Fergie is as much to blame as Glazers and Ed for Man Utd mess

Date published: Thursday 23rd January 2020 2:31

Sir Alex Ferguson Manchester United

Thank you for you mails. Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com


Why is Fergie exempt?
The emails regarding the Manchester United situation and Ole have been coming in non-stop.

The one thing that has surprised me is that Sir Alex Ferguson is never blamed for the situation at the club. The truth of the matter is, despite all that he did for the club, when he left, he played a major role in choosing a successor, and chose a friend, rather than a man more qualified for the job.

He also left behind a depleted squad with very little value. It’s true that he did win the league with them, but that was only due to SAF magic, and after stretching the squad so thin, considering the age of their best players, the downturn in form was inevitable.

If the blame game is to be played, SAF must shoulder just as much blame as the Glazers and Ed for not having a long term succession plan in place. I honestly believe this was a calculated move on his part, to ensure that he is seen as the best manager ever. Nothing would say that more than a spectacular failure of his successors.

Blasphemy or Truth?
Pherain, JHB


Still the same tired message
The boys have given everything they have got but they are experiencing this period for the first time in their lives. When you are at Manchester United you are playing at the biggest and best club in the world.

The above is Ole after the defeat last night… things will not change until there is an acceptance that football isn’t still in the early 2000s. On what measure are UTD the biggest club in the world ? Performance ? Playing style ?Trophies ? Stadium ? , Finances ? Fans ?

15 years ago you could certainly make a poignant argument that they could have been top in 5 of the above 6 categories. Today they are not top in any of them yet there is still this deluded , stuck in the dark ages notion that because they once were the biggest fish in the pond that they are still the biggest and the best. That singular belief causes an inordinate amount of problems which are not going away under the current management.

I have sympathy for their two best players ( Rashford and Pogba) being injured but every side has injuries and the afore mentioned two players being out certainly does not affect their defensive performance.

UTD are now LFC circa late 90s , still believing their own hype , their own right and that by throwing money at the problem ala Neville’s 6 players comment that things will be back to normal.

LFC did exactly what UTD are currently doing and look how long it has taken for them to get back to the upper echelons. UTD will come good again on that point Neville is correct but every week that is wasted under the current ownership , management , and structure will take twice as long to ultimately rectify. It will take three times as long every time the “UTD way “ is mentioned.

The buck stops at the top… simple as.
DL , LFC ( I’m available at CF for the Euros) Geneva


Sending my thoughts
Dear ed,

Considering United’s current predicament, I can’t help but wonder, could things have been different for them if they’d kept Van Gaal and given him Pogba? From his last season, I remember them being defensively sound, but playing sterile possession football. However if you look at the squad he had, he didn’t have any creative midfielders. Considering his CV and what came after, in hindsight did he deserve more time? I’m curious to know, what Man United fans think.

Anyway, what a time to be a Liverpool supporter!
Vivek, Football fan,Bangalore (Sad to see a great club being run to the ground by greedy owners)


Doom and gloom
Dear editor,

After ruminating over the night, I have finally found a sliver of hope that Ole can perhaps use in his memoir about his time at united; the absolute vicious state of late-stage capitalism (2005-2025). Sporting institutions/clubs are and were always supposed to be vehicles for social good. Now I am not sure how a moral argument can be made about the fact that a billion UKP (or thereabouts, who even cares at this point) has been taken of Manchester United Football Club for the privilege of being owned by the Glazers and it is at its current state a carcass of what it once was.

As an “international” fan who has never lived in Manchester, my love and devotion for the club came from my neighbor at the time, who was from manchester, and United was how I got introduced to football and not the other way around. My love for the club has translated in me making life long relationships with United fans from different cultures and societies, it is a universal bond that transcends race, creed, color and socio-economics and therefore the sanctity of sporting institutions had to be effectively protected from people seeking to commercialize our emotion.

This being the case, I am appalled that social institutions like a football club have been allowed to be the victims of convoluted financial instruments used to perpetuate the concentration of wealth at the top. A “leveraged-buy out” where the glazers put in 200m UKP (basically Neymar money) and then loaded a once debt-free institution with close to 500-600m Pounds of leverage(debt), which I will remind you is again provided by banks and institutions on the back of savings and pensions of the middle class worker, in order to buy a culturally significant institution that is at the heart of the world of football and in the consciousness of millions of people world over, has to be one of the most coherent arguments to be made against Capitalism.

Manchester United as a club that I grew up loving no longer exists and that is just a fact and I blame capitalism (this includes the system of politicians, media and the regulatory institutions). The democratic and financial institutions that were designed to protect the interests of the common man are broken. The fact that 60 minutes of Andries Pereira led me to write this letter is another argument against Capitalism. I am not British and I do not have any vested interests or political affiliations but please vote sensibly in your elections and put people in charge that actually care about humanity.

Apologies for the rant and not making a coherent point, Manchester United has broken me.

Azhan (Dubai)


Something is rotten in the state of Manchester
I’ve been going to Old Trafford every now and then since 1991, and finally got a season ticket three years ago (a master of comic timing), and that was without doubt the nadir.

On the pitch, everything was awful, obviously, in all the ways that we’ve come to know and love. Matic running very slowly 20 yards until he sees an opponent, then sadly turning round very slowly and passing backwards, Jones being Jones, Pereira being Pereira, Danny James being a 12 year old trying really hard to impress on his first game for the under 15s. It was all there, and we finally got the result we deserved.

Off the pitch that was the most mutinous I’ve heard OT by a distance, and in the parlance of our times, you love to finally hear it. I’ve seen some pearl-clutching about some of the more extreme chanting (which I only heard outside the ground rather than in), and it isn’t nice and probably shouldn’t happen, but singing about hypothetical deaths is surely a step up from singing about actual real ones that actually happened to actual people. So that’s progress.

So what has to change? Well, Ole isn’t good enough, that much is obvious, and should cement his legend status by resigning and taking a huge swipe at the owners on the way out. We are lacking in almost every area of the pitch, that too is clear. But I honestly believe that Fergie and Shankley co-managing Pele, Messi and peak-era Djemba Djemba would still struggle to change things. There’s a toxicity at the club coming from the top down, that pervades whoever the manager is, and whoever seems to play.

I dunno what the answer is, but I’m starting to worry it might be my fault. Does anyone want a season ticket?
George (Glazers Out, Woodward Out, George Wright Out) Wright, SALFORD


Switching Ole camps
Throughout his tenure I have been moderately firmly in the Ole-in camp, believing, still rightly, that it would be impossible to undo numerous windows of poor recruitment from LVG and Jose in just one summer. While I knew the summer clear out had left us a tad thin in some areas I thought it would be a good chance to see what the youth prospects could do at the highest level.

However, irrespective of his thin squad I am starting to come to the realisation – what is Ole actually for? This is a guy supposedly willing to give youth a chance and yet, in the midst of an injury crisis in midfield do we see young players comfortable on the ball like Garner? No. We get Matic. Every single match. Likewise up top, we hear reports that Chong doesn’t want to sign a new contract. Now I’m not saying I’ve seen anything from him to make me worry about this but what better time to at least give him a go than now? Same with Gomes. Instead we rely on known failures like Lingard and Pereira.

We’ve seen how a well coached youth team can dispatch more established names when Liverpool humiliated their local rivals. I see no evidence of any coaching going on at United based on the stodgy static movement we saw last night. Ole seems to still be stuck in the past in believing players just need to ‘express themselves’ in attack and they’ll rip open the oppositions defence. Newsflash – defences are too good nowadays and the best coaches have systems both for attack and defence. Why otherwise do Man City seem to score the same goal over and over again? Yes they have fantastic players but they are drilled to stretch opposition defences in a certain way and have faith that eventually it will work.

I had thought a good January window would be at least one midfield signing and, in light of Rashford’s injury, a striker. Now I think these signings plus a change of manager would be the ideal scenario and it gives me no pleasure to say this about such a club legend.




It’s fair to say Ole has been on his ‘L’s’ for some time and it seems his full bus licence is still some distance off, so instead of Ole being at the wheel perhaps he needs to move to the back and let someone else have a laugh. Like the fans. I suggest for the rest of the season we offer the management of MUFC to one lucky fan per month. It couldn’t really be any worse. They pick the team, the formation and the strategy and fair play see how they go. If they’re shit next in line. It can’t be any worse than the dross we have been seeing since SAF left.
Hayesy (expat Aus)


Ever since Ferguson left, there has always been some hope by fans that it is not long before United will turn a corner. I think its time for fans to start facing the reality that with the current management, this may not happen for a long long time.

For the past few years, United has been handing inflated contracts to ageing or under par players creating a bloated squad nowhere near capable of even competing for Champions League places. At the same time, quality players like Herrera were let loose on freebies or on the cheap. Alright that’s excusable. They seem to have more money then sense so why not? But then, on the other hand, we see them trying to save money by offloading players that could provide backup in case of injuries or failing to secure replacements for departing players simply because Ed decided to become stingy to please the Glazers. All that is actually happening is that under Ed’s eyes, United is being fleeced by players, their agents and other clubs alike. “Got a player you dont want and no club wants to pay for? Let’s just sell him to United. It’s oh so easy to pull one on him” is the talk of the football world.

Coming to Ole. He’s not right for the job, never was. But its the same management that seem to make the wrong decision when it comes to each player so why expect them to act smart when it comes to hiring and firing managers? Ole is merely a symptom of the malaise at United not the source.

United have gone from being one of the biggest clubs in the world to not even being able to compete with selling clubs like Borussia Dortmund for players. That is exactly how low United’s stock has fallen under Ed and Ole. The only players willing to come are those looking for a quick buck and whom no other top or even middle table club wants.

Give Ole and Ed a couple more years and they will be celebrating surviving relegation each year. It is surprising that the owners can see the noodles sponsorship money but can’t see how almost a billion dollars has been squandered by Ed on transfers and just as much, if not more, by paying inflated salaries to players. Nowhere else on Earth would such ineptitude be acceptable. Ed rightly said a year or so ago that we can do things other clubs could only imagine of. He is right. No other CEO in the world could even imagine being so incompetent yet still keep his job. That can only happen at United.


Everthing is awesome
To the MU fans bemoaning Ole, Ed and the Glazers…it was you ‘knowledgeable supporters’ clamouring for Ole in the first place and Ed and the Owners duly obliged.  Don’t forget Ole has your DNA and knows his way around the Cliff.  They gave you what you forcefully asked for (at the same time as Cardiff fans were sniggering amongst themselves).  You need to stop complaining, or start taking the blame.  You and your ‘United Way’ delusion are the problem.  You live in a deluded state, ignorant of all but a post 1990 history…please continue with it.

Also, to a significant proportion of you who are clearly struggling with the fact that the ‘reflective glow’ of success that you once clung to, is now faded and you don’t like the lack of glory anymore (Eamonn, Dublin & Tim Sutton to start with, but there are many more).  Tough luck I guess.  Hopefully you’ll continue drying into your Giggsy duvet and persevere through the non glorious times (like all proper supporters would).  Most proper supporters find you and your pain hilarious though, so please continue.

Basically, to the owners, staff, players, supporters, ‘fans’ and anyone else associated with MU…please continue doing what you’re doing…this is awesome.


(And to think…it all started with Sir Alex and the Rock of Gibraltar. As this is most definitely happening ‘in his lifetime’, I wonder if he ever ponders his part in the downfall)


Give him time…
Please oh please give him more time. United once again undone by a low block. With that in mind here’s a characterisation of United since Fergie’s departure to the track list of Bloc Party’s 2005 debut: Silent Alarm;

1. “Like Eating Glass” – The feeling the fans have watching the team trying to break down defensive teams

2. “Helicopter” – Hurried January Signings

3. “Positive Tension” – The feeling opposition garner from the Old Trafford atmosphere, how Ole views muscle fatigue, Mino Raiola

4. “Banquet” – What Liverpool fans are enjoying right now

5. “Blue Light” – Man City

6. “She’s Hearing Voices” – José Mourinho

7. “This Modern Love” – Social media, the real metric of success.

8. “Pioneers” – The unwanted records this current United team are breaking

9. “Price of Gas” – Man City

10. “So Here We Are” – Acceptance and passivity in sticking with Ole cause he did a goal in 99

11. “Luno” – tics those who think that way

12. “Plans” – The lack of at United on and off the pitch

13. “Compliments” – There are none
Damien Quill


For all the argument about  Solskjaer  the most damning fact is surely this: If you offered fans of any Premier League club the chance to swap for him, would any say yes? Absolutely not. Not Norwich who are bottom, not Newcastle who are hardly Steve Bruce enthusiasts, not anyone.

Maybe even more damning, if your club’s manager was sacked and you could pluck any manager from another Premier League team, ignoring previous allegiance, just based on perceived managerial talent, what would the order be? Klopp or Guardiola I’m sure would be first. Nuno, Ancelotti or Rodgers next? Hasenhuttl would be in the top half, probably with  Maybe Chris Wilder. Eddie Howe still has admirers. I’m sure some would be happy to take a punt on Arteta. Mourinho, for all his flaws, would certainly be above Solskjaer. As would Sean Dyce and Graham Potter.

So where would Solskjaer come on a list of in demand managers? Above Steve Bruce? Maybe, although Bruce has this Newcastle team only 4 points behind United, so he’s certainly performing better. David Moyes? That’s like choosing between a punch in the face or a kick in the unmentionables, but I’d probably go Moyes.

Solskjaer is terrible, good for nothing more than giving the rest of the Premier league a right good laugh. He may not be the only problem but he is a massive problem. If there’s a hole in your ship and it’s also on fire, you don’t say “There’s no point putting the fire out, the ship is sinking.” You try to fix both.

The continued problems at United are not a reason to keep Solskjaer they are a reason to get rid of him. To extend the metaphor, if your ship is on fire, leaking, the navigation system is broken, pirates are approaching and there’s an iceberg ahead, you don’t give the job to the ensign and hopes he learns the ropes quickly. You put someone competent in charge, who can actually help to solve your problems.

But hey, it’s comedy gold, so long may it continue.
Mike, LFC, London


Favourite Man Utd balls ups…
I used to hate Man United. I really despised them for dominating domestic football for 20 years. It started with Bruce scoring 2 against Sheffield Wednesday in 6 minutes of injury time that only existing in Fergie’s magic watch to the growing and sustained intimidation and hounding of refs by both players and Red Nose to scoring more injury time winners than I think my own team have ever scored goals. More than anything though I hated the prawn sandwich brigade who revelled in United’s success. All those fans (not the ones before) who jumped on the United bandwagon and gorged themselves on the success that came their way. I bloody hated it.

To be clear though, I really rated United’s players over that period – some of the finest I’ve ever seen and clearly fair play to the club for achieving all they did over the last 20-odd years – there is no way I ever imagined the team with the biggest ground, greatest manager, best commercial set up and most money to pick off any player they wanted from most domestic rivals would ever face a period in the wilderness. I know the same happened to Liverpool in the 90s but the domination of United and their commercial power made me feel their current predicament would never befall them.

To say once again though  – I’m absolutely relishing it. Week by week, decision by decision things seem to be getting worse and worse for the one time Death Star of English football – and the crazy (and even more lovely) thing is this is all their own doing. No external rival has caused this. United are ballsing this up themselves and I bloody love having a front row seat in the fall of Rome. Rarely does an empire fall because of one bad decision – there are often a catalogue of bad calls made as a result of things like overconfidence, a lack of understanding about how the world is evolving around them, and a failure to preserve the core pillars that got them to the top of the ladder in the first place.

People talk about a United way as being attacking football with exciting wingers and deadly strikers. That was only possible though because the pillars of, for example, outworking other teams, bringing in new insights (assistant managers), buying hungry players on the verge of greatness if given the right platform, and keeping players hungry and on their toes through a mix of fear and high, very high standards set by the manager and senior players. In a way these things were ‘the United way’ – the kind of football that followed was a result of this. Decision after decision though over the last 10-15 years removed those pillars, which caused the type of football its fans thought comes automatically with their season ticket/Sky subscription disappear. Results followed these out the door soon after.

I’ve spent my morning at work thinking of the top 6 stupidest decisions that United have made over the last decade or so that is resulting in their glorious dismantling. I’d be interested if mailboxers agree or think I’ve missed any crucial ones. In reverse order:

6. Bringing in Ole – no track record of note and too scared to park in the old gaffer’s spot. Not a club builder but probably a great reserve team manager

5. Woodward’s transfer strategy – lurching from one thing to another. Also includes paying £85m for McGuire – delicious and trying to buy ready-made superstars such as Pogba rather than the next player that was ready to use United to become a superstar

4. Moyes giving Rooney a new contract when he joined the club – when Fergie had said he had wanted out the club. A massive missed opportunity to stamp his authority on the club and keeping everyone else on their toes by selling Wazza. The first time it was demonstrated that a player was bigger than United.

3. Allowing Fergie and Gill to retire at the same time – unbelievable loss of knowledge at the top of the club.

2. Moyes replacing Fergie’s backroom staff with his team from Everton. This is totally totally hilarious – what knowledge was left at the club was kicked out by the new guy. He never twigged that it might not be a good idea to replace all the staff, knowhow and culture from a phenomenally successful organisation in one go right at the start of his tenure, and instead replace them with guys who have operated at a much lower standard.

1. Fergie falling out with JP McManus and – ultimately resulting in them selling up to the Glazers, who are taking money out the club at a rate of knots and will ultimately sell the remaining carcass to the Saudis.


The perfect storm
I remember not that long ago, the chatter around the hows and whys of Leicester’s remarkable run to the Premier League title in 2016 and how godawful the traditional frontrunners were that season (bar Spurs, right up until their end of season collapse). A set of circumstance both of Leicester’s own making and of external circumstance made it so their victory became inevitable.

Fast forward 4 years and the same is happening again, this time in Liverpool’s favour. Game week after game week, the utterly inconsistent “chasing” pack have allowed Liverpool to run away with it, far beyond the expectations of anyone connected to the club. That is not to take away from the relentlessness with which they’ve gone about ending their 30-year wait. But the unmitigated calamity they are leaving in their wake has been laughable, and at times an embarrassing advert for The Greatest League in The World (TM). Does this take away from their impending achievement? No, of course not. But there is no getting away from the fact this season has seen a dramatic drop in quality from 2nd place down.

All of which is to say, if anyone not in possession of the League Table asks you, barring Liverpool how bad everyone else has been this season, just tell them that Newcastle, on 30 points and currently sat in 14th, are only 4 points off 5th. Yes, 5th.

Mike Ashley is currently looking for ways to curtail this possible run to the Europa League as we speak.
James F, BCFC KRO (We were robbed Wed night)


The most over priced transfer in premier league history?
I was shocked watching Manyoos game yesterday. Not by the fact they were losing 2-0 to Burnley at Old Trafford, because that stadium holds no fear whatsoever for any opponent now. I was shocked at how poor Maguire actually is. It had been clear for a while that he is extremely awkward on the ball and cumbersome and slow. He was embarassed by Lacazette at the Emirates a few weeks back and left on the floor. He got humiliated by Wijnaldum at Anfield by rushing out for the ball and getting nutmegged leading to a big chance for Mane.

However, he is absolutely bang average at the one thing I would have expected him to be decent at, being a big brute.

Against Liverpool, he got absolutely man handled and bullied by 21 year old Joe Gomez , and then beaten in the air by Van Dijk. Today, he just made mistake after mistake after mistake when aerial balls came into the box. Shocking defending in the air from someone who apparently was known for that being his biggest strength. And this has nothing to do with the quality of defenders around him or the system he is playing in. All the examples I’ve given are of him being exposed in one on one situations and showing a lack of quality, composure and intelligence.

I have to take my hats off to Leicester. They are on the sunny side of what surely has to be the most over priced transfer in the history of the premier league. 80 million? Madness….
johnnyWicky, Toronto


Don’t much care about any club other than my own, but if Manchester United ruin lovely Harry Maguire then I will never forgive them.
Jeremy Aves


Squeaky bum time in the transfer window
With it looking like Lyons Dembele staying put, Timo Werner already getting fitted for his Liverpool jersey and Cavani wanting to go to Atletico and probably prepared to wait until the summer to make the move he wants, it does not look good for Chelsea, Man United and Totenham in their search for competent striker cover. Looking around Europe for realistic alternatives and i can not find too many, the only two I can realistically see are Luka Jovic or krzysztof Piatek. If one of the three manages to push a deal for a decent striker over the line it may be enough to clinch that 4th spot. What ever happens it’s going to be interesting.
Aaron. CFC. Ireland


Mourinho up to his old tricks
I see Jose is up to his old tricks again, it wasn’t going to take long for the cheery, smiling Jose facade to drop.  The whole world is against him and the bad luck he keeps getting means nothing bad can be down to him and anything good must be some minor miracle down to him and him alone.  Am I missing something when Jose is moaning about Spurs’ back luck with injuries?  Kane tore his hamstring, not easy for a team to lose their most important player agreed but all the top teams have lost important players for long periods, and then all he has out injured is a left back and 2 central mids and he’s complaining about having no attacking options. A quick look at the Premier League injury table shows 13 teams with as many or more injuries than Spurs.

I’m sure Steve Bruce and Newcastle fans will scoff at Jose’s injury list.  Obviously Jose is using his media duties to send a message to his Chairman to go in to the transfer market, the only way Jose knows how to solve a problem.  I know quite a few Spurs fans who would like Parrott to get a chance, but he’s not even on the bench for Jose.Rumours are the Spurs squad are not happy with Jose’s ‘little Tottenham’ and us against the world mentality, particularly after Pochettino successfully rid Spurs of that psychological inferiority complex.  He’s already had a bust up with Rose, publicly sidelined Eriksen by saying his mind is on his move, said Ndombele isn’t fit enough and Sissoko isn’t disciplined enough to play central midfield.  The guy is a one man wrecking ball for clubs.
Rich AFC


Enjoy the season…
Can we ignore the «Ole out» tedium and enjoy the closeness of the mid-table battle?

5 teams on 30 points

10 teams within 4 points of 5th place

10 teams within 7 points 19th place

So many seasons the last few rounds of matches are full of dead rubbers, but this one looks like it will go down to the wire for almost every position except the top 3
James, Switzerland

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