The eruption of Mount Vesuvius

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United players lost v Olympiakos in Greece Feb 14Not too long ago, I was offered the opportunity to write an article discussing the present situation with our beloved – former great – Manchester United. At the time I turned the chance down but, with the caveat that when I felt United had finally reached rock bottom and I reach my Vesuvius point of eruption, I would put pen to paper and rant my bloody spleen out.

Well guess what? That day has arrived.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to surmise that what we have here with Manchester United is an unmitigated disaster. Simply put, one of the largest and fastest mass demolition jobs off all time. Imagine if you will watching Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich going from a champion to a chump in one short season. I remember a few years back before Jupp Heyneckes returned to resurrect Bayern to its heralded state, that the Munich club had fallen to (God forbid), third place under Louis van Gaal. At Bayern third place was akin to the end of World War 2 or having to pay reparations described in the Treaty of Versailles. For them this was an unacceptable failure and a massive disaster. Yet not all was lost, they were still awarded a Champions League spot. Obviously though, worst case for them was not quite as bad as what is presently taking place at Old Trafford.

It’s important to remember that van Gaal had the year before guided Munich to the Champions League final. Yet that was not good enough to save his job simply because the Bavarian giants operate by the mottos “Second To None” and “What have you done for us lately?” In Bavaria, second or third is not tolerated. Hell, last season they were on their way to an unprecedented treble and before the season was over, they forced that Treble winning manager, Jupp Heynckes to step down at season’s end and be replaced by former Barcelona chief Pep Guardiola. That club was thinking ahead and not even concerned with the present. Can the same be said about the archaic and sadly out of touch and out of time Manchester United?

Round, Moyes, Neville v Olympiakos Feb 14So now lets fast forward to the present. It’s official, we have now reached rock bottom. The HMS Manchester United has sunk with all hands on deck. The loss last night in Greece left me ashamed, embarrassed and fuming mad. I was this close to throwing my can of beer at the tv, but the truth is, I value my television way too much for such a rash reaction to occur. I’d rather throw some Ninja stars at David Moyes and his three stooges he calls coaches for yet again managing to reach new lows. Just when I think the wound is finally beginning to heal and close, Dave and the boys rake it open with another example of total and utter ineptitude. Losing to a sad sack outfit like the Greek champions has got to be the lowest I have felt about this team since I became a devoted fan back in 1976.

Sure there were ups and downs during that time and some bad results but not since 1986 have I felt so ashamed and fucking exhausted following my club. I can only imagine how many of you who were born and raised in Manchester and surrounding areas feel.

This performance vs Olympiacos has got to be the tipping point. The day everything became perpetually pear shaped. The worst case scenario it isn’t. Oh no, you would have to give David Moyes another year and half of time to allow that to happen. But make no mistake, this is pretty bloody bad and it has to STOP RIGHT ******* NOW (PLACE STEAMING RAGE FACE HERE). I apologize for the profanity but I have a hard time controlling myself when I get very hot under the collar.

The time has come then for me to finally make a plea to the powers that be. It’s no surprise to any of you that I am not and have never been a fan of David Moyes, and that I was against his hiring from day one. I fully knew he was a mediocrity and therefore, when he was hired some nine months ago I accurately predicted what has transpired up to now under his regime. The frustrating thing is that for me it was so bloody easy to prognosticate this worst case scenario for 2013/14.

Moyes had always shown himself to be a pedestrian manager (aka muppet) with very limited managerial pedigree and an even lesser aptitude for strategy and tactics and man management. Don’t believe me? Just ask RVP, Chicharito and the other dozen players or so who want out what they think of good old Dave? His appointment was simply a case of being in Fergie’s good graces and by sharing with his fellow Scot a similar heritage, set of values and work ethic. None of these attributes should have been good enough however to replace the departing Sir Alex. Not by a long shot.

Well almost nine months have passed since that infamous day last May of 2013 and the nightmare 2013/14 season is well over 2/3 complete. It’s safe for me to say that the season has been an unmitigated disaster. I have watched with all of you the horror. I have winced at all the idiotic tactical decisions, the team starting selections, the post match interviews, the stubborn unwillingness to change the way things are being done when they clearly don’t work and above all, the increased bad habit of losing. The time has come for fans to finally rebel and demand a change. Be mad as Hell and refuse to take it anymore. We are bloody Manchester United.

KloppThe romance and courting of David Moyes is definitely over. Fergie can take his plea to the fans about supporting the new manager and stuff it where the sun doesn’t shine. Enough is enough. I BLOODY WELL WANT JUERGEN KLOPP AND I WANT HIM NOW.

The season is a write-off, a disaster of epic proportions. In one season we have gone from champs to chumps. We have gone from being a club with a pedigree and highly regarded reputation to a club who nobody is scared of and who the media laugh and poke fun at. Old Trafford has gone from being the “Theatre of Dreams” to “Our House of Pain”. What used to be an impregnable fortress now seems like a sieve. We lose more games at home now than we win it seems. We have become in seven months, a laughing stock and God forbid, a minnow. We are now Minnowchester United. meanwhile, our noisy neighbours strut around town calling themselves the toast of Manchester and England. This disgrace has got to stop.

As a devoted and loyal fan for the better part of 40 years, I demand that radical changes are made. My views on the players and the owners have become very clear. My views on Moyes and his stooges are well documented. I no longer have any patience for the dog n pony show that is presently playing itself out at Old Trafford on a day to day basis. I am and I agree, a very spoiled fan who has a high feeling of entitlement. As I should be, we all should be. After all, I am a fan of Manchester United, the best fucking football club and sports franchise in the world. Not this band of misfits mismanaged by an incompetent buffoon that are steadfastly going nowhere but down. I as well as all United fans in the world expect, no, we demand much more and deserve a lot more.

25 years of success under Sir Alex Ferguson was fantastic but it not enough. It will never be enough. My expectations for a club that is amongst the richest in the world is that it play and conduct itself like one. So without further delay and without more and more pain and embarrassment being forced down our collective throats, it is time for the Glazer family to either wake the fuck up and start spending, or sell the team to someone who will. It’s time to stop scraping the bottom of the bargain bin and stop being prisoners to Fergie’s old boy’s network and bring United out of the 20th century and into the 21st.

It’s time to think outside the box. look around and adapt to modern methodologies and the always changing dynamics of the game both on the pitch and in the board room. It’s time to open up the coffers but good this time and hire a manager like Juergen Klopp who can bring passion, enthusiasm as well as a new wave of strategic and tactical expertise to the club before we fall do far behind that we end up being no better than the Stoke’s and West Ham’s of the world. We are United, we should be up there with the Bayern Munich’s, Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s. The Chelsea’s, Arsenal’s and Manchester City’s should be viewed in our rear view mirror and they should be the clubs panicking and wondering what they need to do to keep up with us.

Ronaldo 2009I want, and demand that we start performing and carrying ourselves as a club like Bayern Munich. Not just on the pitch but off it. Have the confidence, arrogance and unmitigated gall to demand perfection every year. Shoot for perfection. We need to regain the chip we used to carry on our shoulder similar to the one we had in 2007. The one that left with Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009. We have lost our mojo and damn it, I want it back, and I won’t apologize for wanting my cake and eating it as well.

Some of you may say that what I want is greedy and bordering on delusional. Is it….really? As many of you know, not having been raised in Manchester or England for that matter, I had chosen from an early age to support two clubs from two separate nations. I support both Manchester United as well as Bayern Munich. In fact I have been a fan of Bayern’s even longer than United by five years. I know this confuses and frustrates many of you and it even angers a few of you who just don’t get it but I don’t expect many of you to get it or understand my methodology but believe me when I say that Manchester United is the club I have loved the most since 1990. During the 1999 Champions League final I was cheering for United to beat Bayern. I think I always will, although to be honest I find it harder these days due to the fact the Glazer’s have taken the fun out of it for me. As well, the players on United these days as whole do little for me whereas the roster of Bayern Munich just makes me lick my chops with joy. Yet still, I love my United more. In two short years Bayern have built what may go down as the greatest club team of all time. And still, every day I wake up and go to the computer to find out what is happening with United first. On Saturday morning I wake up to watch United play live while recording the Bayern game for later. So despite my love for two clubs, Manchester United is still my number one choice or preference when all is said and done.

My question to all of you based on present circumstances is do they deserve that kind of love, devotion and attention from or all of you? Right now I don’t think they do. Die hard United fans who were born and raised to support the club would of course disagree and I understand and respect them for that. But what of the legions of United supporters around the world who don’t live by the same territorial bias or birth right? I never inherited my love for the club and I wasn’t born in Salford. I chose United back in 1976 because I liked the style of football they played. And despite ups and downs over the decades, United clubs for the most part always offered entertaining attacking football with a commitment to their fans. That clearly is no longer on display at Old Trafford.

I am clearly a tired and fed up United supporter who has watched this club go from being the very best in the world in 2007 to something bordering on mediocrity since then. Even in Fergie’s final years this club lacked the entertainment value of pre 2008 clubs. The attacking mentality and above all, the ambition to not only be the very best in England, but in Europe seemed to slowly vanish. Fergie became increasingly content with just padding his own CV and buying older players for the short term fix and bargain basement youth for his unfortunate heir.

Meanwhile clubs like Chelsea and City were breaking the bank to buy world class players and managers who would be determined to dethrone us once and for all. At the same time, Real Madrid and Barcelona continued to spend like crazy sheikhs competing to maintain their lofty positions in the game’s hierarchy. Then you have the German giants Bayern deciding that winning the Bundesliga was clearly not enough for them. Even pretenders like Monaco and PSG joined in on the spending spree with their lofty ambitions. All the while United still ran the club’s business as if it was 1995. Spending much less than these other clubs while following former Italian giants like Milan, Inter and Juventus into membership of the “Has Beens Club”.

Bottom line in today’s football world is that if you snooze, you lose. And United were bloody well in a coma. We have been caught sitting on our asses while the game has passed us by and other ambitious clubs are spending and pushing the envelope to outperform United and other less ambitious stragglers. United and the Glazer’s have forgotten the old adage that in order to talk the talk, one must also walk the walk.

So can all this doom and gloom end with United regaining its former glory and tarnished image? The simple answer is YES. But things have to change. Fergie has to stop hovering over proceedings like a vulture or Grim Reaper. His presence at OT during matches only makes me feel sorry for Moyes but it also tells me that the old boy’s network is still running things at United. Meanwhile the rest of the world as well as the game moves forward.

The Glazer’s need to stop stealing from the club and they need to spend big and undo the damage their extortion and debt creation has caused. a severe form of damage that has handcuffed the club up to now. Half the squad needs to be sold and seven or eight new players with world class or close to world class skill need to be bought. And believe me when I say that is no exaggeration. We are that poor and pathetic on the pitch. Of course this massive overhaul cannot happen overnight unless a manager of world class renown and pedigree is hired to turn things around both on and off the field and change the mentality and the culture at the club to something resembling the new millennium.

Klopp with MourinhoWe already lost out on our golden opportunity to sign Jose Mourinho but honestly for me, the best possible candidate is still Juergen Klopp. A man who has done wonders with Dortmund despite their financial restrictions and lack of player depth. A man who has charisma, humour, personality, the respect of all his players and a manager who is proven to be a master tactician known for his attacking, fast paced brand of football. Above all, Klopp is a man who is loyal but who also has stated his desire to manage in the English Premier League. Can we sign him in the summer? Will we sign him the summer? Probably not. After all, he is perfectly the man we need to help lift United out of the doldrums the club presently finds itself. The man who can bring back the attacking football and innovation we were once famous for. A winner who has performed wonders with what used to be a relatively small side in Dortmund. And despite losing Gotze, despite putting up with the lack of loyalty from Lewandowski, and the complete destruction this season of his back four to injury, he still has Dortmund in the top three in Germany and in the final 16 in the Champions League. The man can just flat out manage. I love him despite being a Bayern supporter. I love him because when one thinks about it, what’s not to love. All the more reason for the Glazer’s to not hire him. They never do the right thing.

Klopp as a man and celebrity has cult status in Germany. He will eventually lead his nations national side I have no doubt. But before that happens, United must break with their terrible tradition of not hiring Germans in any role. Let’s start with Juergen Klopp and let’s hope that by doing this we can reverse the damage created by one Scotsman hiring his neighbour to manage the greatest club in the world. Hire the German to stop the bleeding and to elevate us to the level Manchester United needs to be, BEST IN THE WORLD. Moyes out, Klopp in. Sack Moyes now and get an interim manager for the rest of the season until Klopp is available. JUERGEN KLOPP YOU’RE OUR ONLY HOPE!

Grognard

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