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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.

Submitted by Football Friends




  1. john dempsey

    September 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    As for exploding myths, challenges which team can boast the best strikers over the past 80 years. The result will surprise most fans.

  2. GJ

    September 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    A very one sided representation! I’m sure city have spent more than 200 m in just the last 2/3 seasons alone. If you can’t stand United’s success say that. This one sided representation of fact isn’t doing the reader or you any favors!

  3. ChrisW

    September 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I don’t think there are any myths here. People are just pointing out that this current United side has not been formed by buying in already established, big name players. Rio and Rooney are the only players in this seasons’s first choice team who were really high profile, big money signings and they were both signed many years ago.

    United’s decision not to sign Sneider this summer and to rely on homegrown player Cleverly instead illustrates their quite different approach to Man City and Chelsea.

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  5. Peter.S

    September 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    There is no myth to debunk! The crucial issue must surely be ‘net expenditure’ and since the Premiership began in 1992, Man Utd’s net expenditure is £183 million, 4th in the league table of net expenditures. Compared with Chelsea, who in the same period had a net expenditure of £504 million. Since 2003 United’s net exp. is ranked 5th and less than a quarter of Man City or Chelsea yet compare the success. Between 2006 nd 2011 United are ranked 8th, having a net exp. 0f £56 million, an 8th of Man City’s and less than Stoke, Fulham and Aston Villa!

    United’s money has come from a history of playing attractive and effective football genreally within a framework astute and prudent management (Okay, there has been the odd dud signing) Any team that does well it would be stupid not to invest something of their winnings into strengthening their position – surely that is at least one element of the very point of success.

  6. AGGIB

    September 24, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Yeah – no denying we’ve spent the cash – but over a hell of a lot of time to bring in two or maximum three players each season – not a complete re-haul of the side within 12 months !!!
    Please qualify grandiose sweeping statements !

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  9. guinea pig

    September 24, 2011 at 11:18 am

    The premier league as a whole has faired well out of the Manchester United academy. Comparisons with the likes of Chelsea and City are frankly ridiculous.

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