I used to spend summers avidly reading every bit of transfer gossip containing the words “Manchester United”, wondering which player would make the step from a smaller English club to M16 or which footballer would bring his continental flair and panache onto the Old Trafford turf.
These days, even though my journalism internship requires me to watch Sky Sports News and follow the rumours on newspapers, Twitter and other sources, I simply ignore anything that portrays United to be “in the running” or “chasing” a player.
Like a teenager who knows that he’ll always be too shy to ask that pretty girl in the class out, I don’t want to waste my time getting my hopes high for something that won’t – and can’t – happen. And I’m ok with it, let her go out with the cool guys, let players join clubs that will cover them in cash.
Manchester United Football Club ceased to exist as I had known it since my birth just a few days short of my 17th birthday in 2005 when an American family crossed the Pond to seal the deal that would give them control upon the richest and most profitable club in the world – a business that, in some terms, they’ve managed to run quite excellently into the ground in the last seven years.
Despite the decreasing financial availability and the contemporary emergence of Russian oligarchs and Arab sheiks with a passion (sarcasm alert) for football, United managed to win four league titles and a European Cup since 2005, falling agonisingly short of a league title last year and losing two European Cup finals.
The reason behind this flow of trophies is the man from Gowan – Sir Alex Ferguson.
In 2007-08 Ronaldo might have driven the team on but winning the league and making it to the Wembley Final in 2011 with a squad lacking depth and quality was simply a managerial masterstroke, which is why I thought the growing numbers of people that considered Fergie a puppet in the Glazers’hands disrespectful as well as short-sighted.
Sure, Fergie had never publicly criticised them but wasn’t he simply trying to protect the team and the club by using his immense talent to fill the gaps left by the Glazernomics?
The thought of United managed by anybody else rather Fergie with the Glazers still in charge was enough to send shivers down my spine, such was (and still is) my faith in the man and even though I was as puzzled as everybody else by the seemingly inexplicable decision of not investing on a centre midfielder in the last two summers I always assumed that Fergie knew best.
After reading his interview on Sunday, where he defended the Glazers and describe them as “great for the club” I can now include myself in the section of United fans that Bob Cass, in all of his ever so classy pig-headed wisdom, calls “idiotic shits” simply because they dare to disagree with Sir Alex.
In the interview, Fergie defended his transfer policy claiming that there’s no point fighting with City in the transfer market as it’s much preferable to bring youngsters through the ranks, in line with the club’s tradition.
While we can all agree that it is a perfectly sensible idea, giving young players a chance to establish themselves in the first team should be considered an option, not the only option as indeed it seems to be increasingly evident.
Despite Forbes placing United at the top of the world richest clubs, I don’t harbour any hopes for the remaining weeks of the transfer window.
The Van Persie rumours will crumble to reveal the sheer reality of things: just like with Nasri, Snejider, Ozil, Benzema and Modric he’ll sign for whoever pays more – our neigbours across town that is – but at least David Gill will be able to wheel out his trademark line since 2005: “We tried. We missed out.”
Meanwhile Kagawa and Powell could be very decent signings and perhaps excellent pieces of business while rumours linking us with a £26m move for Lucas Moura simply dismantle the “no value in the market” notion that we’ve been fed for the last three-four years by Sir Alex and Gill.
Surely if United can afford to spend that sum on an unproven Brazilian teenager we should have been able to secure a quality midfielder in the last 24 months, or is just a smokescreen set up ad-hoc to get fans hoping and believing that United can actually compete financially with other clubs?
I would suspect so, and it pains me to say that Fergie might be playing into Gill’s, and consequently the Glazers’, hands.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those that call Fergie a traitor and want him booted out of the club and I can even agree with him regarding his reluctancy at throwing cash around when there’s no need to do so, but his defence of the Glazers has left a sour taste in my mouth and while I still believe he’s the right man to guide the club to more success, I won’t share his views about the Glazers and their debts.
Sorry Fergie, this time it’s a step too far even for me .
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