United must spend now or face years of mediocrity

Manchester+United-Joel-Avram+Glazer+cropped-778250“Is a dream a lie, if it don’t come true or is it something worse?” Bruce Springsteen, The River, 1980.

Much as I would like to think otherwise, I seriously doubt Bruce was thinking of the trauma United would experience in the post-Fergie era when he penned those words – not least, because Fergie was still six years short of being appointed at Old Trafford when the record was released – but he unwillingly summed up United’s current predicament.

Despite being barely six months into David Moyes’ first season, by now we all know the drill – United are in decline, the cracks upon which Sir Alex had papered so efficiently over the last couple of years emerging with sheer force and brutality, while injuries compound the misery of an inadequate squad and Moyes looks increasingly desperate.

Having spent the last five months under increasingly intense scrutiny, Moyes must be relieved to know that, at least for the next 23 days, he will have some company to share the burden of expectations with, given that the January transfer window has thrusted the Glazers and everyone favourite pantomime villain, Ed Woodward, back into the spotlight.

With United seventh in the table, out of the FA Cup and playing tedious football the “Moyes Out” brigade has recruited new members in recent weeks but let’s get one things clear from the start: United are not going to sack Moyes anytime soon.

To do that the Glazers would have to admit they’ve made a mistake in appointing him and Malcolm and sons do not entertain the thought of being wrong too often, nor they’d appreciate having to pay off Moyes’ six-year deal while spending money to recruit another manager for, as they’ve proven time and again, if there’s one thing the Glazers detest more than being wrong is investing money on Manchester United – of course we have bought Robin Van Persie and Dimitar Berbatov, but we have spent less than Sunderland and Stoke in the last eight years.

For the first time since the fateful moment when they took control of the club, however, United’s owners have to make a delicate decision that will have repercussion on the football side of things and, crucially, they can no longer count on David Gill and Sir Alex to bail them out.

Either the Glazers back David Moyes heavily this month or they can wave goodbye to the £80m deriving from a Champions League spot, not only for next season but as far as the club’s foreseeable future is concerned, for were United to miss out on a place at European football’s elite table, the recruitment process – hardly a leisurely stroll as it is – would become incredibly more complicated, not to mention that the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and David De Gea could reconsider their future.

How can we expect the Glazers to back a man who has spent £27m on Marouane Fellaini, I hear you say.

Quite plainly, they have no other choice, for while the club will continue to generate revenues for them even without the sustained success the Glazers have used to bleed the club dry, in the medium to long term, a lack of silverware could see sponsorship dry up – Ed could then be unemployed – thus stripping United of the profitability that lured the Glazers to Old Trafford in the first place.

Over the last month alone £220m have been wiped off United’s stock market value yet many continue to bury their heads in the sand, refusing to accept that the men from Florida might, in fact, have something to do with the situation United find themselves in just eight months after lifting the Premier League title.

Depending on which media source one deems trustworthy, United have either £100m available to spend in January, double that amount or nothing at all.

Predictably, the sources reporting that Moyes has indeed a sizeable budget to operate with, point to the fact that he’ll only spend on “selected targets” which, much as having a sensible plan is of paramount importance, looks increasingly to be one of the Glazers’ favourite smokescreens – “We had money, tried, failed. Sorry.”

If, and it’s a big “if”, Moyes has been backed then he must spend and spend big this month, because United’s current squad is not only not good enough to finish in the top four, it’s also in desperate need of a lift and one or two major signings – hard to get, though they might be – could  revitalise the dressing room.

If, however, as it seems a lot more probable, Moyes will sit tight because the £100m war-chest is nothing but a puff of smoke, then we can all look forward to four to five years of mediocrity during which luring players to Old Trafford would be increasingly difficult.

Whisper it, but those cynic lunatics who wore Green and Gold scarves (like who wrote this article, for instance) might have just called it right. Now, that would be embarrassing, wouldn’t it?




  1. I think the Glazers are in a difficult position. Do they give Moyes a bucketful of cash and run the risk of him wasting it? Or do they withold funds and sack him at the end of the season? Putting 2 + 2 together, and possibly coming up with 5, I think it’s the second option. Enough has been said about Moyes, he doesn’t believe in himself and the players don’t believe in him, recipe for disaster. What really interests me is the Solskaer situation, he’s on a 12 month rolling contract with Cardiff. If he does well, it’s not a great leap of imagination to see him at OT come June. As for the current situation, well I don’t see too much changing,this season is a write off. As for the future, we have a lot of good young players out on loan who are hungry for success, they won’t need motivating. With a young manager with a good footballing philosophy and tactics, Utd won’t stay in the dark ages for too long.

  2. How long is this fuckin charade going to carry on for?.Moyes’ s comments say everything, “we’re always interested in signing world class talent”.What “world class” talent would want to join a club in crisis managed by a manager so bereft of ideas its becoming laughable?.It’s hard enough to recruit the best players at the best of times, due to our wage structure, so what evidence is there that anyone would come now, especially with this debacle unfolding?.Just the same old story,the ownership and management thinking fans are thick as pig shit and can’t see through this ruse.Sorry, but we can.As far as im concerned, I can’t see much changing, whatever the consequences,with the owners attitude to money. Take as much as you can while spending as little as possible.There track record across the water speaks for itself, so I can’t see some sort of “road to damascus” revelation making them change their ways.Just be a case of same old same old, browsing in waitrose then go shopping at lidl.

  3. I looked at the fixture list this morning to give some sort of outlook but instead I’ve come up with this action plan for the owners as they ultimately call the shots.

    1) Revamp the club’s technical management setup from top to bottom. Replace senior figures on the board, kindly ask SAF and Charlton to remove their disruptive influence from the club by retiring once and for all. If they don’t oblige, kick them out of the club.

    2) Terminate Moyes’ contract and get rid of the entire coaching staff. Bring in Heynckes, give him emergency funds and a short term contract with a clause for extension if a top 4 finish is attained. This is literally the least desperate roll of the dice I could think of to save the season.

    3) Make an updated assessment of their continuing ownership of the club. Acknowledge the changing landscape of football where history and identity is often trumped by investment if you want success and the revenue that comes with it along with the best sponsors. Is the pay-off for lavish spending on the squad adequate for their financial ambitions (since they don’t see football as a way of satisfying their ego)? If the answer is yes, keep hold of the club and act accordingly, if no, then sell the club for a monstrous profit.

    Right now we’re in free-fall and in total panic mode so I can’t see how we can implement this, but we really are at a cross-roads. People thought Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds were to too big to fall into mediocrity, but it all happened so quickly with little warning and now we are going down at warp speed. It all feels so surreal and it’s very debilitating, wow, we really have to get a result against Swansea this weekend because then it’s a trip to Stamford Bridge before the 2nd leg of the semi-final, 3 games that can end our season in January 😯

    Have a nice day everybody 😆

  4. If the current situation continues to deteriorate, we may well see the Glazers getting far more involved in the day to day running of the club. So far they were quite happy to let Gill run the business side and Fergie the team. These two had a full understanding of how to run it all given the constraints imposed upon them by the reality of the Glazer take over and its financial ramifications. It seems that whilst the financial position has been greatly improved through substantial debt reduction whilst gross revenue has more than doubled, the Glazers are likely to face new challenges. They left Fergie’s succession to the people running the club and it must now be clear to them that whilst there was no other option this may well have been an error. With the share price having fallen some 14% over the last few weeks, the Glazers may well be re-evaluating their position as regards the club management. My guess is that they will not allow this situation to go on just in order to give the manager “enough time”. If their stewardship of Tampa Bay Buccaneers is anything to go by, they will not hesitate to change “coach” in order to achieve on-field objectives. That modus operandi may well extend to the CEO if he is unable to deliver the results they require. I would be very surprised if the Glazers don’t take action sooner rather than later unless Moyes can at least show that he is on the right path and that he has the capability to eventually achieve what is expected.

    • @Julian: Totally get your point,but I’ve said in a previous thread, to get rid of moyes your going to have to move on Charlton and ferguson as well. Moyes, plain and simple, was their selection. If moyes goes, charlton and ferguson lose all credibility at boardroom level and their positions become untenable. Would the glazers be prepared to cause so much upheaval at board level? .That one’s open to debate.

      • @THE RED BARON: Yes I think there’s a strong possibility that they will do whatever is necessary. This is a worst case scenario and for now they will go along with Fergie’s view of things. But they wont just sit idly by whilst their investment sinks into oblivion. Hopefully Moyes will do something. I’m not sure, though, that the word luck and Moyes fit comfortably together in the same sentence.

        • @Julian: Your Wright, the glazers will basically do what they want.My point was,if moyes, ferguson and Charlton all went, Knowing ferguson’s history (rock of Gibraltar for example) do you think he’d take it lying down? .not a chance.The club would end up in a worse situation than it is now (if that’s possible), making player or managerial recruitment near enough impossible. That’s why I believe sacking moyes (which I believe they should) could have bigger consequences than we could imagine.

      • @THE RED BARON: This is exactly where the problem lies. The only way for Moyes to get the sack is for Fergie to give up on him. The only hope we have of this happening is actually what we despise most of Moyes…his PR skills. We can only but hope that he “accidently” says something that will piss Fergie off.

        • @Karl: Think ferguson’s more concerned about feathering his own nest at present, than what’s happening at utd.Your Wright though, if moyes loses the confidence of ferguson and Charlton, he’s well and truly fucked.

  5. I am much more in favour of writing off this season and starting from scratch in the summer with a proper clear out bringing in three or four new names and ideally a new manager.

    The risk with giving Moyes lots of money is that he could end up wasting it on players that do not fit into his replacement’s style of play or are simply not Manchester United standard such as Fellaini.

    Moyes has no experience operating with a large budget. And even if he did manage to make a few decent signings it won’t change the fact that the rest of the team is performing well below what they are capable of and our tactics totally suck.

    Unfortunately Moyes simply isn’t an inspirational manager and his schoolmaster style doesn’t cut it at a club like ours. Giving him unlimited funds won’t change anything and will just make it harder to give the next guy the funds to clean up the mess.

    In the long term I think it will work out though. Moyes will be gone in a season or two and his failure will take the pressure off the next manager. Also under Moyes’ tenure we will get rid of all the ageing players such as Carrick, Van Persie, Vidic, Rio, Giggs, Evra whose standards have dropped dramatically this season. Probably we will lose Rooney as well but it could be for the greater good.

    So two years of mid table finishes, get rid of Moyes, hire a world class manager and give him £120M over a few seasons to rebuild the team.

    • @colver: If you think about it, one of the main reasons Moyes was employed (I think) was his ability to operate a limited budget. Why on earth then would he now be handed an “unlimited” budget. This means some people automatically admit that they made a mistake…will not happen.
      As you said, lets hope he spends wisely so not to cause bigger problems for his eventual successor.

      I am very serious qhen I say this… I think one of the best “purchases” United can make in Jan is to hire somone like JayWire as technical consultant. I am 100% sure he can perform better than Neville & co.
      How do you get That accross to United management?

  6. Our window of opportunity has come & gone.Moyes had the august window to get the job done,but he failed.Money was ‘supposedly’ available,but the results were not forthcoming.Moyes selected the wrong players to chase & ended up with nothing to show for it.Woodward must share part of this attrocious responsibilty.Realistically,United might not even qualify for the Europa League @ the end of the season.Who is going to come to us then?What will all the money ‘available’ mean then?Nothing.Moyes & Co. Blew it.Time to face the facts,we are royally screwed,and then some.

  7. AndersRed and ‘Anonymous’ posting on his blog ( clearly an insider at OT) have called the finances correctly. The share price falls and rises are not even remotely significant. Even before a new kit deal United have about £80m a year to spend on transfers out of freecash from now on. The debt situation is resolved, it costs less than £20m per annum to service. The Glazers can spend £100m this January without any concerns.
    However the finances are not the problem.
    Firstly no-one who is any good at clubs who remotely believe they might win something this season are just not available unless United overpaid 100% ( and maybe not even then).
    Secondly, the ‘Manchester’ effect is still important, a lot of wives/partners of top players just dont want to move to rainy Manchester if there is any chance of Paris, Monaco, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona or London. This stops many players entertaining a move to United ( and many Germans just wont move from Germany, preferring to wait to be engulfed by the Bayern ‘hoover’).
    But most importantly what exactly is the balance between the level of players in the team/squad and skills of the manager and his team? If £100m is spent either now or in the summer, is the manager capable of using this talent to mould a winning team?
    Last night was another example of how many players were performing below capability. Is it a case of introducing 2/3 top players to change the dressing room , or will the general malaise just draw them down to the level of the others?
    Which is the bigger risk, getting a new manager quickly or spending money hoping it will do the trick?

    • @JW: Spot on, sir! But money talks as Man City has shown and 100m is plenty… with Brazilians playing in coldest corners of Europe (Ukraine, Russia, no offense mates!), surely anything is possible 😉

      Dan, opinion is good and all, but you cannot just make up stuff to fit your story. You are not Rafael Benitez and that is a fact.

      “£80m deriving from a Champions League spot” is not true.
      You get 20 million from just entering group stages and United made 35 million total from champions league participation last year (first knockout round). Bayern made 55 million winning winning it (TV rights + Prize money) — surely you are not expecting United to win the Champions League this season or next? I do not see how you can get 80 million.

      • @Opti: The figures you mention are true. However, they swell up to £80m when you factor in sponsorships and performance-related prizes. Just as a record, I do not use figures as stop gaps :). Although I admit that it could have been misinterpreted. 😀

        • @Dan: I know you’re a good guy!!! I just find that the arguments used to destine United for Doomsday are too flimsy.

          The numbers I mentioned included Prize Money and TV Rights. Sponsor money and ticket revenue would also occur in a tour of the Europa League spot. Therefore the losses from missing Champions League no where near 80 million, which is what flowed into United’s coffers last year in profits.

          Cost of missing out on Top 4 = 55 million from UCL – Money from Europa League < 45 million for sure.

        • The numbers I had were similar, but you haven’t factored in some of the sponsorships that get activated only in case of Champions League qualification – had no idea there was such a thing, took me ages to go through the article that I was pointed to by a reliable source – which push the cost higher than the £55m you mention – which is largely a correct assessment by the way.

          Furthermore, I don’t believe we could finish high enough to snatch a Europa League spot – one of them, for instance, could go to Sunderland if they make the Capital One Cup final – hence why I didn’t factor in the prospect of recouping some of the losses with profits from the Europa League.

          Oh, and thanks for the good guy tag btw! Don’t get to hear it or read it too often these days 🙂

  8. Firstly, I am a plastic fan, and proud!


    this might be my only dysfunction but…

    Michael Carrick is YOUR spiritual leader, now.

    He is LIVING PROOF that NO STATS now means GOOD STATS!

    His gormless little mind actually came up with something clever, and whilst catching flies and thinking of new ways to NOT commit to anything that may happen on the pitch, he realised that doing nothing good and nothing especially bad actually leads to no criticism and gets him continually picked.

    He even got a supporters song out of it!

    Simply being a middle man for the ball, gives him high pass completion and stats are SO important aren’t they?

    Being an effective player now means nothing…nor does actual exciting events or examples of good play we can remember.

    In his ultimate, gormless wisdom, he decided that:

    Hectoring instead of tackling, is the thing to do

    Defending when United are attacking also works out for him

    Marking the referee at all times but never picking up or marking a player on the other team, also makes him look busy.

    Passing opposing players on to team mates to mark gives him a sense of worth!

    This site NEVER ceases to amaze me,


    one word, FAKES

    it’s full of fakes, just like me, and grog!

    According to the historical content of this blog, many of its users are season ticket holders in the Stretford End!

    This means (if you extrapolate things out) that the Stretford End actually holds something like 1.6 million people!


    Best of luck!



  9. This is a huge test of the Glazers. They are 6 months into this new world, they must have realised they need to invest a minimum of £100m in the squad (just to may be keep up with the top four) and they must be questioning the appointment of Moyes on the recommendation made by Ferguson and Charlton.

    So at what point do the Glazers consider exit options? I do not believe they would ever move on Ferguson or Charlton, they know they are bigger assets to the brand in Manchester United than outside it – they are the heart of the club. The Glazers may just look to sell and if they do then expect it to be bloody as these are hard assed dollar loving business men.

    So we need to stop shouting about Moyes, you have to back him and we have to focus on the real battle in town which is to drive these bald mother fuckers out of town. It is absolutley time for the Green and Gold to come back out. What we now need as a fan base is to be more United than we have ever been, because the only way to success is to get these bastards out.

    Until the day United are able to operate as a no debt business on the basis of our commercial activities then we are dead. What does the article say above, that Sunderland and Stoke spent more than us in the transfer market in the last eight years. That is a truly stunning and frightening statistic.

    • @giggyjon: I am of the opinion that the opposite which is to start “shouting about Moyes” might help. This might put pressure on him and hopefully he will accidently mouth off against Fergie. Pissing Fergie off is our biggest hope of him getting the sack.

  10. The idea that there is chasm lying between us not spending on reinforcements and the current state of affairs, is to suggest that putting your tongue in an electrical outlet will not lead to a bad case of frizzy hair, ask Felaini, he does is all the time.
    But, of course, to be sure, there is a direct connection with cutting off your nose to the way you look, and if United had not cut off their spending on replenishing their player pool the way they looked lately might have been a lot more sightly.
    Cause and effect – should we be surprised??

  11. Get Daniel Parejo, get Ricardo Alvarez, get Draxler. So many fucking great midfielders. Get 50 million dollars, buy 1, then repeat 3-4 times. Has to be better than sitting still while the ship sinks. Nothing will be as costly as doing nothing. Pay too much. Pay WAY too much. Pay so much people think you’re setting money on fire. Then, watch the team actually compete.

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