By Adam Joseph
This season has been a pathetically humiliating disaster. No matter how it is spun, Manchester United have embarrassed themselves time and again. From on field matters to being played in the transfer market by their rivals, it has been a farce from the get go.
These events reached their penultimate stage last night, with a game left in the league and the FA Cup Final still ahead of them. United were swiftly dispatched by West Ham United at Upton Park 3-2, blowing a lead after trailing in a see saw contest.
But yet again the players for the most part (perhaps Anthony Martial and David De Gea aside) did not show up, and United were again found wanting when they really needed to dig deep and grind out a big result.
Following their Capitol One Cup defeat to Middlesbrough, or their Champions League group stage exit embarrassment, or one of the many humbling league defeats leaves the club’s season now on the brink.
This squad was not meant to win the title, that must be stated. However neither was Leicester’s, or Tottenham to challenge like they did. Injuries struck down United at the worst times but that is also a problem of their own making.
“I think smaller selections are always better, because you can give chances to youth players” Louis Van Gaal reiterated in December, and to an extent he has been right. But it borderlines at this point where United rely on kids to save them in crucial moments.
For all their brilliance, a club of Manchester United’s financial power and prestige should not be relying on a boy still finishing his school exams and a 20 year old Frenchman embarking on his first English Premier League campaign.
Also from David De Gea’s perspective, would you be tiring of saving the day time and again, only to end up in the Europa League (most likely) next season? Despite his passionate celebrations and no hint of displeasure, the world’s best goalkeeper should be playing at a higher level.
Quite simply, the men in charge of making decisions at the club have let themselves, the men beneath them at the club and their hundreds of millions of fans down. There is simply no getting around it.
Chasing commercial enterprises and business successes in fantastic, but it should go in tandem with winning. Ultimately, what happens on the field should take precedence. But it appears it does not.
Dithering around the Jose Mourinho appointment causes growing tension, and certainly cannot create a healthy environment at the club with so much speculation that cannot be ignored or be given clarification towards. United have become a tightly run ship with few leaks, but not responding to such constant speculation can only cause further angst.
To add further pressure and pain to the club, German rivals Bayern Munich continued to model their brilliant transfer acumen by announcing the dual signings of German International Mats Hummels and Portuguese starlet Renato Sanches for around the same mark of €35 million.
Sanches of course has additional bonuses which could raise the total in the range of €80 million, which was the rumoured fee with United for so long. This is a big pain point for fans and causes great confusion for them in an already troubling time.
How did Bayern Munich snake in after United had scouted Sanches 30 plus times and get a deal done inside two days? It has been confirmed by Di Marzio that United had not proceeded with a deal, which suggests that they scouted him so much because they simply weren’t sold on the player enough to invest Martial type money for him.
In that sense, it is fair enough. But for fans it might be more so the efficiency with which Bayern got a deal done. The problem for United there traces back to a lack of clarity on where they are heading manager wise.
To put in less complex terms, how can you make future plans for players when you don’t know who will be leading and coaching them? You can’t. Van Gaal has stated he is making plans for next season and the summer (transfer wise), and of course he is saying that.
It seems Van Gaal is firmly of the belief he will see out his original contract until the end of 2016/17, which either means he is deluded and can’t see the writing on the wall or he doesn’t know any better than the public do, and there’s the problem once again.
This all traces back to the systemic problem that the club is poorly run. The structure provided for the manager is nonexistent, and gives them very little chance to succeed. It has been shown through the tenure of David Moyes, and now Van Gaal.
Ed Woodward has proved to be incompetent in all football matters, whether on field or off field. He can’t be trusted to make player decisions nor personnel decisions. It is the elephant in the room at the club. How the Glazers don’t see it is continued bemusement to the fanbase.
Will the FA Cup be the saving grace (and barely one at that), or will Manchester City’s desperation to be 5th be sealed with a win at Swansea. It may not matter, with United needing to beat Bournemouth which is no guarantee.
West Ham last night was a disaster, but unfortunately it was only the latest in a continued timeline of bad performances and bad decisions which drive the club further downward.
Australia. Manchester United fan from back when they were the only team on Australian TV and it was love at first sight. Manchester United, Oklahoma City Thunder, New England Patriots and Carlton Blues fanatic. If it’s sport related, I’ll talk about it.
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