MANCHESTER UNITED are a mess and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hands are dirty.
It’s been a season of one step forward, two steps back and this week the step back was made by Goliath as Burnley won at Old Trafford for the first time in 57 YEARS.
The difference in this totally deserved 2-0 loss was how toxic the atmosphere became with fans booing and chanting absolute venom at Ed Woodward and the Glazers.
There is no question the club’s executive vice-chairman and owners are the two biggest culprits for the club’s demise but the manager, players and whisper it quietly even the great Sir Alex Ferguson all need to shoulder some blame.
Fergie left an aging squad with glaring holes in it, cosied up to the Glazers and recommended David Moyes who was a total disaster as his replacement. The players – many vastly over-rated – believe their own hype while Solskjaer is out of his depth.
Since Sir Alex left in 2013 the club have been in freefall, a dizzying spiral that has culminated in damning stats like this – United have dropped 57 points since March 10, Liverpool have dropped two.
That is the current gulf in class between Britain’s two greatest clubs but there is just as much to worry about at the opposite end of the scale as six of the current bottom ten teams have now beaten Solskjaer’s boys.
This is the worst United squad in 30 years who have been totally crippled by three, albeit key injuries, to Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay.
But United are second on a list (behind City) of Europe’s biggest net spenders since 2015 with a whopping £485m – with little or nothing to show for it. For comparison Liverpool are in 29th place which makes their dominance even more impressive.
After Moyes, and in between Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer, they had some fancy Dan’s showing up probably on the strength of the name with a nostalgic sense of who Manchester United used to be.
This summer Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Dan James and Harry Maguire signed because they had grown up seeing United as the No 1 club – but how many 10-year-old future superstars will pick Old Trafford over Anfield and the Etihad in 2030?
It seems it’s not only Blackpool Pleasure Beach that is after donkeys because since 2013 United have spent good money of the likes of Michael Keane, Nick Powell, Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian, Diego Dalot, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rojo and Guillermo Varela.
Then there were the surprise flops like Alexis Sanchez, Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Angel Di Maria and Victor Valdes. Throw in the blow hot and colds like Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Romelu Lukaku and ‘never-been-good-enoughs’ like Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Phil Jones and you have a mess that rivals Brexit.
Elite players will not want to come to a club with no Champions League football. Mercenaries by their very nature love money and they will see a club that has damaged the reputations of many top stars in the past six and a half years. They will not want to go the same way as their attractiveness to other clubs will be damaged, ergo their ability to demand higher wages.
United off the field are not helping themselves. Last season a ludicrous Pogba emoji was flashed up around the ground. By indulging the Frenchman in such a way for commercial reasons, it was almost inevitable that he’d subsequently act like an entitled fool.
Yes he’s been crocked but you do not sense him busting a gut to get right and out on the pitch to help his struggling team-mates. His agent Mino Raiola has said this week the club ‘don’t match Paul’s ambition’ – this is only ending one way.
And in what crazy world where Everton have Carlo Ancelotti as manger do United get stuck with Solksjaer?
The year is 2026, United are sixth . . . in the Championship . . . and with his customary twinkle in his eye, fake bravado and rose-tinted glasses the Norwegian insists they can still reach the Champions League places. Okay that might seem a bit OTT but if they fall as far and as fast in the next six years as they have done in the past six then who knows?
To those saying ‘give him more time’ they are either fans of rival clubs or the super deluded who nod their head in agreement when he cracks his crooked grin and says United are still the greatest club in the world.
They simple are not – not in terms of the team, the pull of the manager and now their last bastion of being the richest is gone.
God must love stupid people. He made so many. But the people at United need to wise up and fast before this once global superpower becomes as irrelevant as Jessie J or Rob Kardashian.
JORDAN PICKFORD is often mocked and likened to a T-Rex with short, useless arms – not the best attribute for a Premier League goalkeeper.
And he added to that myth midweek in an absurd 2-2 draw with Newcastle. Liverpool have dropped two points in six months, Everton did it in 90 seconds this week.
Leading by two goals in the third of four minutes of injury time they somehow managed to draw against a side with Joelinton up front.
The Brazilian appears to have all the footballing talent of a wardrobe – slow, clumsy, no acceleration, no positional strength and lackadaisical in defence.
Luckily for Toon their comeback was as much down to Pickford’s panic as Florian Lejeune’s double.
Somehow he is England’s No 1 but with his increasing lack of footballing intelligence I often wonder if his parents are cousins?
AND finally the records keep tumbling as Liverpool became just the fifth side in English Football League history to go 40 league games unbeaten.
Their 2-1 win at Wolves was probably their most hard-fought three points of what could be a historic season. The only downside was Sadio Mane going off injured. The Reds will miss his Labrador-like thirst for a chase, but with a 16-point lead and a game in hand, they have the luxury – and the squad – to rest him until he is 100 per cent ready to return.
The Red juggernaut has the title firmly in their sights but the next milestone could be the record 49 unbeaten of Arsenal’s great 2003-04 side. And that could come on April 4 away at the Etihad on a day where the title could finally be theirs – wrenching it out the hands of holders Manchester City on their own turf while simultaneously equally the Invincibles record would be sweeter for their fans than a puppy dipped in honey.