Manchester United are arguably England’s biggest football club and sits amongst other European giants as the biggest clubs in world football, but a club that was once regardless as a go-to team for trophies and individual awards has in the past few years fallen flat on its face.
The year 2013 is significant in many ways to English football but for Manchester United and its supporters, it signals the year they lost their beloved legendary coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, Midfield Gem, Paul Scholes and their strong hold on English football. It was the year it all came crashing down both on the pitch and off it.
What followed was the appointment of a New manager at Manchester United, David Moyes who had been termed the “chosen one” by United supporters globally with the hope that he’d be the one to lead the team to greater success building on the strong foundation laid by arguably the best coach in the world, Fergie.
Those hopes were quickly wiped off by a consistent string of poor performance that led the team to finish seventh and led to him being shown the door by the board led by Executive Chairman, Ed Woodward.
The Seventh place finish was their worst in decades but things were only about to get worse and from then onwards it was more disaster and disappointment.
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Manchester United – Van Gaal And His Galacticos
In the summer of 2014, United welcomed Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal who had just led the Netherlands team consisting of United Talisman, Robin Van Persie to a third-place finish embarrassingly defeating world champions Spain in the process. A match where Van Persie famously took a flight to score one of the best goals in Modern Football history.
With Louis Van Gaal, it was a season of high hopes off the pitch but very little was delivered on it.
The season had begun with Van Gaal making superstar signings bringing in top players like Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich, Angel Di Maria from Spanish giants Real Madrid, and youngsters Luke Shaw and Memphis Depay from Southampton and PSV Eindhoven.
The team also welcomed Legendary striker, Radamel Falcao its fold earning the summer signings the nickname, “Van Galacticos”. For a team built on so much promise, there was little to show for it as the team could only manage a fifth-place finish, the fans endured a boring pattern of football often changing attack! attack!! attack!!! at the team.
Although the Dutchman was able to bring a trophy to the club, he was shown the door at the end of the season, a few days after winning the FA Cup. Right after his exit, the self-proclaimed special one, Jose Mourinho was appointed and he brought a measurable level of success winning the Carabao cup, the FA community shield and the Europa League in his first season, finishing second to city rivals Manchester City in his second season.
The highlight of his third and final season in charge was his training ground bust-up with club-record signing and world cup winner, Paul Pogba. Like Van Gaal, he was shown the door and in his place club legend, Ole Gunnar Solkjaer took charge after showing some attacking flair and producing the famous comeback against PSG that season as handed the managerial job on a full-term basis.
Manchester United – Ole’s at the wheel
His first full season in charge was characterized by near misses as he played in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, The Carabao Cup and the Europa league albeit finishing second to rivals Manchester City.
His second season was also filled with near misses as he finished second in the Europa league losing in the final to the Spanish team, Villarael in a lengthy penalty shootout.
Manchester United – The Legend Returns Home
Ole’s final season was looked forward to with much enthusiasm majorly because of the return of club legend, Cristiano Rinaldo who re-signed for the club from Italian giants, Juventus.
The team was added to with the signing of English forward Jadon Sancho from Borrusia Dortmund and it all looked good on paper when the season started.
But performance declined and the team’s attitude was questionable on many occasions leading to the eventual sacking of the club legend and champions league winner. Their fourth managerial change in eight years.
Manchester United – Gengen Pressing? Not Here
In his place, highly rated German coach Ralf Ragnick was appointed to steady a sinking ship and after promising Gengen pressing in his first game, he switched away to accommodate the team’s failed physical and psychological posture.
While he was unsuccessful on the pitch, he recorded a reasonable success off it as he was able to reveal the problems the team had been facing as well as make recommendations on the way forward.
He finished the season with His United team in the sixth position, managing quality for the Europa League despite losing the final game of the season to Crystal palace. A game where new manager, Erik Ten Hag was present to see his new team fall short once again.
Manchester United – The Ten Hag Era Begins
In April 2022, the club announced after weeks of speculations in the media that Dutch tactician and Ajax coach, Erik Ten Hag would take charge of the team in a series of changes that had begun with Executive chairman Ed Woodward resigning from his role much to the delight of the fans.
On the pitch, players like Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, and Nemanja Matic amongst others were also released from their contracts, paying the way for the Dutchman to establish his team.
Manchester United Summer Dealings
The team has successfully begun the summer with a lot of positive energy from everything around with those inside the club suggesting that the atmosphere has changed and the players stating that they now play with a clearer direction. And improvement on how things used to be in the previous seasons.
As a testament to the work of the new manager, the team has won three out of its four friendly pre-season matches averaging three goals per game while considering just four goals in the process.
Off the pitch, the team has improved on vital positions with signings like Tyrrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez all coming in to play vital roles in Ten Hag’s newly set up team.
With all these positive signs, it could be the start of something good coming back to Manchester United and with the results on the pitch and off the pitch, it could be the rise of the giants of Manchester United, and Manchester United fans have every reason to be excited.