Manchester United’s Fall From Grace
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the greatest night in Manchester United’s history, but nowadays the club is just a shadow of its former self. Six years after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, the Red Devils are nothing more than a glorified mid-table side.
The Glory Days
After defeating Arsenal and winning the Premier League title and the F.A. Cup, United faced Bayern in the 1999 Champions League final. Ferguson’s teams possessed two hallmarks: late goals and comebacks—and that night in Barcelona, United had both.
Fergie Time in Catalonia
Bayern took the lead after six minutes. It was a nervous, diffident performance from United. Going into the dying embers of the match, Bayern was holding firm, not giving an inch. But then, “Fergie Time” hit. Ole Gunnar Solskjær was introduced and the dynamic of the match changed. Sheringham equalized in the 91st minute before Solskjær won it in the 93rd. Rob Smyth tells the story of that legendary night.
Fall From Grace
All good things must come to an end and in 2013, Ferguson retired. David Moyes was handed the unenviable task to continue Fergie’s legacy. It didn’t work out. Louis van Gaal came in—it didn’t work out. José Mourinho came in, and—you guessed it—it didn’t work out.
Ole’s at the Wheel
After Mourinho’s dismissal, a familiar face arrived at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjær took the reins on an interim basis. It worked out… at first. Ole’s United was nigh on unstoppable. After knocking PSG out of the Champions League, OGS was made permanent manager. And it’s been downhill ever since.
Rio Ferdinand famously uttered the words “United are back!” They are not. They are a rudderless ship. In their heyday, United had Sheringham, Yorke, and Solskjær leading the line, nowadays they rely on Mason Greenwood, the inexperienced 18-year-old British striker to lead the attack. The Red Devils haven’t challenged for the Premier League since Ferguson’s retirement and it’s starting to impact the club financially.
Long gone are the days of Fergie’s dominant Manchester United. The biggest club in the world is a laughing stock.
Illustration by @marinoff_
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