herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Man United are nothing more than a disgrace

Jose Mourinho is pictured leaving his home in London yesterday
Jose Mourinho is pictured leaving his home in London yesterday

Manchester United are a disgrace. I can think of no other word which does justice to the depth of feeling I have about the way this club has behaved in the last few years.

The way they handled Louis van Gaal's exit, in fact the way they have handled everything since Alex Ferguson retired, has been a shambles.

From David Moyes' sacking through to the absolute farce which executive vice chairman Ed Woodward has presided over in the transfer market for the last few years, this club has acted without any class.

I always hear people talking about 'the United way' as if the club has standards which have to be met and perhaps that is true when you're talking about the football but off the field, they have nothing to boast about.

Pretence

In fact, 'the United way' is nothing more than a pretence to hide behind, a hypocritical cloak to cover the win-at-all-costs mentality which Ferguson fostered and Jose Mourinho is devoted to.

They are ready to hire Mourinho, a man with the habits of a hooligan who watched Ferguson develop a style of management which was ruthless and unrepentant and then copied him.

It is ironic indeed that any of the grandees at Old Trafford should have had reservations about Mourinho. They had no problem when Ferguson was about his work. Not quite like father like son but near enough.

Van Gaal had to go but there was a right and wrong way to do it. They chose the wrong way, as they did with Moyes.

I vividly remember Ferguson, the man who anointed Moyes, saying with a straight face that he didn't ring his protegé to tell him he was sacked because he didn't want to tell him lies.

The easy solution was to tell Moyes the truth but Ferguson couldn't bring himself to do that and I think that speaks volumes.

I think Woodward can't make a decision to save his life and I see he is now courting Jorge Mendes, the mega-agent who has far more power now than any one man should have ever have.

Woodward needs Mendes to save his job now and he will rely on him to bring in the players Mourinho wants.

I'm saddened that football has come to this, even if I accept the reality of it.

I have very little time for the Dutchman from a football point of view after seeing him up close for two years but he managed to hold onto his dignity in the most difficult circumstances.

Right to the end he was talking nonsense about the job he did at Old Trafford, suggesting that he was leaving the squad in 'perfect' shape for the next man in.

Perfect is not a word I would have used and even if Mourinho will have an easier task than Pep Guardiola is facing across town at the Etihad with Manchester City, he has his work cut out to stitch together a team capable of challenging for anything next season.

But at least Van Gaal behaved professionally. In a few years time, we'll see how Mourinho gets on when he's at the other end of the equation.

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