As a United fan who grew up in Old Trafford and attending games since 1969, I’m very worried at the moment.
I’m worried about how unerringly true my dystopian visions of United’s future have been since we parted with David Moyes. This was a summing up of Louis Van Gaal I blogged after his first season in charge.
“So United ended up with less shots on target than Sunderland, very few goals and with a solid looking defence and good possession stats. No wonder most of us yawned through the season.”
I’m quite torn about the fact I never fancied or rated LVG. I thought Holland looked short of ideas in the 2014 World Cup, struggling to score in 240 minutes versus Costa Rica and Argentina in games almost as painful to watch as the majority of United’s this season. And that was with Arjen Robben, Memphis and Robin Van Persie.
At the time I discussed this fact with other United fans and was roundly shouted down. LVG was great and he’d make all the difference to United, they said. And he did. He spent money to make us look even worse and even duller than David Moyes.
I went on as follows:
“Now it’s all about do we stick with LVG and his ‘philosophy’ for another season or do we dump him and try someone else and face more disruption. The squad looks poor and thin and I keep thinking that United look like at least two more years away from challenging realistically even wiith the boring LVG in charge, three or four years with another manager, and no, I don’t want Mourinho.”
So three years ago I was adamant that I didn’t want Mourinho at United.
The simple reason is that Jose Mourinho hates football, because no manager or player who loves football or even likes it would set out to destroy the game in quite the way The Special One does.
My heart sank when news of Mourinho’s appointment as manager of Manchester United came through. I’d seen his sides over the year at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid. All had great players. None played great football.
United fans harangued me on Facebook and Twitter.
“But Terry, his teams score loads of goals. He’s a winner.”
Maybe so, but I’d noticed when they did win and scored goals it was in a most un-entertaining way. That’s his real talent. Jose is special for making great talent look ordinary and making a 2-0 victory feel like a 0-0 draw and a 4-0 rout feel like a 1-0 testimonial game.
I know I’m old. I hark back to a time when United teams always tried to entertain and excite the fans, especially at Old Trafford.
I remember after the Sexton years, which had seemed dull after the suicidal attacking verve of Tommy Docherty’s United, the crowd acted like someone with post traumatic stress disorder, wincing at any negative play.
Poor Big Ron Atkinson would hear boos from the Stretford End if there were more than three or four passes between the back four before the ball went forward. Impatient, yes, but as fans we felt we had a duty to remind United players and the manager that we hadn’t turned up to watch eight or nine passes around the back four or a team sitting back at home against West Brom and set out as if they were playing away against Real Madrid.
We’d paid to see football and we’re Man United and we have a tradition. Respect that and the great teams and players who have graced our stadium in the past and created that legacy.
So to Jose. The Special One.
I had hoped that he could adapt to an attacking style of play, that he understood that we as fans would forgive him for losing as long as he played the United way.
I look at Lukaku and I could almost weep for him. He’s managed to score 27 goals this season in all competitions and yet I’ve never seen a United striker get worse service. He’s basically fed off scraps.
What, if anything, will change next season?
We may buy some better players in some positions, but will that change the way Jose sets his teams out?
It certainly didn’t make him more attacking at Chelsea, and Real Madrid fans don’t want him back for the very same reasons.
Even if Jose is a lovely guy in real life, do you want another season of him at Old Trafford, dragging our name and legacy through the mud.
I have never felt more embarrassed to be a United fan, not even when we were relegated.
Because at least we went down fighting and playing attacking football with the fans on the terraces in full voice, willing the team to win.
Our highlights as United fans last season will be that magical ten minutes against Man City when Paul Pogba just drove at them, and Liverpool losing the Champion League Final. One game where we played football for about 10-15 minutes, and a heavy dose of schadenfreude when we saw so many Liverpool fans’ dreams crushed in Kiev.
In fact, it was so magical that it united Red and Blue in Manchester in celebration. For that alone, it will and should never be forgotten. I may well suggest some kind of blue plaque is installed on a railway station platform to Liverpool.
Our lowlight was the cowardly two legs against a very ordinary Seville team. A series of nine or ten passes around the back four in a game Seville weren’t even trying to win at Old Trafford, then Valencia ending up with the ball in his right back position and a look that said ‘why have you given it to me?’ on his face before launching it aimlessly up the line to where he had hoped Sanchez would be, only for that ball to come into Seville’s possession and end up in the back of United’s goal.
Shameful. A very bad night for United fans and then the cringeworthy post-match interview with Mourinho.
Sorry, but it’s time for him to go.