How long will we be miserable?
I haven’t felt good about watching this team in a competitive game since early last season. The growing pains so far have been worse than we imagined, and there’s little hope of things improving with the current squad. And yet our best hope of bringing in any new talent so far is just Adrien Rabiot?
The Glazers and the board are seeing the fruits of their incredibly insufficient labor play out on the pitch, another team assembled by multiple managers is now floundering under a new one and they’ll be absorbing the majority of the blame and abuse while the owners continue to take money out of the club with total apathy for the football side of things.
The fans are suffering watching this football, the players are suffering playing it, and the manager is suffering trying to establish his style with absolutely no meaningful help from the club in recruitment or transfers. It’s the same story over and over for nearly a decade now, and the men who are responsible for it have no urgency or care to truly invest in a project to change things.
There’s only three weeks left in the transfer window, time to find some remedies, but the real time to buy in and back the new manager has passed. The most they can do now is probably the least. But it’s irresponsible to send this squad and manager out with the level of support they’ve been given.
And next week United play Liverpool, the arch rival throughout history and the antithesis of everything United has become. Liverpool have direction and coordination, backing their manager with departments working in unison to evaluate ways to constantly tinker and improve the squad. Jurgen Klopp can trust the club to find him a replacement when players leave, and to identify players who can check the boxes he wants and deliver under pressure. The team have all bought in to the project and trust each other to deliver in the moment. They will almost certainly crush this United team, and when they do the discussion will focus on players and the manager.
I hope it doesn’t.
While I think much of the current squad are 100% not good enough to be part of a long term United side to eventually challenge for trophies, I think their role is much more visible and scrutinized in the grand scheme of things while the Glazers escape the spotlight. This is an important moment for the direction of the club, and members in the media are finally bringing up the role of club leadership in United’s struggles. That must continue, the Glazers must be put under the microscope and questioned for their role.
Protests aren’t enough, in fact they mean very little to the Glazers. Discourse however isn’t invisible to them. They’ve been more visible than ever since the failure of the Super League. The media attention that came with that was enough to open a dialogue between the club and fans, but it hasn’t been enough for the Glazers to make an actual financial commitment. Yet.
A footballing institution has crumbled. New lows are found each week it seems.
No individual player can change that. No manager can mend it. It’s broken by neglect and maltreatment. No tactical breakdown, player analysis, or quick fix can change what this team has become. It starts at the top, and it’s time they faced the same level of criticism and abuse that the players endure for the woeful performances.
Disgraceful performances and management have a source, and there should be greater care in coverage of this team to identify that. This project needs time and patience, but it also needs the commitment from its backers to see it through and not abort after a handful of signings.
It’s time for more big picture criticism.