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Manchester United – The Stumbling Fall of a Footballing Giant by the Glazers

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In 2005 a takeover took place at England’s most successful and decorated club. Malcolm Glazer bought a majority stake at Manchester United and in doing so put the club in debt. United at the time were the best club in the country by miles and among the top contenders for the prestigious UEFA Champions League as well. But nothing lasts forever. The Glazers takeover set in motion a chain of events that would cripple the club in years to come.

Malcolm Glazers
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With Sir Alex Ferguson still at the wheel in 2005 and a squad studded with global superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, the ill effects of this takeover were not felt instantly as the club continued to dominate. The club lifted 5 more Premier League titles as well as the Champions League between 2005 and 2013.

As United lifted their 20th league title in 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement. Then came the landslide that has brought the club to the mess it is in today. David Gill stepped down as Deputy Chief Executive with the Glazers giving way to Ed Woodward to take over as Executive Director at the club. David Moyes was appointed as the manager and the downfall began.

A lack of activity in the transfer market urgently needed to strengthen an ageing squad proved very costly to United that season. With Moyes unable to step into the shoes of the almighty Sir Alex Ferguson, United sat 7th in the league table, their lowest position in decades. The fans who were so accustomed to success revolted and David Moyes was sacked 10 months into his 6 year contract.

David Moyes came after Glazers
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Then came Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal. Van Gaal was a highly decorated and highly successful manager. He had won the Champions League with Ajax and had tons of coaching experience at the biggest teams in the world such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the Dutch national team. The board provided financial support to Van Gaal spending over 200 million in the transfer window. The club smashed the English transfer record fee to bring in Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid and Monaco star man Radamel Falcao on loan.

While these signings may have been impressive on the face of it, others such as Luke Shaw, Dailey Blind, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo were average players whose signings began a culture of accepting mediocrity at the club. Due to a lack of a structured scouting system United were left chasing global stars who would cost astronomical amounts. To make matters worse the Glazers failed to pull off most of it’s marquee signings and was left with neither Superstars nor promising talent for the future.

In a recent interview Van Gaal has claimed that he asked Ed Woodward to bring him players such as Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos, Neymar, Lewandowski and a host of other global superstars. He believed that a club the stature of Manchester United should have the financial strength as well as global appeal to get deals for world class players over the line. Once again Woodward and the Glazers disappointed and Van Gaal was stuck with an under performing and unhappy Di Maria, a constantly injured Falcao and a host of other players that were just not good enough to mount a serious title challenge.

Glazers once again failed to deliver the stars that Van Gaal wanted
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United’s woes in the transfer market continued as the 2015/16 season approached. The Glazers once again failed to deliver the stars that Van Gaal wanted and instead bought Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay and a 31 year old Bastian Schweinsteiger. With the fans screaming for more players, the board overpaid for AS Monaco teenager Anthony Martial breaking the record fee for a teenager and paying 36 million pounds for a player they could have signed for a lot lesser had they negotiated from the start instead of waiting till the end and being forced into a panic buy.

Martial was a bright spark in an otherwise dull season. Manchester United failed to qualify for the Champions League yet again. Louis Van Gaal was sacked following an FA cup win. The board had  failed to back yet another manager. United’s woes continued.

In 2016 along came Jose Mourinho. A serial winner and a long time admirer of the United job. He was backed convincingly in his first transfer window. United smashed the world transfer record fee for Paul Pogba. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was signed on a free transfer. Ivorian Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were also added to Jose’s army. Mourinho led this team to three trophies in his first season. He won the Community shield, the Carabao cup and the Europa league. In the next window he was backed once more with signings of  Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic. However the club failed to bring in a much needed winger. Long drawn talks with Inter Milan collapsed when the Glazers haggled over trinkets and refused to pay an additional 5 million pounds.

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Mourinho finished the 2017/18 season with 86 league points. He was second only to the phenomenal Manchester City team that won the title with a record breaking 100 points. The team had progressed significantly under Jose and looked set to mount a title challenge in the coming years. However the incompetence of the board struck again.

In January of 2018, midway through the season, Alexis Sanchez arrived from Arsenal in a swap deal for an under performing Mkhitaryan. While this seemed to be a great deal the greater implications were not considered. United had offered Sanchez a ridiculous contract paying him 500 thousand pounds a week. This created severe imbalance in the United wage bill and also prompted other top players to demand higher  wages. This put additional pressure on the club’s financial resources. To make matters worse, Sanchez never hit the ground running at United and was loaned out to Inter Milan a year and a half later with the deal eventually becoming permanent.

At the end of the 17/18 season Mourinho identified that his team needed a reliable center back to take them to the next level. United were linked with Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham. The transfer saga raged all summer long as the United board haggled over trinkets and finally ended up walking away from both transfers. This left Jose furious and his relationship with top management as well as the Glazers deteriorated.

In addition to this, seeds of discontent were sown between Mourinho and star man Paul Pogba. Jose was beginning to lose the dressing room and the situation continued to become more and more toxic. United ended up with just one signing in the transfer window. Fred arrived from Shakhtar to join the club.

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With the lack of stability at the club and growing dissent in the dressing room, Mourinho’s third season in charge was off to a horrible start. As a result, Mourinho was sacked in December of 2018. The board had failed to back their man once again and had hung him out to dry just as he had brought the team on the cusp of a title challenge. It was a disgrace and an embarrassment and showed the world the lack of footballing brains and ambitions that were running the club at the highest level.

With Jose gone club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed as the interim manager. After a run of great results and positive vibes, he was given the job permanently on a three year contract. And the cycle began again.

The club signed Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace and Harry Maguire from Leicester City. United had once again overpaid for a player worth well below the 80 million they paid for Maguire. The club once again haggled over trinkets for Bruno Fernandes of Sporting Lisbon. With Paul Pogba sustaining a long term injury, the United midfield was left threadbare. The signing of Bruno was essential. But the management dropped the ball again and failed to get the deal over the line.

The season was off to a dismal start yet again with United struggling to win games. This forced the club to sign Bruno Fernandes in January. Bruno had an instant impact on the team and they started winning games. This clearly showed the incompetence of the Glazers and the importance of getting the deal done in the summer. Instead of competing for the title United were left chasing a top 4 finish.

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Ole managed to drag this team to a 3rd place finish which was a commendable achievement considering where they were a few months ago. The team is brimming with world class talent such as Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford. It also has experienced professionals like Paul Pogba Bruno Fernandes and David de Gea. The team is in prime position to make a come back to the top tier of European football. All it needs is a push in the right direction with a few signings in crucial positions. However, the board is letting everyone down as usual.

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United have spent the entire summer chasing Dortmund starboy Jadon Sancho. With Dortmund refusing to budge on their 120 million asking price, United have stagnated again. Instead of working on attacking alternatives or much needed defenders, United have spent the entire summer in a passive state and only signed Donny Van de Beek.

With Major links to much needed Sergio Reguilon arising in the last couple of weeks, United fans developed a sense of false hope. This did not last long however as the abysmal negotiation skills of the United board reared it’s ugly head again. With United struggling to reach an agreement with Real Madrid, Spurs have pounced at the opportunity. They have matched the asking price for the player and accepted the associated clauses. Reguilon has reportedly agreed to join Spurs once again leaving United in embarrassment.

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Thinking with the fans hat on, it is very painful to see the club you love being run by greedy and money hungry owners and management. A recent report exposed that since taking over in 2005, the Glazers have taken 2 billion dollars out of the club to pay dividends to shareholders and fund other ventures. In the same time they have invested absolutely nothing back in.

In addition to this, the club is in a debt of over 500 million dollars. The Glazers are destroying the legacy that Sir Alex Ferguson built over 26 years. The club is becoming a joke on a global stage. It is becoming intolerable for fans to see how the club is run.

There is a complete lack of direction and football expertise  at the highest level of the club. The owner himself knows very little about Football. The club is being treated as a profit making enterprise and nothing more. These owners are parasites who are draining the club’s resources and destroying it’s legacy. There is very little we as fans can do to stop this. We can only hope for some kind of miracle to get these monsters out of the club and turn things around.

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