It has been an interesting 2017 for Manchester United Football Club.
Coming out of a 3 year period that has become defined by how much they have changed from the United that Fergie built, #MUFC finds themselves at a crossroads that many believe could decide the fate of the club for the next decade.
Having gone through the ill fated reign of David Moyes & the controversial tenure of Louis Van Gaal, Manchester United had found themselves in unfamiliar territory as they found themselves fighting to survive rather than fighting for dominance.
In fact, it had become clearer & clearer by the day as the 2015/2016 season drew to a close that Manchester United, burdened by their glorious history, facing a fan revolt & under the ever present glaring spotlight that is the eyes of the world… needed to pull a rabbit out of the hat to arrest their momentum.
It was either that or resign themselves to the headlong fall into the abyss of mid-table obscurity.
But against all odds & just when all hope really did seem to be lost… #LVG delivered the FA Cup in what was to be his swan song.
Enter Jose Mourinho!
The possibility of the charismatic Portuguese helming Man United had been talked about for many seasons. In fact, his was the name at the top of the list as the potential successor to Sir Alex Ferguson.
But he was passed over & so he made his way back to Chelsea FC after a turbulent reign at the helm of Real Madrid FC.
But though he was (and still is) the greatest manager in Chelsea FC’s history, fate it would seem did not intend for Jose to continue on with them. After all, with Alex Ferguson having retired, Mr Mourinho was now the heir apparent to the title of Greatest Manager In The World & before anyone could blink twice… JM was unceremoniously sacked from #CFC following a player revolt over his altercation with Dr Eva Caneiro.
And with that, Jose Mourinho, the Cristiano Ronaldo of football managers… found himself unemployed. And across the pond in Manchester, the United faithful began to clamor for the club executives to offer the master tactician the job of United Boss… & the smell of destiny began to permeate from The Theatre Of Dreams.
Before long, with the stars having aligned & the pressure having built up, it was Van Gaal Out & Mourinho In & the winds of change began to blow in Old Trafford.
But it is no easy task managing arguably the biggest club in the world. Especially after the spectacular public failures of the preceding pretenders to Sir Alex Ferguson’s throne.
But Jose signed on the dotted line & the dawn of a new era began at Manchester United FC. But the euphoria was to be short lived. Having learned at Barcelona & built up Porto & built up Chelsea & helmed Real Madrid… Mourinho was well aware of the magnitude of the task he had taken on. What he knew & what we had guessed was that he had inherited a team that was not only a shadow of their former self, but a team that was playing in the shadow of their former selves. A team that had lost its identity & that had been exposed to criticism & counter productive philosophies.
It was a team in such disarray that even Pep Guardiola, who had been Mourinho’s protege at Barcelona FC before becoming his nemesis during his tenure at Real Madrid (&forever more…), had passed on the opportunity to helm United & opted for the nouveau riche City instead.
And thus began a project that seemed to draw the attention of the entire world to the English Premiere League, as Jose Mourinho took over as manager at Manchester Unted FC.
1st order of business was the transfer market.
Jose was faced with a bloated mixed bag of a squad with no clear “spine”. Untested youth & aging veterans.
It was going to be a tough job. But someone had to do it.
Could Mourinho succeed where others had failed?
Would he be able to replicate the success enjoyed under the legend that was Sir Alex Ferguson?
Only time would tell.
But Jose Mourinho represents the best chance United have of reclaiming the glory.
By the end of his maiden season, Jose had won the Community Shield, the EFL/Carabao & the UEFA Europa League.
Man United had never won the Europa Cup before. We had won every single other trophy a football club could win… except the Europa.
Jose Mourinho capped off his maiden season by completing our trophy set and etching his name in history as not only the only manager in our history to win a major honour in his maiden season but the 1st to win 2. He is the most successful manager of Manchester United in the post Fergie era.
So where to next? We will have to wait and see. But we can only improve. Given time.
Will Jose play “The United Way?” Will his authoritarian style get the best out of our motley crew? Can we get back to the summit and reclaim our perch?
It all remains to be seen. But the dark spectre of Joses 3rd year looms large. If he can vanquish it and vanquish his ego, he could go on to become immortal.