This last week in the football world, concluded with the end of the Klopp to Liverpool saga has sparked several discussions on Manchester United’s manager situation and who will take the helm once Louis van Gaal leaves.
There is one point that most ‘experts’ and fans keep coming up with which seems foolish at best, and downright dumb at worst. There is a notion that a top club can and should only hire a manager who has had success at another so-called ‘big club’ already. This perspective on potential options is making people worry and fear that there is indeed no one available to manage Manchester United beyond Louis van Gaal.
Remember that time United were able to whisk away a young manager from that continental power house Aberdeen. If only United could attract a manager from such a large and powerful club as Aberdeen again and all the club’s woes would be put to rest.
The problem with only hiring managers who have been successful at large clubs previously is that they will either still be employed by that club thus making it hard to bring them to us or they will have failed at that club and have been sacked or let go because there was an issue with them as manager.
For example, Mourinho is a great manager, and yet Chelsea and Real Madrid have all seen fit to sack him at some point. A valid argument can also be made for the state in which he has left clubs on his own and his departures maybe hinting towards a short term mentality. Pep Guardiola, on the other hand, has never been sacked, yet there are question marks over his stability and his ability at ‘clubs with a differing playing style’. He couldn’t handle the pressure at Barca and walked away. There are also question marks over his tenure at Bayern. He took over a successful team and has failed to match previous successes. His tinkering with their footballing style in general has been called excessive, and he seems obsessed with his own footballing philosophy (sound familiar?).
Ancelotti has also been sacked previously, and doesn’t come with an unblemished CV either. And these three, in all honestly, are arguably the best managers in the world at present.
As a club United has always been the club that takes unpolished diamonds and works with them to create greatness rather than buy it. The club has done it with players and with managers. Sir Alex Ferguson himself was a manager with great potential rather than a proven track record at the top of the game. Matt Busby had never managed a professional side when United hired him. That’s the two most successful managers in their history who created their greatness with United rather than buying greatness from somewhere else.
As such there are a great number of potential managers who could take over once LvG departs. Beyond Pep and Ancelotti, you have proven managers in Loew, Conte, Simeone. Then there are managers with massive potential in Monk, Tuchel, De Boer, Cocu, Schmidt and Pochettino. That’s 11 potential managers right there. The list will only get bigger as the timer ticks down to the hot seat becoming available.
Of Course, United had a disastrous season under David Moyes, who had done well with Everton, making them a regular mid-table fixture in the Premier League, even taking them to the Champions League for the only time in their history, but by no means was proven at the top level. United stuttered under him, finishing 7th in the league and only a Community Shield victory over relegated Wigan to boast. And the hiring of the more proven Van Gaal has seen United slowly get back towards competing for top honours again. But that should not be enough to deter the Manchester United faithful from giving new young blood a chance, as every proven manager was, at some point, unproven.
The important thing for Man United at this stage with regard to their managerial situation is to not rush into things, to have discussions with the right candidates and then make an informed decision. They should take as many suggestions from as many people, both involved with the club and those outside of it, and from all perspectives, and decide on which candidate matches the club’s philosophy and vision the most. The board needs to recognize the simple fact that the final decision won’t be universally agreed with as United has too many people of too many varying opinion and way too many fans all over the globe to unanimously agree on anything. But once a decision is made the manager needs to be backed in the same way we have backed managers in the past. Acceptance is step one, United needs to realize Sir Alex Ferguson was a one-off and history does not repeat itself in the way it did with Sir Alex Ferguson. Times have changed, United has to succeed but not necessarily in the exact same way it did for the last 20-odd years.
Whether or not United will find it’s footing again at the cornerstone of world club football domination, only time will tell. Or maybe the next manager.