In the trophy cabinet at Old Trafford, there lie 13 Premier League titles, 12 FA Cups, 1 FIFA Club World Cup trophy, 1 UEFA Europa League, and 3 UEFA Champions League titles, but the red side of Manchester is currently as far away from being that dominant trophy winning machine than it has possibly ever been.
Uncertainty follows the club at every turn, whether the topic is the constantly shifting tectonic plates regarding the ownership, the transfer policy or the underwhelming performances on the pitch. On and off the field, the club seems in disarray and in desperate need of a major shakeup. And there are a few aspects wrestling to top the to-do list at M16 0RA.
The ownership however must be the most pressing issue to resolve on Sir Matt Busby Way. November 2022 proved to be a very turbulent month for the club, with Cristiano Ronaldo announcing his second departure by mutual consent after his infamous interview with Piers Morgan and the Glazer family also announcing that they were considering a sale of the club. But nearly a year on, the Glazers are only now coming close to an agreement with Jim Ratcliffe to sell 25% of the club for £1.25bn, despite Sheikh Jassim featuring prominently in discussions since last November.
But when there are problems or uncertainty in the board room, they can easily be dispelled by good recruitment and good performances on the pitch. This however has also stuttered in recent years, perhaps because of the wrangles at the top. The chopping and changing of managers have also resulted in a squad that more resembles Frankenstein than a well-oiled unit and this is very much reflected in sports betting and how many, even their own fans, are simply not trusting Manchester United and their ability on the pitch. While Erik ten Hag has brought in many of “his” players, the blame cannot be laid squarely at his door, and there might be some still wondering who really recommended and authorised the acquisition of Mason Mount from Chelsea.
99% of the time, the recruitment has a direct effect on performances on the pitch, and the disjointed nature of signings in recent years has resulted in discontent from the fans over the style of football and more importantly, results. It is not quite a whack-a-mole policy, but the signings of young talents Rasmus Højlund and Lisandro Martinez mixed in with loan deals for Jonny Evans, Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer have made people wonder.
The one word that groups all the above-mentioned issues is culture, or in this instance, a lack of one. The direction needs to come from the top and the right people need to be in place to implement the same vision. Until this happens, it might remain difficult viewing for Manchester United fans.