If there is one club to be known for its silverware, it’s Manchester United. The club had an incredible spell under the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson, totalling a sensational 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cup trophies and two UEFA Champions League titles. It’s fair to say, Sir Alex went down as a legend, not only in the clubs history but in football. On his last game at Old Trafford, he received a standing ovation from both the home fans and the away fans. Ferguson has brought a lot to the game of football and still stands as one of the most decorated managers of all time. He took over Manchester United in 1986 and led the team until 2013, he stands as the longest-serving manager of the club and has launched many young players into incredible professional careers. Under his name, the club reached treble success in 1998-1999, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League – the first club in English football to achieve such a feat.
Those were the glory days, but in the Premier League betting odds today, you won’t find the Red Devils on top anymore. Since Fergie left in 2013, the club hasn’t achieved the success they saw in previous decades. Their best position in the Premier League has been 2nd, but most seasons have ended just inside the top six. Although saying that, it doesn’t mean the club has been failed since his departure, there has been some small success with a couple of community shield wins, an FA cup win, a Europa League win and a win in the Carabao Cup – nothing they can really brag about though.
So what happened? Where did the glory days go for Manchester United? What happened to the legendary club and more importantly, will they see glory again?
The moment it all changed
2013/14 was the first season without Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm, and in fairness to the fans, they said they weren’t expecting anything great to come from the new manager David Moyes right away as he needed time to find his feet. That being said, they weren’t expecting such a flop either! United experienced some of their worst results since the end of the 1980s, it was a dark time for the Red Devil fans and many were in an uproar about the situation. Moyes was sacked just four games before the end of the season leaving 40-year-old player-coach Ryan Giggs to lead the team. Under Giggs, the team managed to claim seven points, which saw the team finish 7th in the Premier League although this was the first time since 1981 that the club hadn’t qualified for a place in Europe.
The era of Louis van Gaal
After their abysmal start to life without Fergie, the club appointed Dutch coach Louis van Gaal as manager on a three-year contract with Giggs as his assistant. The club, after not qualifying in Europe had only three competitions to focus on, the Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup (now known as the Carabao Cup). Talk about not going to plan, United were knocked out of the FA Cup in the sixth round after facing a defeat to London club Arsenal. The team also faced one of the most embarrassing defeats of their careers, not only did their League Cup campaign end in just the second round, but they lost to League One side Milton Keynes Dons an embarrassing 4-0. The game at Stadium:MK should have been a walkover – and even though players such as Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernández and Jonny Evans were on the pitch, they just couldn’t get past the defence of the franchise team.
Louis van Gaal managed to keep his job with the club until the end of the 2016 season where the Red Devils returned to winning ways having lifted the FA Cup. United finished the season 5th in the Premier League and they seemed to be climbing their way back up, but the club sacked the Dutchman and all his staff to make way for new blood.
In recent years
After van Gaal’s departure, United appointed Chelsea legend José Mourinho as manager. When Mourinho took over in 2016, the fans had high expectations. During their glory days, United had to battle Chelsea for the titles who were managed by Mourinho at the time, the Red Devils fans naturally expected similar results for themselves but instead, tensions just seemed to grow. Rumours spread about the players not agreeing with the manager – some went as far as saying they simply don’t like the man. Not exactly the right person to lead them in a comeback season, which is why in 2018 he was sacked, and not on great terms either, Mourinho criticised the players, the organisation and the ambition of the club repeatedly, which left to a swift departure that everyone was happy with.
A new beginning
Under club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the team seem to have a fresh start. In December 2018 the Norwegian took his place as manager. Since then he has managed the team and seen a winning rate of 56.67%, which only narrowly misses Mourinho’s win-percentage of 58.33% since Fergie’s departure. The Norwegian hasn’t even had a full season with the club yet but already has received a lot more praise than those who preceded him. Fans have their belief again, the club seem satisfied and for the first time, the players seem more like a team rather than 11 individuals on a pitch. The club began their 2019/20 season with an incredible 4-0 win over old rivals Chelsea, but can they keep it up? Will Solskjær return them to their former glory?