What I learnt from watching the so-called decline of Manchester United Football Club over the past 5 years?

To the uninitiated, Manchester United FC or Man Utd is an English Premier League football / soccer team.

They are not only one of the most prestigious football club in England and the UK, but they are also considered to be one of the prestigious football clubs in the world.

They have won a record 20 League titles, 12 FA Cups, 5 League Cups and a record 21 FA Community Shields. Their trophy room include three UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Europa League, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.

That’s a lot of trophies.

But in recent years, or to be more specific, ever since their greatest manager Sir Alex Ferguson, retired from the football club at the age of 72 yrs old, the club has been in freefall.

And even though they have hired two of the greatest football managers in Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourhino, the club has collapsed in double quick time after Sir Alex’s retirement. Indeed, the speed in which Man Utd has collapsed is faster than what it took Sir Alex Ferguson, from 1986 to 1993, to create a winning juggernaut in football history.

While many blame David Moyes, the manager whom many say was vouched for by Sir Alex as a worthy successor, it is also very obvious that it is not just Moyes’ fault.

Indeed, the club not only changed the manager but they also changed the CEO of the club at the same time in 2013.

To add fuel to fire, David Moyes himself swapped the entire backroom coaching staff from Sir Alex’s days with his own brand new team.

But when David Moyes started to lose matches and was booted out in less than a year in 2014, it was also obvious that it was a panic reaction by higher management.

Later when Louie Van Gaal took over in 2014, it was said that his style was football was boring and uninspiring. Indeed, Van Gaal was sacked almost immediately after he won the FA Cup in 2016.

Then the club hired Jose Mourhino in 2016, a man who is known for his Midas touch if not his football, and even when he won the Europa League Cup and a domestic League Cup in his first season, and took the team to second place in the second season, he was sacked halfway in his third season during December 2018.

So now ex-player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in charge in 2019.  But after a few glorious months of winning, the club went back to its losing ways at the tail-end of the season.

 

So what are some of the lessons we can learn from this bouncing around, panic, and a general sense of pessimism after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson?

  1. Don’t change the entire coaching and management staff at once.  Always better to have a transition or handing over period.
  2. Be resolute in staying the course. But always understand that there will be painful moments in the short term.
  3. Once a manager is selected, back the manager. Otherwise, why select him in the first place?
  4. Explain to the public the vision and importance of continuity and change.
  5. Don’t be swayed by opinion makers and news media who do not have a stake in the long-term success of the company.

 

 

 

 

 

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