Manchester United: Just another Chelsea
FOR a long time now, Manchester United fans have goaded other clubs for throwing their money around and buying various titles, accusing their rivals of having no soul.
Of course, ManYoo are no better, from their club-made banners that hang in the stadium to the very obvious huge sums of money they’ve thrown around themselves at their various squads. Sure, they’ve played some lads from the youth team, but that doesn’t make them any better than their competitors. In fact, in a lot of cases, they’ve spent more money that the rivals they mock.
This year, we saw Man Utd spend 18% of ALL the money forked out by Premier League clubs in this summer’s transfer window.
The club splashed £59.7m on Angel di Maria from Real Madrid alone, while in the meantime, selling off two promising young strikers from their squad in Welbeck and Hernandez. Even in Falcao, a mere loan player, Man Utd will be paying him more money than Wayne Rooney earns. Falcao will be getting more money from Old Trafford bosses than Arsenal will pay Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil combined.
And now, former Manchester United defender Phil Neville thinks that the club need another spending spree, with a £100 million-plus blurt required if they’re going to challenge for the league title.
With new manager Louis van Gaal throwing money around like a new lottery winner on Di Maria, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao, Neville thinks that there’s more cash to be spent.
“I know United have spent £150m,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I think there’s another two transfer windows of similar amounts of money needed – maybe £100m – before they can even think about winning the title. There are still key positions in the team that need filling. I think the centre-back position is obviously the key area. Holding midfield or centre midfield needs addressing too.”
‘There were no world-class centre backs out there (this summer). I think that’s why in the next two transfer windows, United might still be looking for that world-class defender.”
Of course, there’s a number of fans who will love this, because a maintainable business model or the heart of a club don’t matter when all you’re concerned about is numbers and trophies. It must stick in the craw of older Man United fans who see their fellow fans concerning themselves only with how many trophies the club have and how much money they can spend.
There’s Manchester United fans who sing to smaller teams “We’ve got a stand that’s bigger than your ground”, or supporters who mock Arsenal for their lack of trophies. A product of the ‘football is a results business’ rhetoric, which is making many elements of professional football so achingly tedious, Manchester United, naturally, does have a heart and soul, just like Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City & Co, but it has been swallowed by short memories and overdrafts.
The Top 5 Mentality is the single most tedious facet of modern football, with more games happening each weekend that aren’t even in the Premier League. Manchester United’s fans who define their love by success are, whether they like it or not, the thing they level against hooting Liverpool fans who bleat on about the 70s and 80s, and the thing they berate Chelsea and Manchester City for.
And now, in the post Ferguson years, Manchester United fans are finding out, or being reminded, that reputation and cheque books count for nothing and that, you better find something else to love and enjoy about football because, without the success, you’ll have nothing to cheer about.
At Old Trafford, the young players aren’t valued like they were, the club is getting into dangerous debt, managers are binned off without completing a season and it doesn’t look like the rot in the boardroom is being protected from the people who are required to get results on match day.
It’s easy to tell yourself you’ve heart and soul when you’ve got a club that has the money to design it and implement it for you…