I watched with anticipation over the weekend as Manchester United were humiliated by Middlesbrough. It was painful not just because I'm a fan of United, but because of our achievements for the past two seasons. Manchester United is no longer the United we used to know, definitely not the United that won the treble. Many questions have been springing up but the responses have been very flimsy. So, I have decided to give my professional opinion on this issue.
For sure, Sir Alex Ferguson has not only become a figure to reckon with in football, but a legend of legends at Old Trafford. However, I believe the time has come for Fergie to go, but not unceremoniously looking at the feats he’s achieved for more than 18 years. Fergie's tenure with the club has actually been one of the problems. When you stay in a club for 18 years or more you feel no sense of insecurity. You feel you can afford to gamble with one of the richest clubs in the world.The past two to three seasons have been miserable for United. We're no longer the team to beat, Old Trafford is no longer the place to fear. I hereby ask: Is it still the Theatre of Dreams?
How many big names can we attract to Old Trafford now? I know some may be quick to say it's because of the Chelsea factor, abd perhaps that is part of the problem, but certainly it's not the main reason. Our reputation is declining. I want to make it a point of duty to mention some of the players that could have done us proud in United: Ronaldinho, Damien Duff, Michael Essien, Arjen Robben. And now we're also on the verge of losing one of the best 18-year-olds in the world, John Mikel Obi.
I want us to realise here that if our performances for the past two seasons had been very impressive some of these players could have preferred us to Chelsea or to any other team. Patrick Vieira left Arsenal not because of money, but because of the desire for European Glory.
It is obvious that Sir Alex has lost ideas one way or the other. Well, I may rise up to his defense by saying, you can only perform with the crop of players you have at your disposal. But whose fault, apart from the signing of Wayne Rooney, for the past two seasons can it be than Fergie's? I have yet to see another good player brought to Old Trafford.
The fans have criticized Fergie's 4-3-3 formation, but I actually have no problem with that. The only problem I have is Fergie leaving Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench in place of Darren Fletcher. Darren Fletcher?! The whole world knows Ronaldo is better than Fletcher!
We also need a good replacement for Roy Keane. I know it's lofty, but it's also attainable. Another world class defender would also do us a lot of good considering the dip in form of Rio Ferdinard. Also, a younger, more experienced goalkeeper Spain's like Iker Casillas, would be good competition for the good but aging Van der Saar. And I don't have to talk about Paul Scholes. He’s past his prime, to put it simply, and we need some more flair and better passes in our game. In that respect we need another attacking midfielder. We also need another young striker in the making of Ryan Babel who has got vast experience despite his relative young age.
I am waiting patiently for January to see the players we can sign. Is it true that Michael Ballack is considering coming to Manchester United? That would be a welcome development. If we could also get a magical player like Lyon's Juninho, Manchester United would be back on track in no time. I also am using this opportuntiy to tell the Glazer family that they should buckle up and act fast. Perhaps the fans would forgive them if they can help right the ship. If they are to make the profit they envisaged and they also want to be happy in Old Trafford, I want to see them emulate Chelsea by buying not just the big names but good legs.
I see better things to come in Old Trafford, and I am very optimistic that we will bounce back, because ’Tough times never last but tough people do.’