The photo says it all. There’s Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United, looking rather forlorn as his team ties West Bromwich Albion last Monday (October. 20, 2014).
The photo, by Paul Ellis for Agence France-Presse and Getty Images, published in the New York Times today, speaks buckets about the state of the club these days.
Sir Alex Ferguson is no more, and so is the club. Against WBA, it managed a breathless tie. Now comes Chelsea, Manchester City and, after that, Arsenal.
How will Man U fare against league leaders Chelsea and second place Manchester City? It will lose to both, but the hope is that at least it will be a contest. With Arsenal, the club has a chance, although with Danny Welbeck now playing for the London club, it might be another defeat.
Man U can no longer perform like it used to. The days of dominance are clearly over, the only question remains is how and when the new leader will come in to at least right the ship.
Will the club have to wait another 20 or so years for a savior?
When last year we trotted on how David Moyes, the Sir Alex replacement, was above his head, few believed us. When we wrote that effective chief executive Ed Woodward was above his head and shoulders, few cared.
By early Spring, Moyes was out and by summer, Woodward was on a disastrous shopping spree that several hundred million dollars of new signings but which has meant hardly any real improvement on the team.
As the Times article by Rob Hughes notes, the van Gaal team sits only one point above the same point last year as under Moyes.
It would be too much for the American Glazer family to sell the team to a more astute set of owners, that won’t happen for some time.
So long as Woodward can charm advertisers, marketing revenue will continue to climb. But at some point, even that will stop when the club will be recognized for its moribund state.
So the rest of us fans must endure watching the animal slowly and painfully die, and not be able to do anything about it. I still get goosebumps thinking about the old glory days and how far gone they are.
They won’t come back. Not for a long time. What to do meanwhile?
I’ve taken up American football. I tried switching my support to City, to Chelsea, to Liverpool, to Arsenal, even to Everton.
None worked. It’s a disaster.
How very, very sad.