Manchester United started the 2022/23 Premier League season in dire form. Losing their opening clash against Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 at Old Trafford then getting hammered 4-0 against Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium almost a week later.
The last time United lost their opening two matches in the Premier League was the inaugural season, in which they lifted the Premier League trophy. However, that is not likely this season as this team does not seem to have any winners that know how to win at this time.
Former United captain Willie Morgan, who played in the last United team to get relegated in the 1973/74 season has delivered a verdict on the current United squad, telling them: “You’re even worse than us.” Having a good point in what he said. This team is terrible.
The former Scotland winger also stated that not one player out there is good enough not to be relegated and it does happen to some of the best in the game. Current captain Harry Maguire has faced relegation and needs to beware of the warnings here. Morgan told The Sun:
“They say no one’s too good to go down and that old adage certainly applies to the current bunch of players. The alarm bells have got to be ringing around Old Trafford because we went down and we were a better team than this lot now.
“We had better players, a togetherness that bonded us and a real camaraderie but still came a cropper. We made the mistake of feeling we were too good to go down at first but we got unlucky with injuries and had lots of bad luck.
“The current lot really are pathetic — they aren’t as good as we were so they’ll be praying that Lady Luck doesn’t turn against them.”
During the 1973/74 season, Morgan captained a United team in turmoil following the retirement of Sir Bobby Charlton, the legendary George Best went off the rails and the original King of Old Trafford, Denis Law left the club for Manchester City.
Just six years after United became the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968 with Sir Matt Busby putting United to the pinnacle of football ten years after the Munich air disaster, United were in a shocking state – which has some similarities to the current crop of players.
Both Frank O’Farrell (sacked in December 1972) and Tommy Docherty failed to ‘stop the rot’ at United and their 36-year stay in the top flight of English football ended as Denis Law scored for City as he returned to Old Trafford.
This United team has a lot of experience but in terms of fight, there is little to none at the club. In pre-season, United did well in their first three matches, drawing the fourth before returning from the Australian leg of the tour. United then lost and drew the remaining two matches.
Morgan, 77, who made 236 appearances for United, saw Law’s back-heeled winner against United as a fluke and although it meant that United were then relegated, it was never Law that did that – it was the United squad that collectively earned the relegation. He continued by saying:
“Fortunes were clearly fading at United that season and everything that could go wrong did go wrong for us. You just don’t contemplate thinking you could possibly go down when you’re at a club of United’s stature but everything seemed to conspire against us.
“And once you’re in that situation and gravity is pulling at your legs and nothing is going your way, it’s amazing how difficult it is to get out of trouble.
“It’s too early to say the current team are in a relegation fight because we’re only two games in but they need to get their act together and do it quickly.
“The current side look spineless and that’s something that could never be levelled at our side and the way people like Harry Maguire are falling apart speaks volumes.
“But the thing that really worries me will be the fact they are a right mess on and off the field. It’s a sorry state of affairs and it breaks my heart because I love the club.”
Morgan points the finger of blame at the Glazers who have caused the decline of the club. Yes, they have allowed the club to spend more that £1 billion on transfers but the wrong signings were always made by people that did not understand football. The 77-year-old said:
“The club is drifting dangerously in the wrong direction and that’s got to be down to the owners and the people they appoint to the top positions. The Glazers are clearly only in it for the money — unlike the City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle owners who are in it for the power and the glory.
“They might be happy that the club keeps churning out dollars for them but they keep getting big decisions wrong and that’s means they keep appointing the wrong people to key jobs. The Glazers clearly know nothing about football. If they weren’t clueless who else would the club get rid of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and bring in the interim Ralf Rangnick.
“And then they make matters worse by hiring someone who seems more like a below-average school teacher than a football manager. He’s hasn’t got that air of a manager in no way whatsoever. He hasn’t got a clue. He’s got no authority.
“That’s surprised me because when he came in and told them he didn’t want Rangnick around I thought it showed he meant business. It was a promising start but he should have gone further and cleared the board of at least ten players to make way for the kids to liven things up.
“But the way he’s faffing around with Cristiano Ronaldo is a joke. I don’t blame Ronaldo for not wanting to play with this shower. When he wanted out they should have got rid straight away. It’s a terrible mess and the Ronaldo situation creates chaos.”
Old Trafford used to be a fortress but for the last few seasons, clubs have enjoyed coming to the Theatre of Dreams and getting points, which was rarely the case. Gone are the days that United make their home stadium a tough place for any team to visit. Morgan said:
“The Old Trafford fear factor isn’t there anymore but the current players can take a big step toward bringing back the good old days against the old enemy.
“It should focus minds and bring the best out of underdogs. I hope they get back on track for the supporters’ sake. If we went down, God forbid, I don’t think we’d come back for a while.”
It seems that Morgan feels that this United team are heading in the right direction to get relegated this season, which is negative after just two matches but no fight or desire has been shown in those matches at all. If this ‘United’ team does not watch out they won’t achieve a thing.
Written by John Walker