A Tale of Dramatic Turnarounds at the Pioneer of Success-Manchester United

                                                                                                                         -SHUBHANKAR

A game that creates legacies, Football is much more than that. A game loved by millions around the world, football is like a heartbeat for its lovers. Football has seen many clubs from different countries dominate the world football, be it Real Madrid from Spain or Bayern Munich from Germany. But as is very well said by someone that Success doesn’t last for long, and that has been the story of one of the most prolific and greatest club in football history, i.e., Manchester United. The England based football was established in 1878 and was named Newton Health LYR F.C, later changed to Manchester United. The past decade saw Manchester United slip from being one of the best teams of the world to now competing for a Champions League spot.

How I see it, the difference between the Manchester United from the 2012/13 season (Last time when they won the League Title) to now, is the wrong managerial transition they had from that season. The 2012/13 was the last for the legend, Sir Alex Ferguson. When the legend left, the board replaced him with David Moyes, a veteran who managed Everton for 11 long years before joining Manchester United. The term of David Moyes didn’t last long as his 6-year long contract ended just after not even completing a full season as he was sacked in the 2013/14 season. The veteran manager didn’t settle at all in Manchester United and the team finished 7th in the Premier League, meaning no European Football action straightaway after Sir Alex Ferguson left. Moyes majorly struggled with the transfers that season as he signed Marouane Fellaini for a whooping 27.5 million Euros. But the move didn’t work well as he didn’t get any goals in the 21 matches he played that season.

The search for a manager which could recreate the legacy of Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson did continued as the board brought in the Dutch manager Louis van Gaal. The Dutch manager steadied the ship but couldn’t help Manchester United win the premier league. The surge for a premier league title continued on as the club legend Wayne Rooney’s form saw a dip and worsened the case for Manchester United winning the Premier League title before he moved back to his boyhood club Everton in the 2017/18 season. The dip in his form can be seen in the graph below:

The above graph clearly shows how the graph of Wayne Rooney’s goals dropped down drastically leaving Manchester United in a somewhat of hopeless position to challenge for the premier league title. After the arrival of Jose Mourinho as a manager, Wayne Rooney found that the new manager had no special interest in the legend and wanted to rebuild the team and then he went onto his boyhood club Everton. Jose brought in Romelu Lukaku as a preferred striker for the red devils and formed a new striking partnership for Manchester united by pairing Romelu Lukaku with Alexis Sanchez. The result was a very effective one for the Reds as they finished the 2017-18 season at the 2nd spot in the premier league, behind the rivals Manchester City who were way ahead of them securing 100 points that season. That season was a glimpse of what world class manager like Jose Mourinho could do at Manchester United but the 2018-19 season didn’t went as planned as Jose was sacked mid-way into the season.

According to me, the sacking was way too early and harsh by the Manchester United board as Jose was the one who brought Manchester United closet to the premier league title after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. The main reason for his sacking were the media reports about rising conflicts between him and the star midfielder Paul Pogba. The rumours were right as on many occasions Mourinho even benched Paul Pogba and that didn’t result well for him as well as the team. The sacking of Jose Mourinho was more of a player-based sacking rather than the board sacking him. This decision by the board didn’t help the cause as he was the one who could have helped Manchester United recreate those glory days back. Currently the situation has definitely improved under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who has brought in loads of young talent in the squad and has given the academy players to shine, be it Marcus Rashford or Daniel James or the new signings like Aaron Wan Bissaka or the latest signing of Bruno Fernandes which has completely changed the outlook of the team. The team can challenge for even the European Title if the youngsters are properly groomed by Ole and can bring those old glory days back at the Old Trafford.

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