The media love when United are in turmoil because it gets them clicks. They want Rangnick gone as soon as possible because they want the likes of Woodward wielding power over the football decisions. They want us flailing with no clear footballing identity or long term vision. Then they have us right where they want us for their own interactions/clicks. For now, everyone should really be ignoring the media bear-baiting, and we should not even be contemplating turning on the manager.
Rangnick is here as manager for 6 months before taking on a football consultancy role for 2 years. Most people were calling the season a write off towards the end of Ole's reign, so why is no top 4 under Rangnick a travesty, given the media and ourselves were already saying we had no chance now? I know, I know, 'HOW DARE YOU LOWER EXPECTATIONS'. Ignore the media sensationalism about it, and let this next step play out.
I can't say with confidence that it is going to play out successfully over the next 2 and a half seasons. But these next 6 months have to be viewed as a part of a process now. Ralf will be assessing the squad, deciding who stays and who goes, whilst also sorting out the pile up of players we have currently. Come the end of the season, all of Cavani, Lingard, Martial, Mata, and Pogba will all be gone, along with any others he wants gone as well. At the same time, presumably RR will be identifying replacements to come in, youth players to potentially be promoted and so on, all while preparing the remaining players for a more intense and aggressive playing style, and changing the little things at Carrington and Old Trafford to complement it. Maybe now we can get a squad together that suits a manager, and not only that, if we end up having to sack that man, the next appointment will come in and be able to use that squad, rather than having to reassemble it.
Next, if you are trying to find someone to blame for the current malaise and disjointed nature of the squad, look no further than the people at the top. And don't blame Rangnick, even if he isn't the answer as a manager, the consultancy role could still be key. I hope he stops the same recurring mistakes being made by the morons at the top, whilst tutoring Fletcher and Murtough in their roles for the longer term. Hopefully he gets the club to a point where the likes of the Glazers, Woodward, Arnold & Co are kept as far away from any footballing decisions as possible.
Our problem isn't Rangnick. It wasn't Van Gaal/Mourinho/Moyes/Solskjaer/Rangnick/Carrick/Giggs. It always starts with the board. The lack of a football plan, and the yo-yo nature of our selection of managers/philosophies, and then the different players they choose to bring in for their style is precisely the problem. Even when you look at our previous managers:
- Van Gaal with an injury crisis, which led to the debut of Marcus Rashford, still won an FA Cup and came 5th, but we sacked him anyway, and gave him no time to progress and finalise a squad.
- Mourinho won several trophies, and then got as close to a title as we had managed since SAF, only to be sabotaged in the next transfer window by the board because he hurt their feelings with some home truths. He didn't get players in the positions he wanted, and was forced to keep Pogba among others, who shock horror, is now leaving on a free.
- And then Ole took us to a Europa League Final and finished 2nd all in one season. Granted we lost when it mattered. He lacked any trophies, sure but their was a clear plan in place, and he was achieving results. But then, with Ole deciding he wanted a RB and a CDM to finish off his squad, following the signings of Varane and Sancho, Woodward decided he could make himself the hero by ignoring the wants of the manager and bringing in Ronaldo, and we have Deja Vu with an unexpected collapse and sacking.
Ronaldo himself coming to the club was huge for sure, but in the process we sold James to accommodate CR7 and Cavani in both squad numbers and places. At the same time we hugely upset Martial, Cavani and maybe multiple others, all while leaving us still lacking at CDM and RB.
Say what you want about James but he was often a key player in Ole's strategy against the bigger teams and an important worker and runner in the team. He was a good friend of McTominay amongst others, and to me, I would say an important member of the squad in terms of morale. He always looked a really happy genuine guy and seemed to get on with everyone in the squad, and mixed with all the different groups. We attribute the drop in togetherness to Ronaldo joining which in part is true, it clearly upset both Cavani and Martial, and I'd argue has effected Rashford and Greenwood too. However, we don't talk about the way James was treated and cast out without a second thought. Maybe that is as much to blame as Ronaldo himself for the current fallouts and negative feeling within the squad.
Outside of the managers we haven't had anyone on the football side with a plan for what we want the club to be. The Ronaldo signing has me fearing that Woodward still has more control than he should, with his signing not really fitting the profile of either Solskjaer's ideas, nor Murtough's, leaving me questioning their authority on footballing matters. Murtough and Ole are/were both arguably novices in their roles without the authority needed, which maybe why Woodward still had that control. Hopefully Rangnick comes in with Fletcher and Murtough at the end of the season and stops the same mistakes being made by the morons at the top, and uses his experience to gain the authority required to tell Woodward/Arnold to keep their noses out.
The big decision right now is who will be the next permanent manager in the summer. Whether it is Rangnick himself, someone he has worked with previously, or someone else altogether. If come the summer we appoint a manager with yet another completely different style and philosophy, then I will be concerned that we haven't learnt any lessons and we will be going through the same mistakes as before, with Woodward and Arnold retaining control. I am hopeful in some ways that the sacking of Solskjaer aligns with Murtough as much as anyone else, because he has his own ideas for the football we should be playing. He has apparently admired Rangnick for a long time, going back to interviews and similar long before he was appointed as DOF. This is why I am hopeful we actually have a long term strategy now, and is why I am backing Rangnick for the rest of the season.
If come the end of the season we appoint someone completely different again, with a low block, long ball philosophy for example, that's the point at which you know we still have no long term vision for the football side of things. That is when the alarm bells should be ringing.