Red Devils have swapped soul for success
I have been there and perhaps you have too.
You fall in love, start dating but as time passes, notice subtle changes in your beloved. Before long, the changes become a wholesale transformation and just like that, you’re left as clueless as David Moyes was when he was in charge of the Red Devils.
Who are we with? What has happened to the one I loved?
Falling back on the memories, you mutter a silent prayer yearning for the days where things were different. But one question ultimately springs to mind – “What has happened to the one I loved?”
Linking the phases of romance and changes in Manchester United's identity may seem entirely unnecessary and dramatic- Ashley Young’s theatrics in the attacking third come to mind, but the reality is that the club I have religiously supported for 14 years is no longer the club I knew.
What has happened to the club I loved?
The demise of the Red Devils’ identity started the day David Moyes was appointed the manager - May 9 2013. I could be wrong though, somehow I can't remember dates as well as Liverpool fans.
But it was not so much the appointment itself which drew the ire of loyal supporters worldwide but it was the inevitable departure from the swashbuckling style that the Red Devils were proud ambassadors of.
The frequency of the wins and subsequently the trophy-laden seasons were a welcome bonus
Contrary to popular belief, supporting United was not just about winning. I speak for the masses when I say that watching United each week during the Fergie era gave me the exhilaration that would not be found elsewhere. Stoppage time victories, comeback wins - we witnessed the lot.
Ferguson's philosphy was a simple one. While his teams were always technically diverse, each team he sent out pledged allegiance to dynamic, romantic, attacking football.
The frequency of the wins and subsequently the trophy-laden seasons were of course a welcome bonus. We were just like Arsenal - except our team actually delivered come business end of the season. The football was not only stylish, the trophy cabinet was actually put to use.
But Moyes signaled the start of what was to be a really slow demise. As painful as it for me to recollect the following memory, it is an indication of just how ponderous it got.
In a 2-2 draw with relegation threatened Fulham in the 2013-2014 season, United delivered an incredible 81 crosses from the flanks. Former Fulham defender Dan Burn, who started his career at non-league Darlington, had claimed that facing United in that match felt like a return to his Conference days.
And then just when I thought we had been put out of our misery, along came Van Gaal
And then just when I thought we had been put out of our misery, along came Van Gaal.
The best way to sum up his tenure is to say that if Donald Trump were to convince the Dutchman to take charge of North Korea, the lingering tension would deescalate because the North Koreans would stop attacking.
I am sure I was not the only one to fall asleep during a United game for the first time while he was in the hot seat.