Is it time for the Manchester United board to consistently trust their manager?


In a recent interview with beIN Sports, ex-Manchester United manager David Moyes shed some light on his torrid 10-month tenure as the club’s gaffer where he spoke about the club being really close to signing the likes of Cesc Fàbregas and Gareth Bale in the summer he took charge, and Toni Kroos in the next but as we all know, it was never meant to be.

Louis van Gaal’s first season at Manchester United saw the club heavily trusting the manager by signing six players which included the likes of Ander Herrera, Ángel Di María and Radamel Falcao (loan) and doing the same the next year with the club securing seven more including Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay, Anthony Martial and Sergio Romero.

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José Mourinho too, was backed by the board in the summer he took charge where all his four signings proved to be match winners in his first season. Interestingly, the mass exodus of the players between these four years made it clear that the board had to cash in on more players in his third season and fill in the gaps that were clearly existent in the squad.

In comparison, clubs like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, and Real Madrid continue to consistently invest heavily on players at every opportunity throughout the season and improving their squads even further. With Manchester United coming quite comfortably in the bracket of one the biggest clubs in the world, one might wonder why this club is not doing the same and be on the constant prowl to secure these kinds of signings. Evidence of this is clearly being witnessed this season as well where all the above-mentioned clubs are doing fantastically well and strengthening massively.

Now, what one might think is that the Manchester United board did try their best to sign the players that their manager demanded but, with the club earning the highest revenues in the world and the era after Ferguson needing an evolutionary process and not a revolutionary one (which David Moyes mentions in that interview with beIN Sports), the board should have had to consistently back their manager at every opportunity to secure results on the pitch.

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If not, why hire them in the first place, right? We can all shift the blame to the owners of the club not having a history of running their sporting teams in an astute manner and to the constant uncertainty of having a stable manager/coach but, the fact of the matter that will always remain is that this still is Manchester United Football Club! The levels of ambition between the top clubs are the same but somehow the Manchester United Board fails to consistently back their manager.

But if there is one thing that this club and its managers continue to excel at, it is their courage and determination to give their youth a chance to shine at every opportunity possible. The same cannot be said at the other top clubs and certainly not to the degree that this club always manages to do. Having said that, this alone does not do enough to bridge the gaps in the squad and for the team to perform at the levels they are always expected to.

No matter how well the club manages to do by the end of May, December 2018 should have been the wake-up call the board needed. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has exceeded all expectations given the squad and injury situations he has had to deal with. But, this outstanding run of form should not warrant any grade of complacency among the members of the board otherwise this summer too, is running the risk of being a disappointing one.

Written by Shyam Shanker

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