De-Bunking The Man Utd Myth
Anyone who’s seen Manchester United’s start to the season couldn’t help but be impressed by not only the way they have defeated their opponents but with the players that helped them do it.
The average age of United’s side against Tottenham at the beginning of the season was just 23 – the second youngest Sir Alex Ferguson has ever put out in the Premier League. Immediately, comparisons have made between the ‘Class of 92’ and the current crop of youngsters.
One of those to make such a comparison was former United legend Gary Pallister. He was at the game against Spurs where he was sat with good friend and former teammate Bryan Robson. He couldn’t help but see the similarities between the side he played in and the current squad.
Like the class of 92, which included the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers, the young players United have assemble this season are a talented bunch. The ease with which they’ve dispatched their opponents will be a worrying sight for the rest of the league.
The talkSPORT radio presenter Mark Saggers even went as far to say that whilst Chelsea and Manchester City continued to use their financial muscle to compete in the Premier League, United were doing it the ‘old fashioned way’. Now, whilst players such as Jonny Evans, Tom Cleverley, Danny Wellbeck and the evergreen Ryan Giggs have all come through the United academy, the rest side has been bought in for well in excess of £150 million – hardly the old-fashioned way.
In fact, some might say what they are doing is quite new age, i.e. spending millions to assemble a squad capable of competing on all fronts. Unlike Chelsea and cross-City rivals Manchester City, United’s wealth has been more organic. That said, the aforementioned clubs both have plans to become sustainable, which will include adhering to the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations.
United have, of course, had more than their fair share of success over the last 20 years and whilst many a club have tried to knock them off their pedestal, none have succeeded to do it over a long period of times, even the clubs with sugar daddy owners.
Despite United’s focus and history with producing their own, this success has come at a price. From the likes of Robson, Cantona, Kanchelkis and Ince in the early nineties, to Cole, Yorke and Sheringham later in the decade, United have always splashed the cash to achieve success. Their spending continued into the naughties with the likes of Veron, Van Nistelrooy, Ferdinand and Saha joining the ranks and more recently Rooney, Vidic, Carrick, Nani, Ronaldo, Evra, Berbatov, Hernandez and Valencia have been signed.
The total cost of all these players is well in excess of £200 million, so why is their flagrant disregard by former players and football commentators to ignore this, when the likes of the Chelsea and Manchester City are constantly bombarded with accusations of foul play for spending so many millions.
Even with the all money they’ve spent acquiring their squad, down the years they have also managed to balance this with producing quality players from their academy. In the last few years this has waned but with the likes of Cleverley and Wellbeck already proving their worth, and with the likes of Pogba and Ravel Morrison ready for the limelight, it shouldn’t be long before United are striking the balance between producing their own and buying the world’s best.
In the meantime it shouldn’t be forgotten that even though the likes of Scholes, Neville and Giggs have been an ever present in United’s success of the last two decades, United’s success has been mainly built the same way every club to ever win the Premier League has been built. Money, and plenty of it.
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