What is the Manchester United Way? An explanation.

Sultan

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It is one of the major reasons why David Moyes is said to have lost his job and Ryan Giggs says he wants to bring it back over the remaining four games of the season.

"It is my philosophy and it is Manchester United's philosophy," said the Welshman when he spoke to the media on Friday.

But what is this mystical "Manchester United Way", which has the power to make or break managers?

Speaking to Bobby Charlton upon the player's arrival at Old Trafford as a raw 15-year-old, United manager Sir Matt Busby encapsulated the essence of an attitude that pervades around Old Trafford to this day.


Matt Busby with Bobby Charlton

"All those lads you see going to the factory in Trafford Park, they come to watch you on Saturday," Busby told Charlton. "They have boring jobs, so you have to give them something they will enjoy."

It cannot always be that way, of course.

For the 6-2 win against Arsenal that United achieved on 9 February 1957, there was also a goalless draw against Tottenham a few weeks later.

For the 5-4 thriller at Highbury in the last domestic match before the Munich air tragedy in 1958, there was a 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea in the December of that same season.

There have been long periods of ups and downs, and smaller rises and falls, since Busby uttered his words, but the general point remains.

"We attack," says Sean Bones, vice-chairman of the Manchester United Supporters Trust. "We try to win games with style and flair.

"If you want to pigeon-hole it, it is two wingers, overlapping full-backs and attacking midfielders - but, really, there is far more to it than that. It is almost a state of mind.

"We don't 'aspire' to be like anyone, as Moyes said of Manchester City. We should be setting the example for everyone else in terms of how football should be played."

Going back through the generations, the commitment to wing play can easily be identified.

Pre-Munich, it was David Pegg and Albert Scanlon. Then, in the rebuilt team that went on to win the European Cup in 1968, it was George Best and John Aston.

The tradition continued even in the fallow years of the 1970s, when Steve Coppell, Gordon Hill and Gerry Daly were all revered; just as Gordon Strachan and Jesper Olsen were in the early 1980s.


George Best was a part of Manchester United's European Cup-winning team in 1968

As Moyes tries to come to terms with the manner of his dismissal, he might reflect on the treatment of Dave Sexton, sacked as United boss in April 1981, despite ending the season with seven successive victories.

That decision was based on the "dull" football his side played, said one sage at the time.

With the addition of powerful, thrusting midfield players, in the mould of Charlton, Duncan Edwards and Bryan Robson, plus the added threat from full-backs such as Roger Byrne, who used to attack in an era where defenders were supposed to defend; and Arthur Albiston, who amassed 485 appearances as an overlapping left-back, the culture became embedded in the club.

"The 'United Way' is something fans have got used to," said former United skipper Robson. "It is really attacking, good to watch.

"For the fans, that is the way the club has to play. I would argue United have those players now: Shinji Kagawa, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Nani and Adnan Januzaj are all really good players. The key is getting the best out of them."

Patently, Moyes did not manage it.

What made the situation worse was that he followed a manager who ensured United produced some of the most exciting football the club's fans have ever seen.

Ferguson could call on Lee Sharpe, Andrei Kanchelskis, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo to taunt opponents from the wings.

In midfield, Roy Keane, Paul Ince and Paul Scholes provided the menace, while Denis Irwin, Gary Neville and Patrice Evra did so from deep.


It would be wrong to say Moyes did not try to attack, or that Ferguson was so wedded to the principle of wide men he refused to try anything else.

But when asked to conjure up an immediate image of a Ferguson team, it is of players on the front foot, pinning their opponents back, battering them into submission.

Under Moyes, United were the very inverse of what their fans demanded.

He is taking tentative steps in management but Giggs has already taken a big one - by telling supporters he will give them what they want.

"We have the players to do it, we have players in that dressing room who are winners, used to winning and have a winning mentality. They will show it on Saturday," Giggs said.

"I trust the players, I know what they are capable of and I want them to go out and show it against Norwich."

This from the man who more than anyone epitomises what United have become.

The man who, at Villa Park in 1999, weaved his way through a succession of despairing Arsenal challenges to score the goal voted the best in the history of the FA Cup.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/27163758
 

Sultan

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I'm particularly interested what our uber-cool (hipster) new breed fans think about this way of playing football.
 
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NM

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It is the most beautiful kind of football to watch IMO. I worry about its effectiveness in the modern world though.
 

NK86

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Suddenly remembered that Moyes said we 'aspire' to be like Manchester City. Rankled then and makes me angrier now that he is not our manager anymore. Cannot believe some tried to defend/justify that statement and the one before the Liverpool match as well.
 

Mockney

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Doing things a set certain way out of stubborn sentimentality is always doomed to failure everywhere outside of movies. It's great if we can play in a wing centric attacking style, but only if we've got the right players for it, and only if we're playing teams that it'll be effective against.

Flowing, attractive, attacking football can be played several ways. Fergie's most recent dominant team (the Ronaldo-Rooney team) didn't play with 2 classical wingers. Personally I don't really care for the specifics as long as we're doing it.
 
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Raees

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Nothing wrong with a wing-centric style of play. Bayern before Pep, was wing-centric but supported by a quality midfield.. Real Madrid have two of the best wingers in the world.

Even in a 4-3-3, there is room for wingers at this club.
 

Crashoutcassius

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It's a nice article but really now the united way is just do whatever makes the glazers the most money, if we have a boring manager but the shirts are being sold and the CL revenue is coming in then it won't change
 

Sultan

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It's a nice article but really now the united way is just do whatever makes the glazers the most money, if we have a boring manager but the shirts are being sold and the CL revenue is coming in then it won't change
Erm...

I sure there is correlation between winning and revenue increase.
 

Tomuś

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I'm particularly interested what our uber-cool (hipster) new breed fans think about this way of playing football.
Or those of our fans who say there's no United Way but we've just always happened to have personnel to play through wings.
 

Will Absolute

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It's a nice article but really now the united way is just do whatever makes the glazers the most money, if we have a boring manager but the shirts are being sold and the CL revenue is coming in then it won't change
You defended the last boring manager to the death.

I don't believe the club at any time in its history would sack a successful manager regardless of style.
 

Sultan

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Or those of our fans who say there's no United Way but we've just always happened to have personnel to play through wings.
There's a simple answer. Personnel are generally purchased to play a particular style.
 

Crashoutcassius

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You defended the last boring manager to the death.

I don't believe the club at any time in its history would sack a successful manager regardless of style.
I thought that was kinda the point of the article?

And I didn't necessarily defend Moyes in everything he did, I just think that we should support whatever manager is in place until the board see fit to part ways with him and I think the squad isn't as good as other squads in the league despite the comfortable league win the season before
 

Sultan

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You defended the last boring manager to the death.

I don't believe the club at any time in its history would sack a successful manager regardless of style.
Dave Sexton was sacked despite winning the last 7 games of his tenure for his dull style of football.
 

mu4c_20le

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Dave Sexton was sacked despite winning the last 7 games of his tenure for his dull style of football.
I'd like to think that he was sacked for failing to win any silverware in his 4 year tenure. A winning run means nothing if you're losing the big matches and dropping stupid points where it counts.
 

Invictus

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The 'United Way' is something fans have got used to," said former United skipper Robson.
I think this simple sentence can be used to deduce that the United way is a fluid quantification that changes with time. The United Way is just something that's ingrained in the minds of fans that watched us in the peak Busby days or our swashbuckling side in the 90s. But it's not a fixed concept, a good example of that would be Barcelona. Back in the day, before Cruyff's arrival there was no insistence on tiki-taka or total football as they now have with their Barcelona Way. But one man changed the whole perception of Barcelona fans in his playing and coaching days and now the club is famous for their unique style of play. But, as we have seen recently they're having problems because teams have found a way around it. A lot of their supporters are opposed to employing Klopp now or in the future because he's the polar opposite of what they've grown accustomed to. Similarly at our club, the United Way is what us fans have seen and grown to like. However let's say a new manager comes in and implements a totally different brand of football - even without wingers - and leads us to another decade of success - I'm sure the younger fans will make the United Way synonymous with the new different playing style - even though it may differ from our definition.
 

Will Absolute

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I thought that was kinda the point of the article?

And I didn't necessarily defend Moyes in everything he did, I just think that we should support whatever manager is in place until the board see fit to part ways with him and I think the squad isn't as good as other squads in the league despite the comfortable league win the season before
It's all water under the bridge now, I guess. But I regard the fans as the truest, most disinterested custodians of the welfare of the club, and I can't agree they should be silent when things are going wrong.
 

Gazza

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In my opinion, it's not a a tactical thing. The United Way is to encourage whoever is playing for the club at the time to believe in themselves and express themselves (the last bit especially true). That seems to be the unifying message from Jimmy Murphy through to Eric Harrison. Don't let anyone think they're better than you and make sure you make the most of your talent.
 

NK86

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not a huge one once you're in the CL, as I mentioned. I did also say 'if' the jerseys keep getting sold etc
It is pretty huge. Otherwise the likes of Arsenal would have similar commercial revenues to us. We are a bigger brand than them because of our history and our nonstop success over the last two decades.
 

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The Man Utd way doesn't exist in words it lives in people, specifically in the class of '92 as Keano's quote shows.
 

KM

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I find the snobbery about 4-4-2 hilarious when you consider that the best team in the world last season basically used a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1. You basically need a box to box midfielder to make it work properly, Bayern had Schweini and we had Keano to make it work brilliantly.