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Providing solutions to world sport’s biggest issues

Today we offer the first of a new series of Rust articles, doing exactly what it says on the tin [see headline above].

For our inaugural piece, we have opted to provide an explanation designed to assist Manchester United fans – and indeed all other followers of soccer around the globe -understand both the reasons why and how Manchester United has got itself into its current position of 8th in the Premiership – directly behind Watford in 7th – and then provide an idea or two as to what measures might restore the club to its former position as the richest, most famous, glamorous and successful club in the UK and indeed the world.

BACKGROUND:

From humble origins the club – founded at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (‘LYR’) depot at Newton Heath in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by its Carriage and Wagon department – grew into the mega-giant Manchester United that dominated the hearts, minds and City pages of the general British population and media between 1945 and 2013.

Inevitably, matters upon the football pitch dictated the course of events.

Primarily under the stewardships of Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson – a statement that glibly skates over the undoubtedly positive contributions of nearly two-figures’ worth of other head coaches – United not only became one of the most successful football clubs the world has ever seen but also one of the most glamorous thanks to its ‘front-foot’, swash-buckling, attacking style of both defence and attack.

The tragic Munich air disaster of 6th February 1958 in which the United team and officials – returning from a European Cup quarter final victory against Red Star Belgrade – were involved as their plane attempted to take off after refuelling brought a poignant impetus to the legend.

Twenty-three people (including eight United players) were killed in the crash. Busby himself was among those affected, received life-threatening injuries from which he took a long time to recover.

The list of famous players who have worn the United shirt is too numerous to mention.

ANALYSIS:

United’s current problems stem from well-meaning but poor business management both on and off the field of play.

A seminal event that in itself may have significantly accelerated the club’s steep descent from Mount Olympus was its purchase in 2005 by Malcolm Glazer, an American businessman with US sporting business links but little knowledge of football.

He achieved it via a money-borrowing scheme that saddled it with hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of debt that had taken much time, stress and struggle to pay off whilst other major clubs in both the UK and around the world – having been bought by a variety of foreign businessmen and entities (if not governments) infinitely more wealthy than the Glazer family – have enabled them to match if not emulate United’s commercial power in the market.

Another major factor in United’s decline has been the general lack of football and business nous among those of its senior board executives charged with both future strategy and the hiring and firing coaching and playing staff at all levels.

SOLUTION:

There are two possible routes to rectifying United’s current woes:

EITHER

United begins immediately to negotiate secretly with representatives of Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola with a view to him replacing Jose Mourinho, his United equivalent.

Alternative ways to do this would be to

(1) simply ask Guardiola’s people to name their price – and pay it;

or, if that option might be thought to be too expensive for comfort,

(2) seal the deal by offering Mourinho in part-exchange.

It goes without saying that Guardiola’s arrival at Manchester United’s footballing helm would have a game-changing impact.

Overnight it would transform United’s style of play to its former state of glory and also prompt all intelligent and ambitious world class footballers to order their connections to make known to United their secret but intense interest in joining the club.

OR

Give the owners of Manchester City the opportunity to buy out the current ownership regime at Old Trafford.

Via this route the combined resources of both clubs could be combined to create one unified Manchester team that could dominate world club football for decades to come.

And here’s the clever cute angle for United’s negotiators to insist upon: this massive merger would be absolutely conditional upon its new corporate identity being styled ‘Manchester United’.

About Miles Piper

After university, Miles Piper began his career on a local newspaper in Wolverhampton and has since worked for a number of national newspapers and magazines. He has also worked as a guest presenter on Classic FM. He was a founder-member of the National Rust board. More Posts