Why have we been so crap for so long?

freeurmind

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Apologies for adding another thread to the long list of threads discussing this.

Since Ferguson retired, I've never personally felt that we've played really good football for a sustained period of time. I can only think of the beginning of Mourinho's second season where we were winning every game 4-0 but apart from that we just haven't been any good.
Under Moyes we were generally crap, under LVG we played slow boring football and even under Ole, I felt we always flattered to deceive and never really dominated teams the way we used to.

Why is this? I can't remember the last time I got any realy joy out of watching this team. When I watch videos from the Fergie era of the likes of Rooney, Tevez, young Ronaldo, Scholes, Park, Evra et al playing great football, it feels like watching a different club.

How do we get back to that? We've spent so much money but yet on thepitch it's the same, sludge, uncomitted, slow tempo football especially at home.
 
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JebelSherif

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Sir Alex retired, yes, but unfortunately he had already made decisions or been party to decisions that led to the longterm decline of the club e.g. under investment in the side due to the American take-over - google Rock of Gibralta or read Keanes biography.

He loves the club, don't get me wrong and even in retirement he's tried to reverse things, but actually it made things worse from blocking Mourinho as his immediate successor, right up to phoning Ronaldo (age 36) in August 2021... which threw Oles project into turmoil.

The club allowed him too much power when he was the manager and by employing him as a well paid club Ambassador, he's become a thorn in every subsequent coaches side, namely a back seat driver.

Amazingly, Utd. have been here before, in the nineteen seventies.
 

Ballache

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Not having football people making football decisions, our failure to actually build a modern set-up (DOF, technical director...) that ensures some sort of continuity. Bad managerial decisions starting with Moyes, overpaying for average or past it players, extending the contracts of players who shouldn't be at the club...
We became a Marketing Company with a football department and as long as the money was coming in, the Glazers didn't care and Ed Woodward remained untouchable.
We've been fecking up for almost a decade now and it's going to take a while before we sort ourselves out.
 

groovyalbert

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The Glazers waited too long to invest properly in the club (including whilst Fergie was here), then did it terribly when shite started to hit the fan.

Also the money that's now in the league has meant every other club has been able to close the gap from their end.

Basically, we rested on our laurels and assumed success was an inevitability.
 

CloneMC16

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We played shit football in Sir Alex's last couple season as well. We won the title in 2013, but our football was atrocious in so many games. We conceded goals for fun, but kept coming back and winning games via brilliance from RvP. It's obviously gotten much worse, but multiple players in our squad were declining in those last couple years. The investment in those latter years was also really bad. Ronaldo was never replaced. Our replacements for Rio and Vidic were nowhere near the required standard. There was no replacement for Scholes. It was a mess.

Moyes inherited a team that was majorly on the decline. We desperately needed a top class midfielder and we bought Fellaini. He still failed badly, but he was never going to succeed with what he inherited. LVG's football was terrible, and he bought so many bad players. His signings set us back a lot. He did add Shaw and Herrera to the squad, but everybody else he bought wasn't good enough. Around half of Mourinho's signings are still here, but most of them have never been consistently good. Same under Ole, really.

Most of the signings we've made haven't been good enough. I'd say that's the main issue. At worst, they've been dreadful. On average, they've been too inconsistent.
 

Siorac

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Poor recruitment: Haphazard, with no apparent strategy or vision behind it. We're just scrambling to buy whoever is available most of the time, seemingly regardless odlf how they'd fit the squad.

Substandard coaching: Obviously I'm not privy to what's going on at Carrington but what other explanation is there for almost every player turning to shit at United, for regularly looking awful at even the very basics of football?

Club culture: Or, more specifically, the apparent lack of one. We keep underperforming players for too long, give too many chances to both players and managers, there doesn't seem to be a demand for excellence. 'Potentially good enough for top 4' is the bar these days.

Lack of identity: Ties in with the recruitment issue. We don't have a clear idea of what we even want to be, what sort of football we're aiming to play. It's just all over the place, changing on the whims of each manager.
 

AneRu

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Our clear outs have been half hearted so we are stuck with remnants from completely failed regimes who have seen too many managers get sacrificed for their (the players) incompetence. This inability to make a simple five yard pass didn't start under Ole or Ralf, it's what they did to Moyes and to LVG. They know too well who will pay for that because the Glazers are too tight to commit to a major rebuild in one window.

We fall victim to the aggregate total spent on players but we forget that each spending spree has been inadequate, just look at Ole's first summer. He signed Maguire, James and AWB but he could have done with an AM, striker and DM. Next summer he got the striker and a back up CM after the emergency signing of Bruno when the season had got off the rails but what could have happened if he got Bruno, AWB, James and Maguire first off?

This summer it happened again, we did well to bring Sancho and Varane but didn't follow through to bring a DM. I believe that the absence of a top DM has been central to the overall collapse of the team. Sport depends very much on belief and confidence, compound the loss of confidence and incessant social media ridicule then you have a perfect storm.

Every season since 2009 we have been sending out ill equipped teams to compete against the likes of City and Chelsea. Worked when we had Fergie and Rooney to lead the team but it doesn't work now in a team in search of leaders and an ever improving PL which has mutated into a Super League on its own.
 

Bocca9978

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The Glazers. It comes from the top down.
It’s no coincidence that a handful of years after they took over it started to unwind. And with their direction we will sadly never get it back.
Sad times.
 

Ogaranya

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I blame Fergie for not investing real talents into the team as a long term replacements for the old players he used in his last days as manager, coupled with hand-picking moyes as his replacement.

Fergie is not a great tactician, he used charisma and man-management mastery to get the best out of them, it masked the deeply rooted lack of modern football fundamentals that are present in other big teams.

His exit brought in unfit managers and panic buyings which resulted in us being exploited in the transfer market and handing over huge contracts to average players.

Not forgetting the reluctancy of the board to take quick and strategic decisions.

Get in Ten Hag in the summer and back him up to shake up the squad, the swamp needs to be drained.
 

Frank Grimes

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We lost our soul and our sporting ethos under Fergie but he was such an important figure we got through with him at the helm. As soon as he left this was laid bare. The club is not run as a football club anymore, sadly.
 

Bebestation

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For me it's that we don't have a DOF.

SAF was not just the manager of United, he was the complete controller of the club, so when he left, we lacked any sort of control of the club.

We saw this with Van Gaal, he was able to completely change the club to fit his type of mindset and his tactics, buying and selling the players he wished. That made us weaker and then we went to the complete opposite type of football management in Jose. Do we have someone controlling the manager? People laught at someone like Levy for example, but his is a person who decides who should be sold, which manager should come after Jose etcm

We just go from one plan to another, complete opposites because there is no long term plan at the club and how it should be run.

We can have Martial getting a 250k contract. We can have Maguire being asked for by Jose,not signing him and then signing him for Ole. Moyes can sign Fellaini and Mata.

SAF wasn't just a manager for us. He controlled the club for 20 years. I felt that he controlled David Gill rather than the other way around. When SAF left we have just had nothing with that type of control.
 

dove

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Hiring crap or dinosaur managers who buy crap players. You can bet our next one will be Poch and we play the same uninspiring style of football.
 

AndySmith1990

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The Glazers. It comes from the top down.
It’s no coincidence that a handful of years after they took over it started to unwind. And with their direction we will sadly never get it back.
Sad times.
I was about to write something similar.

The culture at any organisation comes from the top and filters through to those working on the ground level.

The culture at this club is rotten. Everyone is riding the United gravy train; getting filthy rich whilst there being no accountability and no consequence beyond not making quite as much money.

The Glazers don't care whether we win trophies. Woodward doesn't care if we win trophies. Many of our players don't care if we win trophies. They're all on massive contracts and getting richer by the day. If they don't like a manager they throw him under the bus and we go again.

We have some of the worst supporters too. Entitled, impatient, contradictory and agenda driven.

It's a long road to get to where we want to be, yet we have people calling the current manager shit because he hasn't transformed us in, what is it, 6 weeks? Six weeks and he's not managed to get our horrible bunch of players performing to the level of the top 3, so we bin him off. So yeah, top to bottom this club is broken.
 

Golden Nugget

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We played shit football in Sir Alex's last couple season as well. We won the title in 2013, but our football was atrocious in so many games. We conceded goals for fun, but kept coming back and winning games via brilliance from RvP. It's obviously gotten much worse, but multiple players in our squad were declining in those last couple years. The investment in those latter years was also really bad. Ronaldo was never replaced. Our replacements for Rio and Vidic were nowhere near the required standard. There was no replacement for Scholes. It was a mess.
This. Sure, it got worse since then - but I wouldn’t say we were dominant at all. Fergie made the most out of the squad he had - but the lack of investments really hurt in the long run - in which we were playing catch up every season, and making bad decisions and signings.

Managers are made to be the scapegoat - but I strongly believe it’s the players. The pressing was brilliant in Rangicks first half against Palace, and we haven’t seen it again.People often forget that the pressing was good in Ole’s first few games too, which then disappeared. I think they realise the players aren’t up to it, and adapt to a new game plan.
 

oates

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SAF wasn't just a manager for us. He controlled the club for 20 years. I felt that he controlled David Gill rather than the other way around. When SAF left we have just had nothing with that type of control.
I have a feeling they shared the trousers in that relationship.
 

oz insomniac

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When your CEO is heavily involved in recruitment and wage negotiations and his forte is buying players for media exposure and shirt sales, look no further . Surrounding himself with merchant banker types, and being rewarded for providing the biggest team in the world for no real outlay so the owners remained hands off, hello Mr Woodward.

Until his influence and his acolytes are removed and replaced by people with an idea of football structure, recruitment and playing style, we probably will suffer for a while yet. Not a comfortable thought , but reality with the Glazers in charge.
 

UpWithRivers

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I think were cursed. Everything we do turns to sht. Yeah you can say its the Glazers but they have spent a sht ton of cash. How is possible that every player turns out sht. Pogba was and is still lauded as one of the best midfielders in the world . We spent 90 mill on him. Sht. We just bought Ronaldo, Sancho and Varane for fks sake - we're still sht. In hindsight all of our managers we're meh but when we signed them everyone and their dog thought it was a good idea - ok maybe not everyone but a majority. Moyes was wanted by Sir Alex himself. He looks half decent at West Ham but for us he was a disaster. Van Gal was seen as a genius manager at the time. Mourinho was also supposedly a top manager. Ole was the hugs and Ralf the technical old school genius. We have tried it all and it just turns to sht. Cursed I tell you.
 

Butty19

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The main problem on the pitch is not having a director of football implementing and overseeing a style of play and philosophy. We’ve now got a mix of players from 5/6 different managers all with different ways of playing and now we are trying to get them to play another different style of football and wondering why it isn’t working. We’ve had business men making footballing decisions for the last 8 years and everytime it’s failed we try and go back to the United Way.

In my opinion Ralf is a good appointment and the fact he’s hopefully going to stay and help with the transition of the new manager gives me hope that a footballing man will atleast have some input in future decisions. I just hope his has the balls to drop the players that aren’t performing/listening to him at the moment. I’d much rather see the younger players given a chance because atleast they’ll bring a desire and energy that the team isn’t showing at the moment.
 

KingCavani

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Ask yourself who the common denominator has been through all this.

The club has been run into the ground at board/ownership level. It's almost impressive how little they've managed to get from how much we pay.
 

Lentwood

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1. We squandered the advantage we have built up over 15 years when the Glazers bought the club in 2005 and went through a 5YR period with a positive net spend on transfers as a means to meet the PIK loan interest payments

2. Our success and reliance on one man has led to a complete lack of innovation and failure to implement modern football structures for coaching and recruitment

3. We have approached the post-SAF years with the niaive/insane assumption that this is a quick fix, which a manager and one or two new signings can fix. We still have this assumption now.

4. We fail to realise how deep the problems go. Basically, everything is wrong. We have no discernible style or system. It's January 3rd and we haven't yet scored a goal from a set piece.

5. We have players running down contracts, able to talk to other clubs and leave on a free. We have handed contracts to players for absolutely no reason I can think of (Juan Mata/Phil Jones)

6. We sign players and then have no idea what to do with them (Sancho, DvB).

7. Our wage structure is the most appalling mess I have ever seen. The amount we overpay players is insane. We have two geriatric forwards on £750,000 per week. Our two GKs earn £500K per week. A bit-part player who has had one good season and will be off shortly (Martial) has earnt significantly more than our captain and other senior players for a while now. Our forwards earn significantly more than our defenders and midfielders, which might explain why there seems to be a "divide".

8. We have been run for the last eight years by an accountant, and it shows. I apologise in advance to all accountants, who are generally very intelligent and skilled professionals, but in my experience make terrible strategic decisions because all they care about are the bottom line. Only an accountant would have run United the way we have been run recently.

9. The tail wags the dog at United. We have players in the dressing room with more power than the managers. This is something the fans can help with, even if only in a small way. We have to stop putting individuals above the collective. If the manager believes Ronaldo/Cavani/De Gea/Pogba etc...should be left out or moved on, then so be it, we have to support that. SAF was an expert at it. We have lost that recently.

10. The recruitment is just an absolute utter, stinking shambles. It's actually hard to believe we have managed to do this badly given the money we have spent and the wages we pay. When did we last make an objectively "good" signing? Why are we incapable of unearthing anybody half useful without having to spend £60m? Personally, I don't think the likes of AWB, Maguire, Bruno, Varane etc...are terrible signings...but they were obvious signings, and cost us top dollar as a result. Where are the £20m bargains here and there to fill the squad out? I get we are Man Utd, clubs see us coming and add a zero, but that just means we have to get better at identifying talent earlier, or players who might have a contractual situation (release clause/expiration) that makes them easier to buy on the cheap. This approach of breaking the bank for one or two players every year isn't working. We fix one pothole temporarily and another opens up down the street. We need 4-6 senior signings per Summer window for 2/3 seasons now.

11. On the subject of utter, stinking shambles, our constant failure to cash in on players is a disgrace. Again, it's so bad its untrue. It's hard to believe that paid professionals are responsible when I believe a chimp drawing names out of a bag to sell on could do better. Why did we not sell Lingard in the Summer if we are not going to use him? Same with DvB. Why have we not cashed in on Pogba? Why is Henderson, a potential £50m asset, sat rotting on the bench? Why have we given away so many players over the years who we could have earnt good money for and balanced the books? Our Academy is prolific, so many of our ex-players feature regularly in the top two divisions, but how many have we received a fee for? It's so frustrating because it's so mind-numbingly obvious what needs to be done and it's so easy to fix. We have to get better at moving players on because that in-turn helps us bring in the quality we need. We need to stop with this romantic vision of the Academy producing first XI players. That should be viewed as an absolute bonus but a rarity. The Academy should be viewed as a way of filling out the 23 man squad and as a way of making money to buy first XI players.
 

Son

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Recruitment and overall arrogance didn’t help us. We thought we were bigger and better than what we actually are in reality.

The competition now is a higher standard. Certainly in Fergie’s latter days he wouldn’t have competed with Guardiola and Klopp.

These new managers with aggressive tactics and more flexible backroom setups have left us in the dust as a club.

Other clubs are set up to support their manager leaving them to focus on just training the players for the most part.

In my opinion top managers are now actual pure coaches not managers like Fergie running the club.
 

We need an rvn

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Not having football people making football decisions, our failure to actually build a modern set-up (DOF, technical director...) that ensures some sort of continuity. Bad managerial decisions starting with Moyes, overpaying for average or past it players, extending the contracts of players who shouldn't be at the club...
Ask yourself who the common denominator has been through all this.

The club has been run into the ground at board/ownership level. It's almost impressive how little they've managed to get from how much we pay.
The club is not run as a football club anymore, sadly.
We're all saying the same thing, but sadly in my opinion nothing will change unless we get new owners.

The current owners simply don't appear to have a long term strategy and the right people in place at the top level
 

KingCavani

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We're all saying the same thing, but sadly in my opinion nothing will change unless we get new owners.

The current owners simply don't appear to have a long term strategy and the right people in place at the top level
I think Ralf's appointment is a step in the right direction but we have to be patient and see the project out. Leave the footballing operations to the guys who know football. If we can turn around that aspect of the club then the revenue will take care of itself.
 

Schmiznurf

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Board who prefers commercialisation over football which has led to buying marquee signings instead of players who would fit the culture, ethos and style of our team. Which has in turn led to players earning way too much money, not giving a shit about the team, and not playing well. Poor hiring of managers and staff which has led to our teams not being properly coached and being whiny brats who would clearly rather do it their way than the managers way.
 

Solius

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There are so many obvious reasons but I think for a good few years we’ve suffered due to being a massive name still but not having the ability to back it up.

You notice how rarely teams have a bad day against us? They’re always fully up for it and every touch they make seems to be exactly what’s required. They’re 100% focused because it’s Manchester United. The issue is that our attitude and ability are no longer good enough to rise to that challenge. Our players find it hard to give a shit about Wolves, Newcastle and Norwich whereas they will bust a lung to beat us.

The manager needs to sort that attitude or remove the players who have it.
 

Tom Van Persie

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Poor recruitment of players and managers, bad coaching, lack of player development and long term planning. We were held together as a club by one man.
 

Nick7

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First up, people with no knowledge of football in main positions, like Ed. Then consistently poor and wrong managerial and coaching choices since 2013. Then, poor player purchases and overpayment of fees and wages since then. Everything has been wrong about Manchester United since Fergie and Gill left, except sponsorships.

What was it Ed said to Klopp? Adult version of Disneyland? All fun, no substance.
 

The Corinthian

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Glazers & Ed Woodward and a general lack of focus on footballing matters. It’s almost become secondary at the club.
 

bringbackbebe

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Moyes: When Sir.Alex left, Moyes sacked most of the coaching staff & insisted on bringing his staff. He shouldn't have been allowed to do that. We were introduced to Everton long balls and training routines that made us like Everton. IMHO, this alone set us back several years.

Lack of a clear playing vision: General rule is, you define a system, then staff players who fit into that vision. We have been doing the opposite - getting random players in and creating a system that suits them best. United never had a defined playing approach with SAF and we got away with it purely due to his genius. He was probably the only manager who could have got away with still being old school.

Other clubs being better run: The general level of competence in administration has improved in football, particularly in the EPL. Instead our approach first started with "Hiring a Scottish manager will solve all our problems", followed by "Hiring a reputed European manager will solve all our problems", followed by "Hiring the special one with a massive egotistical attitude will solve all our problems", followed by "Hiring a club legend will solve all our problems", followed by "Hiring a philosopher will solve all our problems", followed by....? This isn't really how clubs work any longer.

Poor recruitment: Not just in terms of money, but in terms of attitude. Pogba, Ibrahamovic, Di Maria, Depay, Lukaku, Sanchez and many many more. What were we trying to prove to the world? I look at some of the players we recruited and really wonder if they're ever really Manchester United players? We now listen to players to sack managers. What respect/fear do you think the player will have to the next manager who comes in?

Time for managers: We backed managers financially, but not with enough time. We played crap under Jose, but tbh, Jose was right in hindsight about many things including Martial & Pogba. We don't trust managers any longer. SAF in 1989 finished 11th? Why didn't we sack him then? There will be short term disturbances in performance levels. You cannot change managers every couple of years. Define a system of playing football, get the best manager there is capable of doing that job and stick with him for 4 years at least. I didn't think Jose should have been sacked, neither Ole. Maybe that's just me.

Club being run by accountants: Eddy, Glazers and co should stay away from football. Set the long term expectations, give the money and stay away from football for that period. Credits to them that our revenues and profits are still near the top even when we're crap in football. They're doing a great job on the commercial side but when this comes in the way of football, it gets disastrous.
 
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Magical Manchester United

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I honestly think it's some kind of psychological issue. The amount of players who come here with a good reputation and are underwhelming at best. Even Bruno seems to be catching the bug.

You get opposition fans saying things like "United fans are so entitled getting upset because they're not winning everything anymore" when that isn't the problem. Losing is one thing. Losing and being outperformed constantly is another. It's like the players are scared. Had we completely battered Wolves last night with Sa putting in a 10/10 performance and been sucker punched by a set piece we'd probably be thinking "disapponting but it happens. One of those days" Yet we were dominated by Wolves. At home. They battered us.
 

Skills

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Sentimentality. We're a multibillion pound club, in a multibillion pound industry ran on pure sentiment and a lack of ruthlessness.

Murtough's statement on them not being ready for Ole's departure summed us up. We've done the same for years - we weren't ready to move on from Mourinho, we weren't ready to move on from LVG (should've gone in mid season) and we should never have hired Moyes. Clubs feck up most of their hirings, but they don't double down and bet the entire house on them. Until we approach a colder and more ruthless approach top down, we'll be left behind by clubs who do.

We care way too much about the optics - doing things the "right way". feck that. Footballs ruthless and you're either winning or you're not.
 

SER19

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You don't get to simultaneously blame Ferguson and the Glazers. The board have been shown up as utterly incompetent, self interested businessmen and the fact that Ferguson managed to wrangle any degree of control while keeping them in check and keeping us successful is a miracle in itself. This in vogue trend of blaming Ferguson is lazy, embarrassing rubbish. What other manager in the world do you place the demand on to babysit the board and oversee the state of the club as well as win games? Because it can't be both, either you wanted Ferguson to surrender power and relinquish control to this incompetent mob earlier, while he was still manager, or you wanted to be successful for all those years we were. Rubbish, one dimensional thinking, the same as the utter myth that wont flush that he wasn't tactically sound, despite winning 13 titles and hitting 7 CL semi finals, winning it twice. Oh, that was just charisma and man management. Give him a dutch sounding name and you'd be creaming yourself in front of youtube highlights.
 

Slysi17

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I am in no way knocking getting British players. But I think a huge problem we have is the British players we have are not good enough. My team would be De Gea, Dalot, Bailly, Varane, Telles, Van De Beek, Fred, Sancho, Cavani and Ronaldo. The only British players that should play would be Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood. I rate Mason Greenwood but I don't think he is ready to be starting yet. Would be on the bench for me. I think the British Cliche is a huge problem. Maguire and now Shaw have given horrible interviews. Basically need a British cull at the club. But sadly it won't happen.
 

Tom Van Persie

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You don't get to simultaneously blame Ferguson and the Glazers. The board have been shown up as utterly incompetent, self interested businessmen and the fact that Ferguson managed to wrangle any degree of control while keeping them in check and keeping us successful is a miracle in itself. This in vogue trend of blaming Ferguson is lazy, embarrassing rubbish. What other manager in the world do you place the demand on to babysit the board and oversee the state of the club as well as win games? Because it can't be both, either you wanted Ferguson to surrender power and relinquish control to this incompetent mob earlier, while he was still manager, or you wanted to be successful for all those years we were. Rubbish, one dimensional thinking, the same as the utter myth that wont flush that he wasn't tactically sound, despite winning 13 titles and hitting 7 CL semi finals, winning it twice. Oh, that was just charisma and man management. Give him a dutch sounding name and you'd be creaming yourself in front of youtube highlights.
Well said.