Everytime a Manchester United player expresses displeasure at the way he’s being treated by the club, a popular quote attributed to the club’s former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, starts to fly around, especially on social media.
The quote goes thus, “The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the club, he had to go.”
This same quote has been flying around since Cristiano Ronaldo granted an interview with British media personality, Piers Morgan, on Sunday.
In the interview, Ronaldo said: “I don’t have respect for Erik ten Hag because he doesn’t show respect for me.
“If you don’t have respect for me, I will never have any for you”.
On former United manager, Ralf Rangnick, he said: “If you’re not even a coach, how are you going to be the boss of Man Utd? I’d never even heard of him.”
He went on to slam the club, saying, “Nothing has changed here since Sir Alex left. When I decided to return to Manchester United, I followed my heart”.
“Sir Alex Ferguson said to me: ‘It’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City!’.
He continued, “Nothing changed since I left. The pool, the jacuzzi, even the gym, even some technology. Even the chefs who I appreciate, lovely people.”I thought I would see new technology, infrastructure. I saw things I saw when I was 20!”.
Since the interview, many Manchester United fans have been attacking the number 7 on the grounds that he disrespected the club they loved so much.
However, they have failed to acknowledge the fact that the club has lost respect and worthy to be dragged in the mud.
Ask yourself, what has United won in the last five years to make it worthy of respect?
The last trophy was won in 2017 when Jose Mourinho led the club to win the Europa League.What did Mourinho himself say about the club after he was sacked?
The Portuguese recently told BT Sport that he knew the club would slump because it had poor organisation.
He said, “I’m not happy to be right. I would like to be wrong. But I knew that I was right.
“The first thing you have to change, for me, when things are not going right is mentality and organisation and it was not coming.
“And I knew that for me to leave was not going to resolve the situation. I knew that, unfortunately. I wish them the best, honestly, and hopefully they make it.”
How many managers have gone through the corridors of the club?
Imagine a club that prides itself as the best in England now opting for David Moyes of Everton to take over from Ferguson who had a sterling career.
That was enough to declare that the club was no more about laurels but business and profit.
Sadly, United fans thought there was going to be a magic with Moyes, same way it happened with little-known Ferguson who took the club to greater height.
Right before fans discovered the inner problem the club had, the management sacked Moyes and highered an old timer, Louis Van Gaal, to appease them.
When Van Gaal couldn’t display old magic and it became clear that the club ought to have signed a seasoned manager, they higher Mourinho.
Sadly, the poor organisation that the Portuguese would later complain about led to his exit. Mourinho’s exit was probably used by the club to prove that a seasoned manager was not needed.
This informed the decision to sign Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a former United player with little experience to handle the club.
Fans continued with their faith in the club, especially when it was now managed by a faithful.
However, same fans turned around and called for his removal while failing to see that the club had a big problem – too much focus on business.
Guess who replaced Solskjaer? A sports director Ralf Rangnick performed worse than Solskjaer.
As a fan, ask yourself, why would a serious club allow a sports director handle its management?
What happened to Zinedine Zidane, Antonio Conte and others who were available?
The club simply had no ambition for trophies other than to do business and make money.
This was confirmed by Ander Herrera after he left for Paris St-Germaine.
He said, “I was very happy at that incredible club,” the 30-year-old said.
“I am very grateful to the supporters. Frankly, I was immensely happy there. However, at the club, there were times when I felt that football was not considered the most important thing.
“I will not say it. That does not come out of my mouth. I do not know but football was not the most important thing in Manchester. I do not want to compare. All I know is that, here, I feel like I am breathing football on all sides — I like it.”
Herrera was a United player that the club’s fans can never fault because he played passionately.
As for Zlatan Ibrahimovic who won Europa under Mourinho, United had a small mentality.
He said, “One thing surprised me: everyone thinks of United as a top club, one of the richest and most powerful in the world and seen from the outside it looked that way to me,” he writes.
“But once I was there I found a small, closed mentality.”
Sadly, fans have over time failed to focus on the management of the club and its owners when it comes to apportioning blame after a player’s outburst.
It is gradually becoming clearer that those handling United are only in it for the profit and not laurels. They have reduced the club to nothing, which is why Ronaldo could drag it in the mud. And yes, he has earned the right to do so.
Ronaldo can present more medals than United in the last five years. He never went a year without a trophy until last year when he joined United after his move to Manchester City was cornered by Ferguson.
If a total overhaul of the club’s ownership is not done, soon players like Elanga will be dragging the club in the mud where it truly belongs.
Gone are those days when one can say no player is bigger than United.
The club is now a shadow of its old self and soon, Ten Hag will have his own tale.