Damn United. The film, dedicated to the 44 days lived in Leeds by the coach Brian Clough in the Seventies, was produced in 2009. In 2023, the title of that cult movie is perfect to describe the last decade of Red Devils: from the farewell of Alex Ferguson, in 2013, just full of bitterness. Manchester United watched helplessly as the “noisy cousins” exploited City – copyright of Sir Alex -, has burned an impressive number of coaches – MoyesVan Gaal, MourinhoSolskjaer, Rangnickplus two short passages related to the figures of Giggs and Carrick -, has invested mountains of money in the football transfer market – 206 million euros spent in the last summer window -, has lost an important sponsor and sparked the anger of the fans, in open war with the owners, the American family Glazer. Banners with the words “Glazer Out”, carried by small planes flying over theOld Traffordthey are no longer news.
It’s raining on Manchester United: four defeats in the championship, five in nine official matches. It’s raining in every sense: Saturday, during the ninety minutes of the knockout received with the Crystal Palace, the water soaked the fans. The roof of Old Trafford is full of holes, like the goal, the former Inter player’s defence Drunk, so far the protagonist of ducks in a bucket. Tenth in the table, United are already seven points away from Champions zone: the worst start ever in the Premier League. There is time to remedy this, but it won’t be easy, in a championship where the Manchester City looking for the fourth title in a row, theArsenal wants to take revenge after last season’s disappointment, the Liverpool is alive and well despite last Saturday’s sensational VAR error – with many apologies from the English referees’ association -, the Tottenham of Postecoglou is surprising everyone after the sale of Harry KaneEmery’s Aston Villa travels at high speed and the Brightonnet of the 1-6 recorded in Birmingham, is ambitious.
Only the Chelseaamong the big names, is doing worse, but from 2012 to today the Blues have brought home two Championsdue Premier, due Europa League, a Club World Cup, a UEFA Super Cup, two FA Cups, a League Cup. The post-Ferguson period translated, for Manchester United, into a FA Cup, two League Cups, a Europa League and a Community Shield. It’s complicated to leave behind a important past like the quarter of a century in the shadow of Sir Alex, but for the Red Devils it was a real trauma. Ferguson, who recovered well after thecerebral hemorrhage of May 2018, had a say in the selection of Moyes and Solskjaer. He was less involved in that of Van Gaal and was neutral when United signed Mourinho in 2016, but the number one problem is ownership distance, deeply rooted in US reality. The most important financial operation carried out by the Glazers was the placement of the club at New York Stock Exchangewhile the field was left free to the managing directors and to the coaches for managing the team. The Glazers supported the attempt to “tear” the Super League in 2021, only to then backtrack like the other English teams faced with the furious reaction of the fans.
United is officially for sale, but the deal is at an impasse. The Glazers bought the club in 2005, paying for it £790 million. Today they are asking for a figure ranging between 5 and 6 billion for the sale. There are two groups in the running: Sheik Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani – third son of the former emir of Qatar – and the British billionaire Sir Jim Ratliffe (Ineos). The first wants 100% of the club. The second aims for 69% in the hands of the Glazers and would leave the rest to the New York Stock Exchange. The sheikh has already submitted four offers. The latest would be close to the figure of 5 billion, but silence has fallen. A stalemate, which doesn’t help the rigid Ten Hagforced to deal with the rebellion of the former talent Sancho – out of the squad, he trains with the Under 18s -, with the imprecise aim of Rashford – just 1 goal, averaging one goal every 700 minutes -, with the controversial leadership of the captain Bruno Fernandeswith the psychological destruction of Maguirewith the drop in yield of Eriksen, with injuries and with a hostile environment. Manchester United has the potential to raise its head at any time, from the top of a squad valued at 882 million. The Champions League match at Old Trafford against Galatasaray of Icardi, Mertens, Ndombélé, Torreira and muslera it’s the perfect opportunity, but for a team accustomed to the solidity of the Ferguson era, this rollercoaster-style ups and downs is one dripping. Ten Hag, decisive for the removal of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2022, he could revive the Brazilian against the Turks Antony, reported for mistreatment by his ex-girlfriend. The English police did not impose on him restrictions and according to US sources the player provided important evidence to support his defence. United today is this: you navigate by sight. There curse of those who had a formidable esprit de corps in the Ferguson years and are today at the mercy of the waves.
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