Manchester United’s story is a head-spinning tale of triumphs and tragedy. It has gone through many epic successes and dark hours - overcame but never forgotten. In 1958, the team had not been beaten for 11 matches in English League titles when the Munich Plane crash happened. Seven of Manchester United’s players died on the spot. It took 10 years for the club to recover by winning the European Cup in 1968. But the golden era for Man united was yet to come.
The period from 1986, when Sir Alex Ferguson was appointed as Manchester United manager, to 2013, when he announced his retirement from football, was the most successful period in the club’s history. He put the impetus on the youth system and identified players at a young age and signed them while they were young, ambitious and hungry for success only to train them at Manchester United academy. He removed the players who did not follow his team ethos and consequently ushered a period of unprecedented success for the club.
The victory in 1989-90 FA Cup marked the beginning of the most successful managerial run in English Football history. Man United won eight Premier League championships in the 11 seasons from 1992-93 to 2002-03, capturing three FA Cup titles as well. During the 1998-99 season they finally did what every European football club dreams of, The Treble, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, the first side in English football to achieve such a feat. They continued to win the Premier League three times consecutively in 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2007-08. In September 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo accepted a world-record transfer to Real Madrid, but Sir Alex didn’t give up and continued to take Man Utd forward with full thrust. They won again in 2010-11 and missed it in 2011-12 to Man City on goal difference. Sir Alex would stay for just one more season, to let Man Utd win it just one more time.
In 2013 Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement, two weeks after winning his 13th and United’s 20th league title and united has never been the same again. Man United has replaced 4 coaches in a span of six years starting with David Moyes, then Louis Van Gaal, then Jose Mourinho and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but has been struggling to stay afloat. Each one of them was off to a flying start, but they lost the lustre after a few matches. Man United has been signing players frantically, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romelu Lukaku to name a few great stars. But they have been unable to fuel the passion in the team and the unity on and off the field. Man Utd has been missing the attacking football that once was synonymous to the “United” style of playing. The rift between Man Utd coaches and star players is well known to the world. The team is lacking the senior players and the experience that they could look up to. Though the Man Utd Academy has been producing young players, including the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe, and even Paul Pogba. The management has been frantically investing money into the team but it just doesn’t work out. The boardroom battles, bad investments, incompetent coaches, disunited players; everything has taken a toll on the team.
And that’s how the giants fell.
From table toppers to Mid-table contenders, from winning the Champions League to fighting for a chance in Europa League, Manchester United is united only in the name and it hurts to look at the Red Devils deteriorate that way.