Manchester United’s love affair with the FA Cup has served the club well down the years. And there is every possibility this competition could be the launchpad for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s quest for silverware in his first full season in charge.
But whether or not the Red Devils go all the way after demolishing League One giant killers Tranmere 6-0, expect Ole’s baby faced assassins to be the cornerstone of a rebuild that will make United great again.
Impatient fans and an army of pundits and keyboard warriors have questioned Ole’s credentials for the biggest and most glamorous hotseat in football management.
It’s fair to say United’s rookie manager is still learning on the job. And trouncing minnows in the Cup, however dangerous the potential banana skin, does not suddenly make everything right at Old Trafford. Far from it. We still need to improve our recruitment at the highest level and complement our kids with quality signings.
But today’s triumph and the heights United have hit in the majority of the big games against the top teams is a clear sign that United are laying solid foundation for a glorious new era.
Far removed from the quick fix mentality of previous manager Jose Mourinho, the current boss and his coaching staff have a clear vision of how to deliver long term success.
United’s two greatest managers Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson both placed an emphasis on developing home grown talent. And the new regime are blessed with exciting young talent – including, among others, academy graduates Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams and the more experienced youngster Marcus Rashford.
Ole is backing United’s unique ability to turn kids into world beaters and the truth is real fans will love nothing better than watching that magical formula repeated.
As I’ve said since day one, when Ole was installed as caretaker, Solskjaer will be one of our great managers if he’s given time and the backing he needs in the transfer market.
The reason for my confidence is that Ole understands the DNA and uniqueness of Manchester United Football Club. He’s committed to bringing back a Ferguson style structure that unites the club from the academy upwards. And he has the luxury of having his mentor on speed dial whenever he needs the benefit of his advice and wisdom.
However, the truth is that Ole is unlikely to be given as much time to deliver as Sir Alex was afforded and he needs the support of United’s financial muscle in the transfer market sooner rather than later.
While I think it’s not helping for fans to constantly criticise the owners and blame the board for bad decision making in the transfer market, we all know Ole stands a much better chance of bringing the good times back to Old Trafford if we recruit the best players we can.
Gone are the day’s when United can easily strengthen the squad by signing the best player’s in the League. And talent spotting upcoming stars equipped to step up to a higher level as United did with Dan James is going to be all important.
The Premier League riches guaranteed by TV revenue makes this the most competitive domestic league in the world. And more significantly it is now a more level playing field than it has ever been since this competition began in 1992. That makes it harder to deliver success as United have found despite spending big both on transfers and wages since Fergie retired in 2013.
But success can be delivered without being the biggest spenders, as Jurgen Klopp has proved backed by a long term plan and four years in the job at Anfield.
Like it or not, Liverpool are now the best team in the Premier League and destined to become champions of England for the first time in 30 years.
Like it or not, our Merseyside rivals deserve to be back on their perch because they’ve raised the bar in the EPL, while winning the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup in the past year.
Now it’s our job to knock Liverpool off their perch again. And Ole is the man to do it. But he needs time and help recruiting top talent.