Since Sunday’s shambles, I’ve deliberately limited my comments on the vile abuse for Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who described the 0-5 humiliation by Liverpool as the “darkest day” in his football career.
The truth is my support for Solskjaer remains. I believe he must be given the rest of the season to prove himself, and make the required changes to convert what is undeniably a star-studded squad into genuine challengers for silverware.
My belief is that Solskjaer is clearly a manager not a coach. And it’s become clear he’s not got a dynamic No.2 like Fergie always did. Part of the genius of Sir Alex is that he always recruited the right assistants at the right time.
That is my take on the immediate puzzle facing Solskjaer who has been painfully slow to find the formula we need to accommodate Cristiano Ronaldo into a squad that showed great promise in finishing runners up last season.
But the real reason for this post is that I’m disgusted by the voracity of the haters who think that they can inflict their will on the decision makers with what amounts to mob rule.
I am not pointing any fingers at the growing number of concerned fans who are genuinely in favour of a change of manager sooner rather than later, because they think that is the right course of action.
My personal views are purely that, an opinion. And I respect that we will not all agree. But for Gods Sake let’s not disgrace our proud football club by turning honest debate into toxic polarisation and blind hatred.
I put the level of abuse up there with the fanatical obsession of terrorists and zealots who refuse to stop calling for blood until they have the manager’s head on a stick.
When Solskjaer’s former teammate Phil Neville declares: “Social media is an absolute cesspit for people that are just the lowest of the lowest” he is striking at the very core of the problem.
“It’s not as if United have never lost 5-0. The only difference was there was not a billion people on Twitter thinking they knew best about this, that and the other,” adds Neville.
“He’s one of us”
Everyone knows I’ve supported Ole since day one and I still believe that with the right coaches to support him he will deliver. It is clear that time is now running out after the Glazers backed him big time with the funds to recruit Ronaldo, Sancho and Varane in the summer transfer window.
My honest belief is that most genuine fans have always wanted Ole to succeed because “he’s one of us”. And there is no doubt that Solskjaer has played a leading role in transforming the club from the depths of despair at the end of Jose Mourinho’s reign that ended in December 2018.
The question now is whether or not Solskjaer has the aura, the personality and the ability to take us to the next level. Clearly the odds are currently against him. But as Ole himself says “we’ve come too far to give up now.”
I am confident that the board are doing the right thing by giving the manager their continued support. In my humble opinion it would be wreckless to do anything else at this moment in time.
But we live in a world where the views of critics who make the most noise are amplified. And that, fuelled by the echo chambers of the mainstream media who smell blood, makes the job so much harder for the man at the top – who is under increasing pressure to deliver consistent results and trophies.
Following a similar viscous and personal attack on Steve Bruce that preceded his dismissal as Newcastle United manager, this week we’ve again witnessed abuse of unprecedented levels that have more than crossed the line of human decency.
Despite the media frenzy and gleeful claims that this is the end for Ole, I’ve remained confident that Ole will get the chance to put things right. And the reality is that we live in a world where the narrative will turn on its head or intensify depending on the result of United’s next match at Spurs on Saturday night.
Meantime, it does feel like I’m now in the minority when you consider most of our global following never go anywhere nearer Old Trafford and many of the dissenters arrogantly believe it is our divine right to conquer all.
But that is all part of the problem. No club can live on past glories. Managers, coaches and players alike must earn the right to be successful and on Sunday at Old Trafford it was clear that Manchester United failed miserably in every department.
How we respond will tell us a lot about the character and desire of this squad and the manager in control of tactics and team selection. And yet it is only one match, which is why I believe we must see out the season with Solskjaer, unless the heat gets so hot he’s unable to do his job.
Having been an active supporter for more than 55 years, I’ve seen many highs and lows at our football club. Where we are right now is a massive setback, not a terminal decline.
But the average modern fan has no appetite for a long term plan. Instant gratification is all that matters.
It seems that many of today’s ‘fans’ are more embarrassed by the inevitable banter from rival fans than the best long-term interests of our football club.
It makes it worse when Chelsea – English football’s most successful club for the past generation – succeed with a model of quickly firing managers who take too long to win silverware.
I want to see Solskjaer given the chance to deliver what he’s spent the past three years working towards, now that he has finally assembled the squad he wants, albeit that squad is at least one player short of what he truly requires
I suspect that Solskjaer needs a new No.2 to help him reach his goals and that I believe is likely to be the missing part of the formula that may ultimately prove his undoing.
But let’s give him the rest of this season at least. And let’s not surrender now after three years of laying the groundwork for a new era that promises much more than we honestly could have expected before Solskjaer was strapped into the hotseat,
Whether or not you agree I urge you to make respectful comments now and in the future wherever you are posting.