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How the “Biggest Club in the World” became a bumbling high farce

Louis Van Gaal has taken his fair share of grief from fed up fans in recent months, some of it unedifyingly personal (including plenty from me), but much of it warranted nonetheless. However, it was, faintly tragic watching a proud, once very successful man trudging down the touchline receiving dogs of abuse from tired and bored Mancunians after another tepid display. Short of vomit and Bacardi Breezers, Van Gaal get a pretty good idea on that walk of what it’s like to walk past Manchester’s infamous Printworks nighttime spot around two in the morning.

Despite reports this morning stating otherwise, the contradictory noises and rushed press statements suggest that Van Gaal did indeed offer his resignation after the defeat to Southampton at the weekend. A defeat where an expensively assembled squad of carthorses masquerading as United players, managed only one shot on target; a daisy cutter from Daley Blind, a man who has become so utility he could easily form part of my plumbing.

Instead, Ed “Old Gil” Woodward frantically begged Van Gaal to stay – not for the first time if reports are to be believed. “Please stay Louis. We need more of this awful Downton Abbey football you’re inflicting on us! How will I ever score United a new official garden rake commercial partner without it?! Do it for Old Ed would ya?!”

The reality is of course should Van Gaal be gone before the original schedule dictates then Woodward knows he is also finished. It would be a second, failed managerial appointment in a row. Added to the club being stuck 25 years in the past with an outdated youth system, a non-existent scouting network and an antiquated executive structure. If Ed Woodward was running any other enterprise he would have been turfed out on his backside long ago.

The man who looks like an escaped, rejected, early design of Beeker the muppet has no qualifications for the role he currently occupies. No football experience. No experience of running a business and its very likely he’d never even set foot in Manchester before his arrival. Desperate Old Gil’s qualifications are being an investment banker (a job that requires little skill and no moral compass), an accountant for PwC where he likely advised very wealthy clients on how best to avoid paying tax and advising the Glazer family on their leveraged buyout of United which landed the club in eye watering amounts of debt.

Still while Old Gil continues to aimlessly flap about in his role of the world’s most incompetent executive since George W. Bush sat in the Oval Office, he is a useful pawn for the cancer that rots England’s greatest club.

The Glazer’s murky takeover of the club, which turned a well-run enterprise with strong community ties into a debt-ridden, floundering cash-cow, was where the rot set in at Old Trafford. Investment in the playing squad dropped and complacency set in elsewhere. The youth system fell behind all the rivals and the scouting network became practically so small it faded into a philosophical concept rather than a tangible thing and its 2016 and the club doesn’t even have a senior, professional women’s team! Meanwhile the Glazer’s continued to milk the only business they have that makes anymore, they’re other business haemorrhage money and the family’s “fortune” is built on debt, a house of cards.

The only member of The Glazer family who apparently had any business acumen at all was the now dead family patriarch, Malcolm Glazer, a man whose reputation made it so that any poor bugger caught in his crosshairs previously would have gladly dug his grave so deep they could have handed him to Lucifer in person. As for his kids, the worst Marx Brothers tribute act ever, none of them have any qualifications or experience for running anything bar having a wealthy father.

These silver spooned ignoramuses now have control of the club, which certainly explains why the club seems to lurch from crisis to high farce on a regular basis. The only surprising thing about the last two years for Manchester United is that most of us never saw it coming, the future was blindingly, bloody obvious really. Silent owners who plunder the club’s funds, an incompetent pawn and an influential former manager in Sir Alex Ferguson, who – while staggeringly successful – is a man from another time who left a barely concealed wreck of a playing setup for his successors. None of these are exactly the ingredients of a well-run club.

All of this makes you wonder whether even a resurrected Rinus Michels or a young Alex Ferguson would even be able to make heads or tails of this mess.

More Stories Ed Woodward Louis van Gaal Malcolm Glazer Sir Alex Ferguson Southampton The Glazers