The Case For
For the most of the 2014/15 season United fans have dreaded waking up on Saturdays to watch their beloved team play football because of the tedious style of football and disappointing results. But why has the prospect of Mourinho who isn’t a very attacking coach given us hope for the future?
The most obvious point is our horrendous style of play and failure to qualify for Champions League football. Under van Gaal our play has been described as slow, tedious and boring which is a known fact that has been underlined by our inability to score goals this season. Playing under Van Gaal’s philosophy, we only managed to score 49 league goals (our lowest scoring season in the Premier League era) the entire season, which is just one more than nearly relegated Sunderland. Eventually finishing with a goal difference of 14 we lost out in the run for the Champions League football on goal difference. Mourinho does not bring the prospect of exciting free flowing attractive football but is a born winner who will do anything to win. Just think of the manner in which he pooped on Liverpool’s parade in the 2013/14 season. We will definitely qualify for Champions League under him rather than hoping to (we aren’t Arsenal) and we will score more goals in the process.
As already mentioned Mourinho is a born winner and all through his career has shown this as he has won league titles and trophies in every country he has managed. Under van Gaal, it seemed was a lack of will and fighting power to win every game and the manager was unable to change this. The stories that have come out in his departure make it clear that the players were as disillusioned as the fans.
For me, the West Ham (United lost 3-2) game highlights this. Man City gave us numerous chances to qualify for the Champions League over the season as they were inconsistent yet, we still managed to bottle it. Under Mourinho, we would never have lost that West Ham game especially after going 2-1 up. Although this is an hypothetical situation, it captures the extent to which van Gaal had lost it.
There have been so many rumours of players being linked with United, virtually every decent or good player out there. However, there have also been rumours of players not wanting to join United because they do not want to play for Louis Van Gaal. The idea of not being able to sign decent players because of LVG is ridiculous and maybe part of the reason we have a lot of average players in our squad.
There have been issues with recruitment. Take for instance, a player like Angel di Maria- a record signing who was gone within one season as van Gaal tried to strait jacket him. Hiring Mourinho increases our chances of keeping our 3-time player of the year, David de Gea after reportedly falling out with van Gaal and the coach, Frans Hoek.
Lastly, a club of Manchester United size must be hated and not pitied by other football fans. Since Ferguson left in 2013, we have been so poor that other fans have had enough of just laughing at us that they actually pity us. Hiring Mourinho will definitely improve our results (hopefully) dramatically and we will go back to being hated. Credit to van Gaal for bringing in the youth players though.
The Case Against
Mourinho and Manchester United: A Match Made in Money
I rarely find myself unable to express my thoughts clearly and rationally on paper. However in discussing the situation unfolding before my eyes with the club I’ve watched and loved for the better part of my life I find myself conflicted.
Over the last few days as we’ve waited for the confirmation of the worst kept secret in football I’ve seen countless people tweet; heard countless people say “this is the job that Jose Mourinho really wants; so he’d be different this time” I honestly don’t understand the self rationalisation. It’s akin to the British press who fawn over his every word and sensationalising it. To those who shout he’d be different this time that’s all well and good; while I’m happy for your self deceit and I accede to the fact that I could be wrong, I simply point you to the story of the Scorpion and the frog.
My dis-satisfaction with this decision has nothing well almost nothing to do with Mourinhos own faults. His ego, destructive attitude, the paranoia, the stifling defensive football, which it honestly is; from a purely football basis Mourinho is a man who focuses on having a well drilled back 5/6 in a deep defensive block who are helped out by the rest of the team bar one or two totems and are set up to spring out quickly on the counter attack. While it has its advantages, attacking freedom can bring invention and beauty. It also has its drawbacks. What to do when the opposition sit back and defend and your players aren’t good enough to break them down etc. His tendency to grate on his players after a certain period is also worrying as high player turnover doesn’t equal consistency in most cases.
The fact that his announcement has been delayed due to the contractual wrangles of various endorsement deals conflicting; shows the world we live in now its not about the football its about selling goods to people who watch football. Commerce is life and while generating revenue is important it speaks to the priorities of the club. In this new world of new stadiums bigger revenues and super clubs with the ability to match United’s spending, planning is key and that’s exactly what is missing. A key example is the Galactico era at Madrid vs Barcelona and their cantera. Similar spending power but one focused on building towards something with supplementary spending while the other one’s always eager to throw money at the problem.
The decline has been a long time coming made even starker when post Ferguson. One wrong appointment and one flawed appointment later, we’re at a crossroads and I’m keeping an open mind or trying to despite my reticence as I realise a change was probably needed. But if in three years Mourinho is sacked we’d be in a better place than Fergie left us and Moyes as well but probably around a similar to the level that LVG has left us. Maybe, others would realise what Ive been saying for the last three years now.
We are no longer “Manchester United Football Club Not Arrogant Just Better”. The banner no longer rings true. The truth has set in with the alchemist long dead, the reality engraved upon us all that when it comes down to it we’re just like the rest of them now. And depressing as that is, it brings a strange comfort as hope springs eternal and as we stare now into the abyss that is a club that seems to have no direction our hopes and dreams are all we have left to cling to.