Defining success is tricky. For Manchester United supporters entering a new season, there exists a wide range of meanings for just what a successful season would look like. The team’s exciting start to the league season, coupled with José Mourinho’s stellar record of winning things in his second seasons, have further encouraged those who expect to see trophies being delivered come the end of the campaign. But four years of largely crap football and mediocre results have also been a rude awakening, and many of us have learned to temper our expectations and accept that this is still a team in transition.
For some supporters - this writer among them - anything short of a league title would constitute a failure. Having spent nearly 25 years winning the Premier League more frequently than every other year on average (which is admittedly, a startling achievement by Sir Alex Ferguson), these last four years without seeing the trophy lifted at Old Trafford have felt like a lifetime. This must be what it feels like to support other English clubs. How awful.
On the other hand, setting such an inflexible standard for success may be unfair. Mourinho has had money to spend, but the squad he inherited was not fit for purpose; a legacy of several years of mismanagement and neglect. In terms of the league, even a real title challenge and an eventual top four finish would represent a significant improvement on last season’s showing.
United’s chastening defeat by Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup was a reminder that this team is not yet at the level of Europe’s best, but a strong showing in the Champions League is another way of gauging progress. There are other less tangible ways to judge success as well: establishing an entertaining footballing identity, and seeing key players take important developmental steps, among others.
What say you, readers? What do you expect United to achieve this season, and what would having a successful season mean to you?
What would a successful 2017-18 season look like?
This poll is closed
League/Cup Double or GTFO
League Title or #MourinhoOut
Top 4 and a Big Cup
Other (elaborate in comments)