Quest for glory – Machester United
It was the end of the 2012/13 premier league season, Manchester United had just won the league again. It was however a sad moment for the club because Sir Alex Ferguson, arguably the greatest football coach of all time, was retiring having won the last of his 38 trophies, in 26years at the club, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and two UEFA Champions League titles.
The hierarchy of the club, however, failed to see what Sir Alex saw. He saw a team at its peak heading for a sharp decline unless a massive investment was urgently made to sustain the winning trend.
David Moyes, another long serving manager at Everton was called upon for the 2012/13 season. He failed woefully with a 7th place finish, the lowest for the club since 1990.
Louis van Gaal was announced as the new manager on 19 May 2014 after the sacking of David Moyes in April. He appointed Ryan Giggs, who retired from playing, as assistant manager.
In his first season, Van Gaal led Manchester United to a fourth-place finish, three places and six points higher than the previous season.
During the summer transfer window, Van Gaal strengthened his squad by bringing in Memphis Depay from PSV, Matteo Darmian from Torino, Sergio Romero from Sampdoria, Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton, Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich and Anthony Martial from Monaco.
On 21 May 2016, Van Gaal won his first trophy with Manchester United, the FA Cup, when his side defeated Crystal Palace 2–1 after extra time, with Jesse Lingard scoring the winning goal. United matched Arsenal’s record of 12 FA Cups. Two days later, Van Gaal and the Dutch members of his staff were sacked by the club. He became the second Manchester United manager after Tommy Docherty to be sacked after winning the FA Cup albeit under different circumstances.
On 27 May 2016, Mourinho signed a three-year contract with Manchester United, with an option to stay at the club until at least 2020. On 7 August 2016, Mourinho won his first trophy, the FA Community Shield, beating reigning Premier League champions Leicester City 2–1. Mourinho was victorious in his first Premier League game as United boss, winning 3–1 away to AFC Bournemouth on 14 August 2016.
On 24 May 2017, Manchester United won the Europa League courtesy of a 2–0 win over AFC Ajax. This was Mourinho’s second major trophy of his first season as Manchester United manager. It also maintained his 100% record of winning every major European Cup final as a manager.
Mourinho however has been unable to win the Premier league for Machester United, and with the team currently sixth. Mourinho’s side head along this weekend looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat to Valencia in the Champions League, though they will be buoyed by their first Premier League win in five matches over Fulham last time they were in domestic action.
Despite that victory over Claudio Ranieri’s side, they head into the weekend sitting sixth in the table, eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the fight for a place among Europe’s elite next season.
By the look of things, Manchester United quest for a return to the glory days will have to wait a little longer unless a miracle happens. Step by step, they march on towards glory.
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Oladigbo Feranmi is a 400l Economics student of Redeemer‘s University
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