Many United fans have been aware for a while that the glory days are behind them but it is often said with a glimmer of hope in their voices that they will, one day soon, return.
In recent days, it seems many journalists have decided that all hope has died at the Theatre of Dreams, a new manager won’t fix it and neither will the absence of Ed Woodward. But is the situation really that bad at United?
As Sam Wallace at The Telegraph points out, it will have been five years since United last won a major trophy, unless by some miracle, they win the Champions League at the end of this season.
The club is shrouded in controversy and turmoil, with riffs and cliques reported in the dressing room that no manager seems to be able to get a grip of.
The appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager was supposed to be a turning point for the club and though statistically they have shown marginal signs of improvement, the team has never looked less United.
Last month Rangnick claimed Anthony Martial “didn’t want to be in the squad” in the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa before Martial took to Instagram to refute the claims.
Similarly, in the defeat to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup at the weekend, Jesse Lingard did not feature in the squad. After a transfer to Newcastle fell through, he had reportedly asked for time off to clear his mind. However, he took to Twitter to say that the club had told him to take time off.
As Oliver Holt of The Daily Mail says “Can you imagine that kind of exchange, that kind of mutual disrespect, that kind of emotional incontinence, happening at a functioning club?”
Wallace likens Rangnick’s control of the situation as looking “every bit like a struggling supply teacher.”
Meanwhile, Ed Woodward departed and in came Richard Arnold to oversee a transfer window that didn’t see a single player join the Reds.
“If anyone thought United’s fortunes might begin to improve once executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward left the building — in his case that would be the club’s London office in Mayfair — they got quite an awakening last week.” Said Holt.
With a mass exodus expected in summer, is there any way back for the Reds?
Well, as Wallace points out, this isn’t the first trophy draught United have experienced. There was ten years between Sir Matt Busby’s league title in ’67 and Tommy Docherty’s ’77 FA Cup win. Then it was another six years until the next trophy lift.
Wallace looks at more recent history, “The last time Manchester United went five years without a trophy, it ended with the 1990 FA Cup that would launch the era of their tenacious manager, Alex Ferguson.”
Similarly, he points out that Ferguson struggled to attract his desired players in those early days; players such as Paul Gascoigne, John Barnes and Trevor Steven.
Maybe one man can change United’s world after all! Of course 2022 is a very different landscape to 1990 but it does give one hope.
If United could find that personality that could reform the team and give them the belief they require, this conversation could quite possibly be a distant memory this time next season.
However, the likes of Pochettino or Ten Hag will only be interested in the job if Rangnick becomes the sticking plaster that holds the current squad together and limits the damage of the past few months.