This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Perhaps more damning than any other statement, Manchester United’s continued desire to reminisce over the good old days of Sir Alex Ferguson is a sign of a club refusing to move on. The club’s iconic manager bowed out from Old Trafford six years ago, and there has been very little to shout about since. But if United are to fully move on from the overwhelming shadow of the Scotsman, then they need to fully hit the reset button.
Last season’s travails perfectly encapsulated everything that has engulfed United. The club have been caught in between a rock and a hard place; at one point willing to throw their principles to the side under Jose Mourinho, and then at another point desperately trying to pull it back with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Which is it to be? The indecision behind what the club wants has caused them trouble both on the pitch and off it, and has completely robbed them of any identity.
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Since the days of the great Sir Matt Busby and through the legendary tenure of Sir Alex, the ‘United way’ has been to win, and win with style. Indeed, former Red Devils boss David Moyes admitted: “When you become Manchester United manager you are expected to win every game. And when you win the game, you are expected to have done it with style. Then when you win, you are expected to have scored plenty of goals as well.”
And that’s perhaps where United have started to go wrong since Ferguson’s exit. The pressure of trying to deliver those expectations. United’s squad doesn’t boast some of the talents of yesteryear like Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs or Eric Cantona. So why should they be judged on the same level? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job has to be to get the best out of his current crop of players, rather than trying to cling on to how United used to play with totally different personnel in a vastly different era.
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If the Norwegian has the strength and belief to create a ‘new’ United way, then the Red Devils can finally escape the vice-like grip of their former glories. And it’s certainly about time they did just that.