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Manchester United are a club in turmoil on and off the pitch, performances have been extremely uninspiring and results have been way below expectation. Yet somehow manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still finds himself in a job and according to reliable journalists like Laurie Whitwell and Fabrizio Romano, his job is not under immediate threat.
Aston Villa are a club aiming at Europa league football at best and they sacked their manager, Dean Smith, after it was starting to look like that objective wouldn’t materalise. They anticipated the way things were going and they acted. Now in Steven Gerrard, they have what many people would agree to be an upgrade on Dean Smith and their goals for the campaign could still be achieved.
The way a ‘mid table’ club has handled a similar situation to United’s highlights not just the incompetency of the board at Man United but also how far the standards have dropped from a club that used to accept nothing but being the best. Ed Woodward is in my opinion the key to this because since David Gill’s retirement and Ed Woodward’s appointment in 2012, Manchester United have won just one Premier League trophy.
Since Ferguson’s departure in 2013 (eight years ago), the club has won one FA Cup, one Carabao Cup, and one Europa League and no other trophies. In the league, top four has been the aim and if that is achieved then whoever is at the helm, however dire the performances are, is safe.
Although, even the Glazers and Ed Woodward are aware that Manchester United fans aren’t going to accept Solskjaer still being in a job and pressure will continue to mount on them until they part ways with Ole. So what do they do? Well, most football clubs that are run like football clubs would sack the manager first and his coaching staff and have a contingency plan in place to replace him.
The most important thing though is to sack a manager who has deserved to lose his job five times over and whose reputation as a club legend deserves to be respected. He has taken Manchester United as far as he’s capable of, he has done well to bring back consistent Champions League football which in turn has seen big names like Fernandes, Varane, and Ronaldo join as they see an opportunity to win things.
However, he has reached his ceiling, he isn’t the man to get the best out of what is now a technically very gifted group of players. He was effective when we had a smaller and less talented group of players which tells you everything you need to know. Despite this glaring fact, Ed Woodward and the Glazers didn’t do the obvious thing, they clearly don’t have any sort of plan in place for a successor and instead, they play the only card they know how to, spin, spin, and more spin.
There is no doubt Manchester United have a highly effective PR team who know which journalists to go to for stories about Brendan Rodgers and Zinedine Zidane. They know that the top-tier journalists like Romano, David Ornstein, and Whitwell have inside sources at the club who they trust and won’t feed them with unsustainable rumors. So instead they go to the lower tier journalists like Duncan Castles who they know will run whatever they tell him as his main goal isn’t to provide trustworthy, reliable journalism but to be noticed and get traction on social media.
By doing this, stories are released by these fourth or fifth-tier journalists and Manchester United know they will trend on Twitter and create excitement. Because fans of the club are desperate for some news and to keep hold of the hope of the dream appointment in Zidane. This way of creating false truths to take pressure off themselves isn’t too different from the work of ‘spin doctors’ who work for politicians.
Manchester United and the Conservative party have more in common than people think, the main difference though is in politics despite all the spin, the people get their say when they vote. The people of Manchester vote for Labour and the fans of Manchester United would vote for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be sacked. Sadly though, Manchester United is a dictatorship and the voices of the fans are nothing but an inconvenience, one that can be shut down with spin, spin, and more spin.