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Shambles: 2018/19 Season Review

  • Posted by Ben Greenwood
  • Posted on 13th May 2019
Shambles: 2018/19 Season Review

Well, thank God that's over. 

As football seasons go, that has to be one of the worst in living memory - and I include the relegation season in that (though I was not alive to live through it). 

It's been weird too. Wanting City to win the League just so Liverpool don't, hoping Spurs win the Champions League, just so Liverpool don't...none of it feels right at all. But, I guess, this is what happens when you're completely out of the running for trophies...hoping your main rivals don't...even if it means the other rivals do. Just such an awkward position to be in and one best forgotten.

Before we eradicate the season from our memories entirely though, it bears taking a look at to see why it was such a shambles.

The Big Picture

United's decline since Sir Alex retired is due to chronically bad investment in the team (you can't say it was under investment, not with the amount spent). The blame for this lies entirely at the doors of Ed Woodward and the Glazer family. 

For six years they have chosen to either purchase so-called marquee signings, regardless of whether or not it was what the team needed, or save money by giving contracts to clearly average and certainly ageing players already at the club. 

You want the root cause of our issues you look nowhere but directly at the Glazers and Woodward. Having saddled United with ridiculous levels of debt and the subsequent repayments, they continue to siphon money out via wages and dividends while beavering away at sponsorship deal after sponsorship deal to keep the money coming in.

Sure, they'll sanction £80m signings (or £300k/week salaries) - but only if they are confident in recouping that via shirt sales and other commercial activities. Whether that player is actually REQUIRED is hardly considered. The football team is, at best, secondary to them.

This has been highlighted many, many times in the last six years (and before, if you remember it correctly) but it's amazing how many people prefer to ignore it and instead blame the manager(s) and players.

Let's be absolutely clear though - United will not be United again until the cancer that is the Glazers are ousted - and even that is no guarantee that our next 'owners' will be any different. But one problem at a time, eh. 

What can WE do about it?

You want the honest truth on this? Very, very little. 

We've had the Love United, Hate Glazer campaign (LUHG), the green and gold campaign and more recently the utterly abhorrent #UnfollowUnited social media campaign. 

Every single one of them is and was utterly pointless. There are simply too few people in United's global fanbase who care and even less prepared to do anything. The ONLY thing that would work is if, collectively, millions of people just decided to STOP. Stop buying their season tickets, stop their membership, stop buying the merchandise, just STOP.

And that is NEVER going to happen. 

This is a very depressing fact, but it's a fact nonetheless. So you can do your bit - I myself gave up my season ticket in the Stretford End the season the Glazers took over - and you can feel good about it. But it WON'T change anything. There is no way we can convince millions of people to STOP. 

Sorry. But that's just how it is and you're deluding yourself if you think otherwise.

All we can do is hope for a new, more football focused owner to buy them out. And personally I don't think a Prince from a country with a questionable human rights record is the answer, but that's just me.

The Players

Where to start with this lot? I can't remember a time when the support was so far distanced from the players. There's no love for any of them and, frankly, they don't deserve it. 

Some just aren't good enough, some just aren't interested, some are just too old and some are all three. 

But what irks me most about this lot, aside from the social media shenanigans and the constant "look at me" bullshit they put out, is the fact that for a spell they proved they could actually be a team, play for one another and the shirt and win games. 

Well enough to win trophies? No...but well enough to put in a challenge. When Ole took over from Mourinho they upped their game, focused ON their game and the results were there for all to see. Then, as soon as Ole gets given the job on a permanent basis, they abandon that and him, almost to a man.

It's maddening, sickening, frustrating and anger inducing.  

I don't doubt Rashford or Pogba's ability - but I do question their commitment. I don't doubt Young or Smalling's commitment - but I do doubt their ability. 

It speaks volumes that our Player of the Year is Luke Shaw. Being marginally above average in a below average team is all it took and he, much as I like him as a player, under performed more often than not. It's a disgrace.

Each player is a disgrace and none of them should be looking in the mirror this morning and reflecting on a job well done. Let's be honest, it's more likely they'll be looking into the camera of their smartphones trying to get just the right angle for their next Instagram post. 

I don't hate any of them. I don't feel anything for them. I wish the ones with the talent would realise the privileged position they're in and I wish the ones who aren't good enough had never been signed. That's all.

Not a tear would be shed if any (or all) of them were sold over the summer (with the exception for David de Gea, who gets a pass from me all day long).

The Managers

Let's kick this off by stating right now that if you blame Ole for any of the shit we've endured in the last few weeks you're an idiot. What he did with this shower in his first couple of months in charge was almost miraculous. To blame him for six seasons of bad investments and a boardroom full of uninterested and incompetent fuckwits is, at best, harsh. 

Looking at it realistically he's a novice manager in one of the biggest, toughest, most stressful jobs in the football world. But he's got the hugely experienced Mike Phelan beside him and, with luck, will have the assistance of a proper Director of Football as well next season. Maybe. Though if Woodward is overseeing this appointment, forget it. It really will be Darren Fletcher. Because he'll be cheap. 

Ole, it's clear, has a vision and a path he wants to take. He should be given time by us and backing by the board to do so. Neither, at this point, seem too likely. Some of the so-called support are turning on him already and there's no evidence he will be treated any differently to his predecessors by the board. If Ole quit tomorrow to save himself then I wouldn't blame him. 

Speaking of predecessors, my views on Mourinho have softened somewhat in recent months. I still think he HAD to go but I understand more the frustrations he must have felt in trying to do his job whilst dealing with the cockwombles running the 'club'. How he dealt with those frustrations is what led to his inevitable and required downfall but when he said finishing second with this team was his greatest achievement....well, now I can see why. 

And so back to Ole. We should really manage our expectations where Ole is concerned and remember what he did for us as a player. He's actually earned the right to a season of total support. I genuinely fear it will end badly for him and for United. We, as supporters, can do no more than back him each and every game and stay off his back AFTER those games. It's all too easy in all the emotion (and alcohol) to jump on Twitter and start tearing him apart.

Before you do though, remember, PLEASE remember, where the root of all our problems lies. In the big picture. With the Glazers and their puppet.

Ole will do his best. We must do the same. 

Now...look at the flashy-thing.