As the news breaks that the Manchester United board has decided to sack manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, questions are already being asked about how the situation has been allowed to continue as long as it has.
Earlier this morning we did a round-up of what leading reporters are all saying about the impending dismissal but one report, from The Mail’s Oliver Holt, perhaps deserves particular attention.
Holt pulled no punches in last night’s report and is angry about the way the club is being run.
‘Now, finally, the dithering and the dissembling of the mediocrities who run what used to be a football club called Manchester United has to stop,’ Holt says.
‘After managerial mistake after mistake, the jumped-up accountants who rule at Old Trafford have no choice but to accept their last throw of the dice did not work.
‘If they had an ounce of self-awareness, men like executive vice chairman Ed Woodward and managing director Richard Arnold would fire Ole Gunnar Solskjaer today and then follow him straight out of the door.’
Woodward is, of course, set to leave the club anyway and is working out his unusually lengthy notice period after falling on his sword for his involvement in the ill-fated European Super League project last season.
However, his control does not seem to be diminishing and many reports have claimed the reason Solskjaer was not sacked sooner was that the executive vice chairman did not want it to be his last meaningful act at the club.
There are also rumours that he is set to be brought back into the fold on a consultancy basis, so he will continue to wield too much influence on the running of the club.
Arnold, another non-football man and crony of Woodward, is set to take over his role which will ensure a continuity of the current, much reviled way of running the club.
‘It is over. But please, let’s not pretend Solskjaer is the root of the problem at Old Trafford. He is not even close to being that.
‘The root of the problem is the Glazer family who own the club, and the men like Woodward and Arnold who they employ to do their bidding.
‘They drain money from United like leeches. They fret more about profit than performance. They have turned United from a team that boasted of being the biggest club in the world into a laughing stock.
‘It is astonishing that a club like United was briefing recently that it was willing to let Solskjaer limp on to the end of the season and appoint a successor then. Really?
‘The best-supported club in England, a club that used to reign supreme, happy to write off a season barely a quarter of the way through rather than make a tough choice by getting rid of a nice bloke?
‘That kind of thinking underlined just how far United have fallen. They have allowed a situation to develop where United are already a dozen points adrift of Chelsea.’
Holt is clearly angry and echoes the sentiments of many United fans, who still retain some loyalty to, and sympathy for, Solskjaer.
Few doubt the Norwegian’s dedication and loyalty to the club, nor that he has done his very best in a role that arguably, he should never have been given beyond that initial caretaker period.
The fact that he was awarded a new three year contract in July is a clear example of the ineptitude at board level. For many, it was already clear that there were ongoing issues that needed to be addressed for the 48-year-old to be able to take the team to the next level.
It is a sad and messy end to what should and could have been a positive turning point in the club’s fortunes.