In May 2013, the greatest British football manager ever, Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
He is the most successful manager to ever grace the “beautiful game”. His record speaks volumes and was celebrating his final success in the game, by collecting Manchester United’20th league title. In his final words to the Old Trafford faithful, Ferguson pleaded with the United fans to “stand by our new manager, like you stood by me.” That man was David Moyes. The popular Everton manager had days been revealed as Ferguson’s successor. The hardest benchmark in world football had been laid.
Less than a full season had passed and David Moyes become the first manager in almost 30 years at United to be sacked. A major contradiction to what Sir Alex had stated on the Old Trafford pitch a year previously. There are so many opinions of the carnage that took place at Old Trafford in the first year without “Fergie”.
This “United Way” has sparked debate in the situation that has seen Moyes lose his job. What exactly is the United Way? The fans will tell you that it is about being the benchmark for other football teams. Manchester United are the world’s most reputable club and for good reason. The club is now on the New York stock exchange and is worth billions. David Moyes made some costly errors during his time.
The “United Way” is also said to mean that the club do not go about sacking managers on a regular basis. You have to go back 30 years to the last time a manager was sacked as manager of United. That was Ron Atkinson and his successor was Sir Alex. “Fergie” had built the club up from a sleeping giant to winners and never looked back. He developed a crop of young stars and laid down a ruthless approach to his dominance.
Taking over from the short lived reign of David Moyes at Old Trafford was Louis Van Gaal. The former Bayern, Barcelona and Netherlands boss brought a wealth of experience and success to Manchester. Ryan Giggs became his assistant in the dugout, with the Dutchman commenting that Giggs would eventually succeed him as manager.
His first season at the club was mixed and the team snuck into the coveted UEFA Champions League with a 4th place finish. A major difference between Moyes’ tenure at the club and LVG’s was the Dutchman was given freedom to “play” with the transfer market. LVG spent £160m in the Summer transfer window of 2014 and that included the loan signing of Columbian striker, Radamel Falcao and Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria, which was a British transfer record. By the end of an injury plagued season, Falcao finished with 4 goals. Di Maria showed promise at times, but the World Cup winner wanted out and left the club in the recent transfer window for PSG. These failed deals have attracted unwanted questions from United fans and other onlookers.
The millions were once again splashed in the summer and it would appear that Sir Alex Ferguson’s policy around the transfer market has been quickly extinguished. Only four players from Ferguson’s side remain on a regular first team sheet now at United and there is a new look to the way the club operates. LVG has tried to bring youth academy players into the fold and that is something that Ferguson was famous for. Not many have quite made grade yet as United’s first team continues to field world class names and this season has suggested that the club are back after two years of failure.
The club will soon see the departure of LVG, due to retirement and it is almost certain that Ryan Giggs will take over. Giggs knows the club inside out and has been there since a young boy. He is the most decorated player in the English game and came through the famed “Class of 92”. Giggs is learning the trade quickly and will have a heavy influence on the youth policy at Carrington (United’s training ground). Sir Alex was famous for implementing youth into his sides, but the game has changed and the money available to the Premier League teams is much more than he dealt with only a few years back.
Manchester United will always be one of the biggest franchises in the world, but when Ferguson retired it created a large hole at the club that has not and probably will not be filled any time soon. The football world has changed and Manchester United are one of the main players that is apart of it. United will continue to adapt, but the fans demand success immediately and currently the club are lagging behind their counterparts, something that Sir Alex Ferguson would never of allowed.
Twiiter - @Matt_Findlay19