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Wilf McGuinness was the first known case of ‘Matt Busby Syndrome’, an ailment that affected coaches who came to the bench Man Utd after the myth. The Scotsman hung up the board but remained within the club, and for George Best or Bobby Charlton, who had been European champions with him, he was still in charge. It was the mistake that Sir Alex Ferguson tried to avoid, but nine years later the club has not gotten over the goodbye of the other great Scottish legend. No trace of direction, no trace of greatness.
Ferguson is sacked in 2013 lifting the title of Premier League champion, a familiar sight at Old Trafford. The coach won 13 of the 21 he played, and never fell below third place. The board has been turned upside down since his departure: United have only finished in the top three in three of these nine seasons. The balance (a Europa League, an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Community Shield) is miserable for a club that the Scot had once again made a giant.
The most repeated diagnosis He points to the box. To the Glazers, whose ownership divides the fans, and to Ed Woodward, the man who helped them take control of the club and who has been its sporting director for the past decade. In that time, United have been the fifth team that has spent the most in Europe (more than 1,400 million euros) and the one that has had the worst balance in the transfer account (-1,000 million). A mountain of money to put together one mediocre team after another.
Between signings that did not work (Di María, Alexis Sánchez); signings where he weighed more the nostalgia that the need (Cristiano Ronaldo, Pogba); Old Glories (Schweinsteiger); players who had no place in a club of that stature (Zaha, Schneiderlin, Marcos Rojo), Manchester United has been diluted. If there was anything less exhilarating than the team’s debut against Brighton, it was the rumors the next day of an alleged interest in Rabiot.
A club without direction
The most obvious symptom of the lack of direction that United suffers from is on the bench, where they have already passed eight coaches from the Ferguson outlet. The first, David Moyes, was signed to a six-year contract and was fired without finishing the first. After a life at Everton, the shoes of his compatriot came to him immense.
To compensate, they came louis van gaal and Jose Mourinho. Megalomaniac coaches, for whom nothing is too big in their eyes, with very marked ideas, but opposed to each other. Lurches that did not bear fruit either. With the Portuguese they became second, but at a huge distance from Manchester City. They tried the practical (and limited) with Solskjaer, and the ‘risky’ with Rangnick.
So until you reach Erik ten Hag, who this weekend saw first-hand the size of the task ahead of him. A mediocre defense, a flat midfield, an attack without more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo, on his way to 38 years old and rebelling looking for a way out.
“We have a lot of work”, admitted the coach after the 1-2 loss to Brighton at Old Trafford, a stadium where every step reminds of the enormous legacy they have failed to fulfill. To get to the stadium from the north, the easiest way is to take Via Sir Alex Ferguson. Once inside, in front of the bench, is the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. Perhaps in addition to a street and a grandstand, the Scotsman also ends up giving his name to another syndrome of Manchester United.
According to the criteria of
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