Manchester United’s demise is the product of 15 years of Glazer’s negligence – Liverpool are a world away
When Liverpool’s American owners first arrived at Anfield, they sat in an executive suite with journalists covering the club and asked their opinion on what could be done better.
When Manchester United’s American owners first arrived at Old Trafford, they bought a pair of ‘I love Man United’ t-shirts and a £ 18 souvenir plastic backpack and sped away in a VW minivan.
Here, in essence, is the reason why such a gulf has developed between the two great adversaries of English football.
Manchester United’s American owners Avram (r) and Joel (c) Glazer have been largely absent
Red Devils fans have openly opposed Glazer’s ownership of the club.
Liverpool’s success is a product of the strategic oversight and intellectual rigor of the owners who have brought the same intensity to football as to finance.
United’s serial failure is the product of the neglect and absent status of a Glazer family sustained by the genius Sir Alex Ferguson for eight years and then discovered.
It didn’t take Sunday’s tactical disaster to tell us that the chickens have come home to sleep. The Glazers believe that the only creativity required in this particular business is finding the next noodle, tire, or paint partner.
Meanwhile, its competitors in Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea have been more interested in installing soccer-soaked people on top of their corporate structures.
The Glazers were supported by legendary former coach Sir Alex Ferguson (center)
The regime took a hard hit on Sunday with United’s 5-0 loss to Liverpool.
While Liverpool, under Bostonian Mike Gordon, secured the best coach, an immensely competitive soccer method and the best players to do it, United under Ed Woodward, the former JP Morgan player, was only looking for the next big thing.
The £ 24 million in salaries set for a season of Radamel Falcao’s services was equivalent to the total transfer fee Manchester City spent on Yaya Touré. The £ 89.3 million spent on Paul Pogba’s buyback was almost three times Liverpool’s outlay on Mohamed Salah.
Jurgen Klopp knew about tailoring when he saw it. “A grown-up version of Disneyland” is what Woodward’s United felt like when approached to replace David Moyes in 2014. So the club has gone from manager to manager, each with so little time left for them. players from its predecessor like the following.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the ‘nice’ returning the joy to a place stripped of that quality by José Mourinho. Anyone who knows what it takes to succeed in sport, not least Ferguson, will tell you that kindness gets you nowhere.
United boss Ed Woodward’s meddling in the business of buying players has been catastrophic
Owners with an interest in anything more than the £ 100 million the Glazers drain from Old Trafford each year would have long ago taken Woodward out. Three dire managerial appointments go beyond carelessness, and his pathological meddling in the player-buying business has been catastrophic.
Yet the club continues to limp, appointing a number of old players to lead the team in the vague and superstitious belief that this will somehow bring back those golden days for Ferguson. Deprived of effective corporate oversight, United looks back rather than to the future.
Such oversight would also have told the ruling dynasty that Woodward has presided over Old Trafford becoming an aged and worn place, in desperate need of improvement and renovation at a time when the Arsenal and Tottenham stadiums are far ahead.
Anfield’s technically challenging expansion is something Fenway Sports Group has applied itself to and that stadium has been vastly improved. The so-called ‘Theater of Dreams’ is a metaphor for what is rotten at the heart of Manchester United. The need to replace Solskjaer has been clearly obvious for months.
Then-Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp was approached by United in 2014 but refused.
Brendan Rodgers or Mauricio Pochettino would bring something infinitely sharper and more cunning and begin the process of salvaging the wreck. But even amid the rubble of United’s meanest performance in generations, one wonders if the Glazers have the faintest idea of that.
As the team was being beaten on Sunday, they were busy weighing whether to spend more than £ 300 million on an IPL franchise before an auction next week. (Yesterday it was learned that they had exceeded the offer).
As they sped away with their souvenir shop more than 15 years ago, Sir Bobby Charlton made his way to Sir Matt Busby Way, where he encountered fans deeply concerned about what the future might hold with these folks at the helm.
“I don’t expect we will see many of them,” he said. Those words were more prophetic than he possibly believed.