fletcher. Human beings crave power, and it is in our nature to do anything to keep our power and possibly gain more. Woodward stumbled into an extremely powerful role that he has no competence to perform to the standards we need, and he will do anything to defend his role.

We need a bunch of competent people and a modern club structure, and I am not talking about bringing in a sporting director alone, I am talking about bringing in 5-10 extremely competent and experienced people that knows how to run a football club, and a complete reorganization of the club structure. In addition, we should bring in people like Ferdinand and Fletcher in minor roles. However, this is not possible if we don't get rid of Woodward first as he will defend his territory, and the only people that can do this is the Glazers. However, the Glazers doesn't seem to have the balls or interest to do this. Woodward cannot go back into a purely economical role either, he must be removed completely.
 

Leftback99

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I think we'll have a battle on our hands for top 6 next season from Leicester, Everton, Wolves, maybe even West Ham. All likely to invest heavily in the summer. If we out spend them by £50m you're talking one player these days.
 

DomesticTadpole

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Somewhat similar to one of our other professional franchises, the Tampa Bay Rays. There is a welfare system in MLB as well which allows teams to still make money while only playing in front of 8000 fans. The Rays are the best team in baseball by several games (& they were Bucs-level bad for many years), but the fan base in this area is so fickle & apathetic. The respective owners are seeing revenue, so all is right in their world.

That poster shouldn’t ever be promoted on handle alone. : )
I am a Yankee fan, so don't you think the problem with the Rays is that a lot of Florida residents have retired down there from other big Cities so already have an allegiance to other teams.
 

NFM

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Mitten is right, things are bad and will probably be even worse in the next years. The way I see it, the only way out of our misery is that Solskjær and Phelan get the time and backing they need to rebuild the club. I am not saying that Solskjær and his team have the abilities of SAF, but I think this is the only hope we have.

The root of our problem is at the top, with the Glazers that have no insight into how a modern football club should be structured, and they dont seem to care anymore. Beneath them we have Woodward, a man that they seem to trust blindly, as he has been a main part of their strategy since they started the process of buying the club. I see speculations that Woodward has held meetings with Ferdinand and Fletcher over some kind of a technical director role, but I don't think this will solve anything. As long as it is Woodward that is supposed to hire such directors, he would still be above them in the club structure and have full control over the club. Woodward refused to sign the players Mourinno wanted last summer, and it would be even easier for him to control lightweights like Ferdinand and Fletcher. Human beings crave power, and it is in our nature to do anything to keep our power and possibly gain more. Woodward stumbled into an extremely powerful role that he has no competence to perform to the standards we need, and he will do anything to defend his role.

We need a bunch of competent people and a modern club structure, and I am not talking about bringing in a sporting director alone, I am talking about bringing in 5-10 extremely competent and experienced people that knows how to run a football club, and a complete reorganization of the club structure. In addition, we should bring in people like Ferdinand and Fletcher in minor roles. However, this is not possible if we don't get rid of Woodward first as he will defend his territory, and the only people that can do this is the Glazers. However, the Glazers doesn't seem to have the balls or interest to do this. Woodward cannot go back into a purely economical role either, he must be removed completely.
Liverpool just beat Barca 4-0 with a collection of ex-Newcastle, Sunderland, Stoke and Southampton players and some homegrown lads. This is not an insurmountable problem. United need to sell the prima donnas; Pogba, Martial, De Gea and subsidize a Sanchez move. That would fund a well aimed drive at signing mentally strong EPL players, guys who know how to win league games. There are some in almost every team that would upgrade on United's current mob. Then give the manager and his staff some patience to mold it into a winning team, just like Liverpool gave Klopp.
The Glazers and Woodward can stay in their jobs, it just needs someone with good league experience to pick the right players who a motivated and strong minded.
This is NOT rocket science.
 
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foolsgold

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Just a quick question. How are the u23 playing under Ricky Sbragia?

Haven't seen them but as a person on the internet, I have of course decided that is a bad appointment.
A 62 year old man who had Sunderland playing awful football when he was a senior manager. Strikes me as another part of our club that has no vision.
Doing shit, relegated last season, finished mid table this year.

These are the kids people want to put into the 1st team? Madness.
 

calodo2003

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No it doesn't or at least it doesn't target the Glazers because when you compare them to others you quickly realize that they are simply average, Lovie Smith and Arians are on paper good hire, we will see what Arians does but your defense is bad and he isn't going to fix it. If you want my opinion on the Glazers as owners of both entities, it's that they are risk averse, the Bucs should tank every seasons until they get a franchise QB and they shouldn't spend on free agency, the experience that you value in free agency is generally fool's gold. At United that trait is demonstrated by their willingness to invest heavily in players that are already in the team and are known quantities for the club even when they could get similar or better players for equivalent fees outside of the club, the second sign is with managers they go with tried and tested managers even Ole fits that definition because the club had him in the building as a youth coach, years ago, and then an interim coach.

I don't like to through that term around but the Glazers aren't inept, they aren't dumb, not even cheap. They are coward and it's a good thing when you have a competent manager because they will never sack him unless he miserably fails but it's a massive issue when they have to take proactive decisions, the only way to fix that with them as owners is by adding someone with an aggressive mentality that will convince them to take uncomfortable decisions, if they find that person they will be alright because for some reason they don't really mind money being spent and sometimes wasted, which to me is weird.
You make some good points, but what is happening right now regarding a DoF is the same as the GM situation in Tampa. The Glazers don’t want an outsider to come in & rock the boat, potentially because it will just more concretely illuminate how poor they have been in hiring management at both locations.
Yes, some of the Glazers’ hires in Tampa looked good on paper, but didn’t pan out, same as United. That doesn’t absolve them from blame. I see some similarities between the Tampa GM & Woodward, but it is hard & not that fair to compare the two as their responsibilities are more different than the same. I do agree with you about the proactive manager, I was a bit shocked that they hired Ariens as he is a bit counterculture to what most NFL head coaches are, especially when compared to the recent past Bucs coaches.

Our roster is horrible, especially on defense due to terrible drafts & even worse free agency periods. Just like United, it is going to take a few years to even get to a mediocre defense. Our offense isn’t bad, but we just put up offensive stats last year because we had to do so to just stay in games.

All of this criticism of the Bucs pains me as I have been a season ticket holder since I was four years old. I am also a Florida State
graduate, thus it further pains me to see Winston & all his trials & tribulations, more often than not brought on by himself. I wouldn’t call him specifically the ‘Buc’s Pogba,’ but there are similarities. Would we be better off without Winston? This coming season will answer that, similar to next season & Pogba (if he stays).

One thing the Glazers have going for them locally is their philanthropic work which buys a lot of goodwill, plus the stadium they oversaw getting built is in the Super Bowl rota, thus there really isn’t any local groundswell to oust the family & get new owners. I have never had a problem with the Glazers owning United until a couple of months ago when the similarities of struggling became apparent to me with the Glazers being potentially the overriding key components of struggle at both clubs.
 

WolfInSharp'sClothing

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One big issue is you don't have the foundation of a settled first team to build on.

If there was a thread on here about your strongest team as it stands today, I'm sure there would be no general consensus and some of the players chosen will be leaving anyway. Everyone has different opinions over who should be sold and who should remain and have a team built around them.

Almost every other club in the top 10 has a strongest first choice XI and the majority of that XI will be around going into the start of next season, Arsenal and Chelsea included. So they are already one step ahead going into the transfer market as they know their targets and who they need to replace if they lose anyone.

You need to sort out who is staying and who is going as quickly as possible after Sunday, so some sort of strategy can be implemented to what you actually need recruitment wise. The last thing you need to be happening is thinking players are staying, then losing Pogba and De Gea on deadline day!

Sadly for you, this article (and recent contract renewals) suggests it will be another scatter gun approach to recruitment this summer and Ole will go into the start of the season still not knowing what his strongest team is.
 

crossy1686

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Doing shit, relegated last season, finished mid table this year.

These are the kids people want to put into the 1st team? Madness.
I have a feeling none of our reserve kids are good enough for the first team but it's either play them or reward the useless twats like Martial with an undroppable place in the team.
 

Un4givableB

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1,687
Yup. The Glazers ok’d Sanchez’s ridiculous wages; they aren’t going to be bothered about a few quid here and there for Darmian.
I honestly think the Glazers have no problem with paying huge wages because they are yanks, so used to it but they can't get their heads around paying huge transfer fees.