After years of success and being top of the tree in English football’s top division, times are now incredibly tough at Manchester United despite the return of their legendary striker as their new manager. Not even Ole Gunnar Solskjær can cheer up Red Devils fans at the moment. That much is obvious.
The Glazer family – who are on the receiving end of many fans’ frustrations currently and, essentially, have been for a good few years now – are deemed inadequate and unable to run the football club properly, especially on the pitch, where matters appear to be getting worse.
City rivals Manchester City finished a whopping 32 points ahead of United last season, winning the title in the process and further establishing themselves as England’s top dogs and Manchester’s number one club, with their dominance being further highlighted by a recent study.
According to a study by the University of Liverpool’s Centre for Sports Business Group, Manchester City have now overtaken Manchester United off the pitch too, as they are the most valuable Premier League club. Pep Guardiola’s side are valued at £2.364BN, which is up £385M, while Manchester United are valued £2.087BN, a drop of £376M, which is blamed on extortionate wages – undoubtedly gone on some of those almighty flops – and a lower profit. The top six account for almost three-quarters of the combined league value too, which is astonishing really.
Both United and the Citizens are the only two clubs valued at more than £2BN in the study, which covered last season, with Spurs valued at £1.837BN, Liverpool £1.615BN and Chelsea £1.615BN, with all clubs seeing big rises last campaign. Arsenal, on the other hand, dropped to £1.368BN due to their failure to qualify for the Champions League.
The divide between the top six and the rest is clear to see, but so too is the gulf between the two biggest Manchester clubs, which can only add further to the discontent at Old Trafford. Debt in the club is hanging over Old Trafford like a dark cloud. The future is like asking what is the best bet in roulette? Nobody knows how the wheel is going to turn, and few are coming up with answers.
The biggest and best players don’t want to join what was a hugely attractive proposition previously and the fans have become so increasingly frustrated with everything that the atmosphere has become toxic, with protests recently coming to the fore as supporters of the club demand that the Glazer family sell up.
The #GlazersOut Twitter campaign has now spread to the streets following a protest outside of Old Trafford recently, which saw fans gather in their numbers to voice their concerns at the running of the club. The Manchester United Supporters Trust, who would usually initiate such a protest, were not behind it but offered these words. A spokesperson said: “While these are grass roots independent fan campaigns rather than MUST initiatives we all share the frustration that has brought us to this point.”
After stating on their Twitter profile that they want the owners to have the same priorities as the fans, the trust added: “That’s what we have always had as our primary objective and clearly that requires current owners to sell so #GlazersOut is nothing new for us – but how that is achieved is key and there are different tactical approaches.”
As Manchester United look to rebuild this summer in the hope of closing the gap on their trend setting city rivals, Red Devils fans are now warring off the pitch and discontent is rising. That’s without a ball being kicked this season yet, too.
It’s going to be a long season for the Reds, isn’t it?