‘Alex Ferguson and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must be first casualties of Man Utd revolution’ – Stan Collymore
STAN COLLYMORE: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn’t the man for the job – and, what’s more, it’s time that Sir Alex Ferguson’s considerable influence at Macnhester United was reduced too
The umbilical cord of history needs to be cut at Old Trafford – and it’s time someone said the unsayable.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn’t the man for the job – and, what’s more, it’s time that Sir Alex Ferguson’s considerable influence was reduced too.
It’s ruthless of me to say the second part of that – given that the arena in which 75,000 people will sit this afternoon was largely paid for on the back of his managerial success.
But the time has come to sever the ties with the past – and create a bright, new, energetic future without the ghosts of the past hanging about.
It’s been over seven years now and there’s been over £1billion spent on the team. Solskjaer’s had a fair bit of that cash – Ferguson’s been hovering around in the background – and he has to shoulder the blame too.
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Taking the manager first, his status is guaranteed for all-time because of his achievements as a player. But everyone in the game knows that if he hadn’t been the magical goalscorer that he was, he would never have got anywhere near the job.
A couple of half-decent seasons in Norway and a calamitous spell at Cardiff City does not pitch him at the same level as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
If he had shown progress since then, I could understand the club making long-term plans for him.
But the fact is that Ole hasn’t pushed the club forward. And you cannot be blindsided by what happened in midweek against Atalanta. I’m sorry, you can’t.
I look at his squad and see a collection of 22 individuals, thrown together. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had 22 pins on the whiteboard and players’ names have just been written down without any planning.
They just don’t look a team, United. There’s a general malaise.
It reminds me of the time when Real Madrid decided that building organically wasn’t for them – they were just going to assemble the galacticos, come hell or high water.
You couldn’t see much of a pattern to it.
Zidane, tick, Beckham, tick, Roberto Carlos, tick.
They acted like lottery winners who won a mega-draw before Christmas – going out on a mad spending binge without any real thought as to what they were buying and why.
Let’s be honest, there wasn’t a long-term plan to bring in Cristiano Ronaldo.
He was made available and then a plot was hatched to sign him with Ferguson not only giving his assent but pushing it over the line.
Ronaldo’s not a man for the future. He’s not a man you can build a team around. He’s a man for the here and now.
But when his legs finally give way, where’s the thought to Ronaldo’s replacement?
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You cannot look at that Manchester United squad like you can look at Liverpool’s this afternoon and say: ‘That’s been well-constructed, hasn’t it’? And there is some logic to what the Reds do.
I cannot see the same at Old Trafford, where they need to cut their reliance on the word of Fergie being the gospel. It’s not gone well for them since he moved upstairs, has it?
Now, Kenny Dalglish is revered at Anfield. And rightly so. But there’s never any suggestion he interferes in anything Klopp does.
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Whereas down the East Lancs Road, you suspect the first question is still: ‘What would Fergie do’? Time waits for no man in football. You need to change with the times and Ferguson is almost 80 years old. He’s acted like a comfort blanket around the place and it needs removing or they’ll never move forward.
At the moment, Manchester United are like a baby being suckled. They need to be weaned off stories of past glories.
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