Jose Mourinho has always dreamt of managing a club like Manchester Utd and would have probably crawled over broken glass all the way up Busby Way for the chance of taking on what could turn out to be the biggest job of his career.
He has established a reputation as one of life’s winners, and his accumulation of honours throughout his illustrious career is not to be questioned. Twice he has shocked the footballing world by leading teams to Champions League titles and at last he has somewhere to call home.
Unlike the previous two managers he has wasted little time in getting to work. (Moyes I’m looking at you!!!)
If rumour is to be believed, he had approached the club in early 2016 with a 8 page dossier. The club was in turmoil under LVG and the Mourinho dossier detailed his plans for the club should he be considered for the manager’s job if it became available. Already the wheels of change were in motion.
This means that prior to his appointment, he had months to analyze our current players strengths and weaknesses.
(bad news for players like Valencia and Januzaj!)
Already active in the transfer market securing Eric Bailly to reinforce the defence, it’s safe to say you can expect a flurry of transfers both in and out as Jose sets about building his squad.
Mourinho has won everything worth winning in football, but his appointment gives him the chance to achieve the one thing missing from his CV. Throughout his career he has never stayed at a club longer than 3 years and this record has become a millstone around his neck.
I feel this is his chance to establish a legacy, a dynasty. He is joining at the perfect time both for himself and for us. Our club was on its knees and only a personality like Mourinho is big enough to pull us to our feet.
He will have learnt some very valuable lessons from his short second spell at Chelsea, but he is the “Only One” who can jump start our great club.
Not only does he have the knowledge and tactical know how, he can also attract world class players who are desperate to play for one of the most respected managers in the world. More importantly he has the desire and passion that is sure to get the fans on their feet.
Already in his short tenure he has breathed life into the club, his pure charm and charisma enough to invigorate what had become a stale, dour environment.
Let’s take a look at how Jose can continue the rebuilding process that could result in him establishing a dynasty.
DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL
It has long been touted that we require a Director of Football to help identify and scout new targets, oversee the academy development and negotiate transfers. It is fair to say that Woodward’s track record in those departments is not great and the appointment of a DOF would allow Ed to continue his work of growing the club as a global brand. Woodward’s record when it comes to sponsorship deals is second to none with over 60 corporate sponsors aiding the clubs growth as a global brand (Ignoring those terrible X-Men and Independence Day adverts!!!)
I recently did an article on Ryan Giggs and the possible vocational options available to him at Old Trafford. One of the options outlined in the article was Giggs taking on the role of DOF. (read article here)
An alternative for the job is Monchi. No its not some sort of Pokémon it’s a real person. Monchi is the driving force behind Sevilla. The man that has worked behind the scenes for 12yrs as DOF at Sevilla, a club that has won 9 cups in 12yrs whilst bringing in over €200m in transfer profit. A man with a 700 strong world-wide scouting network responsible for spotting and nurturing young talent like Alves and Ramos. A man with a footballing knowledge and connections to drive the club forward. With Sevilla manager Emery looking ever increasingly Paris bound Monchi might take the chance to try a new footballing project.
We all know that Jose will bring his tried and trusted assistants Rui Faria and Silvino Louro with him but other positions need to be filled. In continuing the trend of embracing our past i feel the coaching set up would benefit from including ex United players like Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand. Both are United through and through as was demonstrated in their playing days, after his failed stint as manager at Valencia Neville Snr needs the chance to re-establish his coaching credentials. By bringing him into the coaching set up alongside the other “Class of 92” legends, we would be establishing a modern version of Liverpool’s famous boot room. Team bonding would never be an issue with such passionate coaches as Nev Snr and Rio and should the worst happen and Jose’s reign be unsuccessful, at least we would have coaches steeped in United tradition ready, and available to step in.
It is well detailed my admiration for Warren Joyce and the amazing role he has done and continues to do with the reserves. Leading a thread bare squad whilst handicapped by losing players sent out on loan or promoted to first team duties is never easy. Despite this he has led the United reserves to four league titles in five years. Inevitable Joyce is being linked to a step up to a managerial role in the near future but whilst he remains we should be taking the opportunity for him to be training up an apprentice. I can think of no better person than our very own Paul Scholes.
Scholes would thrive in a role as assistant to Joyce and a role away from the limelight would suit the United legend. With Scholes missing the day to day involvement of football and growing ever tired of his presenting duties it is a perfect time to return him to the fold.
A role away from the pressures of management would allow him to learn his craft from both Mourinho and Joyce.
A natural successor to Joyce he would be adept at dealing with youth players making the step up from Under 18’s and finish the polishing on players who hopefully would go on to represent the first team.
I don’t need to explain the importance of youth players to any fan let alone a United fan. From the Busby Babes to Fergie’s Fledglings, Utd has always had a history of playing young players and the only bright spot of LVG’s last season, aside from a much welcomed FA Cup win, was the continued emergence of young players bursting through the ranks into the first team. Keeping with the club’s tradition of either bringing youth players through from the under 18’s & reserves or buying the best emerging young talents like Tony Martial.
I won’t deny mistakes have been made at academy level, for example when Paul McGuiness left us in December 2015 our CEO Ed Woodward took over as official head of all of our players aged 18 and below!!!! A man with no footballing or coaching knowledge or experience was in charge of an institution that had produced players like Edwards, Charlton, Best & Giggs. A restructure has been promised & continued investment in the academy has been guaranteed by the clubs owners and i would like to see the following scenario play out…..
With Nicky Butt now in charge of the Academy team i would love for his fellow “Class of 92” player Phil Neville to join him. Neville Jnr has played and coached for United and is currently looking for employment after being let go as assistant manager at Valencia. A forward thinking coach who has immersed himself into the world of coaching, it was certainly not lack of application that resulted in his release from the Mestalla.
Bring the kid home and let him and Butty guide the youth of tomorrow. What better leaders than two successful youth products steeped in United history. With exciting prospects like Angel Gomes, Indy Boone and Tahith Chong coming through into the Under 18’s the future certainly looks bright. With a new structure in place it makes sense to put them all in one easily accessible place……..
New facilities are planned to ensure the Academy keeps pace with its European rivals. A 15,000 seated mini stadium adjacent to Old Trafford has long been proposed. This proposal would at long last see our reserves and academy teams have a permanent home, rather than moving from place to place.
This new stadium would be dedicated to our heritage and could be used for extra revenue generating purposes such as concerts or other sporting events. I would personally call it the “Jimmy Murphy Memorial Stadium” in honour of the great mans dedication to youth.
In the current economic climate of corporate sponsorships though it is more likely to be called The Chevrolet Aon Stadium or something equally obtuse. With a dedicated stadium for our young teams it would mean fans would be able to see the players of tomorrow at a reasonable price. You could even install big screens so when Utd are playing an away fixture fans could watch along in a stadium environment.
Jose has moved quickly to strengthen our scouting system, with the appointment of fellow Portuguese Ricardo Formosinho to the scouting department. United have always sought out talented youngsters and United scouts have discovered such legends as Charlton, Best, Edwards, Whiteside and even up to modern stars like Marcus Rashford.
A solid scouting system is imperative to the ongoing sustainability of our club as finding the next Ronaldo can save us millions in the transfer markets.
We should look again to adopt our noisy neighbours tactics and implement a feeder club system. We have enough ex players hailing from across the world to establish some sort of network of sister teams. Solskjaer in Norway for example.
Join me next weekend where i will take a deeper look at how a root level feeder club system could be the way forward.
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If you want to read Part One in this series of articles please head over to Manchester Utd – THE FALL AND RISE OF A DYNASTY