We keep hearing how lucky Sir Alex Ferguson is and “he certainly got out at the right time”. Most of this is centred on the age of the United squad that he left with David Moyes. But this ‘age’ criticism needs looking at more carefully.
Athletes don’t have to be told, they know when they are getting older: training is tougher, injuries take longer to heal. The reality is the Manchester United ‘aging squad’ is only 5 months older than when Sir Alex handed it over to David Moyes in July 2013. They can’t all become second-rate players in that time.
They need buoying up. Constantly talking about the inadequacy of the current squad and the desperate need for replacements is doing their confidence no good at all. This is a squad that, when it goes two goals down, it knows it is beaten – and so do the competition. A staggering turn-around and that is all in the head.
Yes, RVP has gone back to being constantly plagued by injuries but arguably, Rooney has been playing much better than last season. Yes, the midfield is not at the highest level but that has been the case ever since Roy Keane retired. Man U’s transfer policy last summer has come in for a lot of criticism too but don’t let’s hide behind it.
Interestingly, of this `over the hill’ bunch only Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand are older than John Terry who is playing really well at Chelsea and not under the spotlight at all. No-one is constantly reminding him that he’s now too old for Premier League football.
I’m not arguing that last season’s team was a great team. Arguably, winning the EPL last season by 11 points was one of Fergie’s greatest achievements. Not at the Ernest Shackleton level but certainly a great man management achievement. A little bit of that now would not go amiss.
Chris Ingram writes numerous articles and tweets on economy, SMEs, growing businesses, media, London, football and much more.