When Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, many Manchester United fans worried about the long-term stability of the club, and rightly so. The club and the fans have always took pride in the fact they always had a long-term manager and weren’t a ‘sacking club’ so-to-speak, like rivals Chelsea and Manchester City are considered.
Three years later and United are onto their fourth manager since Ferguson retired, not something that many fans would have envisioned. The romanticism in every fan wants club legend Ryan Giggs to lead the club to glory and stay with the club for 26 years like Sir Alex did. To be honest, I think a lot of people hoped David Moyes would be the long-term solution at Old Trafford but he lasted just ten months before he was sacked. That’s when Ryan Giggs got his first taste of the Manchester United hottest, after four interim games in charge.
After a year of turmoil at Old Trafford under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal was brought in to steady the ship, but no one realistically expected him to be the long-term solution, although many believed he could plant the seeds needed for long-term success, with his heavy use of youth players, as displayed during his stints at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Van Gaal eventually lost his job after two seasons of mediocre performances, although the emergence of Marcus Rashford and an FA Cup triumph I’m sure many would consider a success.
That brings us to the current boss Jose Mourinho who has had success at some of the biggest clubs in the world including Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Mourinho has a tendency to only stay at a club for around three seasons and is considered a short term success. When he was appointed at Manchester United, there was a feeling of finally. It seemed like one of the obvious appointments to fans when Sir Alex retired, as Mourinho is a manager who is not afraid to implement himself on the dressing room and drop players, even if you’re a club legend as Iker Casillas found out at Real Madrid.
There is a sense of fantasy when it comes to Mourinho and United. Many journalists believe this is his dream job and Jose himself said in his first press conference that “this is the job that everyone wants”, and Spanish journalist Diego Torres said Mourinho cried when David Moyes was hired as Manchester United manager, as he felt overlooked and let down by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Going back to the notion that Mourinho is a short term manager, he signed a three-year deal when he was hired by United and recently told the club’s official website, that he was open to the possibility of staying beyond that and has reiterated that United is where he wants to be, but feels he has to earn it;
“Let’s go step by step. I am at the beginning of my contract and the beginning of the process.
“If you ask me if I want to be successful here and if I want to stay longer than the three years, then yes, I would, because I am at the club where I want to be and I would love it.
“I have to deserve this, though, so let’s go step by step and see the evolution of my results. If one day the club thinks I deserve [another contract] then I would be proud of that, but I am just at the beginning.”
If Mourinho is at the place he wants to be then, that can only be a good thing for United. We know what he is capable of and United fans crave nothing more than success after being spoiled for 26 years under Sir Alex. The obvious fear with Mourinho is his tendency to split the dressing room and for the whole thing to go up in flames due to a meltdown. Many believe Mourinho’s Achilles heel is that he hasn’t proven he can manage a club for a long-term future. No doubt Mourinho wants to eradicate that belief. And where better to prove it then at Manchester United? Mourinho understands the importance of Ferguson to this club and looks up to him as the best. I can guarantee that Mourinho would love to cement his legacy at United and have people associate his name with the club because you get the sense that Mourinho sees this job as a huge opportunity, especially after what happened at Chelsea last season. Let’s hope Mourinho can take the club back to the top and it all ends happily ever after.