03 Sep 2014 12:33:00
Regarding Mike Phelan's reported comments, I've been watching United since 1962 and as far as I am concerned we have always been a team that was prepared to flex its financial muscle and spend big, breaking transfer records. That year we bought Denis Law.

The loss of identity started when the Glazers moved in. Then we became a team no longer in the market for the best players. We cashed in on Ronaldo, a player reaching his prime. We pursued a policy that rested on the talents of an ever aging squad because our management knew it was the lesser risk. We stopped being a team that moved on its best players when the time was right, Beckham, Van Nistleroy etc. And unlike the class of 92 who were given a chance to shine, we effectively blocked youth development.

The big change at United this summer is an acceptance of the true internationalization of the sport. Foremost we have a foreign manager who has foreign tactics. Our major transfers and youth policy have become more oriented towards international talent, which will hopefully be a big part in our future stabilization. So, yes, this summer may mark the passing of a team fed predominantly by English kids but frankly, I don't care. United's identity is not about where the players come from but about having the best players and playing an exciting and entertaining brand of football. It's on the pitch.

It is Mike Phelan's period as assistant manager that's coincided with the real loss of identity. It may take some time to restore the balance, we may have a hard time getting back into the ECL, but be that as it may, as far as I'm concerned this summer our identity has been restored.

1.) 03 Sep 2014
03 Sep 2014 12:46:34

Couldn't have put it better myself, was going to write a post very similar but not as good, don't need to now.

2.) 03 Sep 2014
It would be sad to see United go 100% in the direction of Man City/PSG's/Madrid's. The sides that make non stop purchases strip themselves of personality.

The sale of Di Maria is a good example. He was a memorable part of Real's side that halted the legendary Barca 09-11 team, (an acheivment not dissimilar to our United side that broke the "invincible" Arsenal of 2004, something we still enjoy 10 years later.) He was also the star in the side that captured the "decima" (10th European Cup.) These significant moments give teams a history and identity. A revolving door policy can devalue that. There has to be a balance.

Im in favour of some kind of transformation at United. We have been the most old fashioned side in Europe for some time curtosy of a long serving manager. It was worth it, - in Ferguson we had one of the greatest managers to grace the game. Now is a new era however, and I think we really need to use last season as a learning experience. We stuck to the tried and tested, appointing DM, but in reality, it was never the "old fashioned values" that made Sir Alex a legend, it was his natural abundance of ability. In David Moyes we found a successor in personality, - but not ability.

Outdated ways of operating do need to change at United. i'm sorry to say it, but in one of those departments is Youth Policy. The Premier League and Champions League have changed. Level of competition, financial stakes. "Small risks" are now "big risks." For a title challenging team to give Cleverly 18months of first team football, is a big risk. The poor guy received a lot of harsh criticism in the end that he didn't need trying to make his way in the game, but if you want to develop youth in a tier 1 football club nowadays, that will be the fate of 1 in 2 players. Look at Arsenal, are they bring through Youth, or are they signing Sanchez's, Ozils and Carzola's? Their Policy is changing too because it has to change.

A buying policy for a team like United has to be the way forward. When we do unearth talents the likes of Januzaj, a future path for them should be set out clearly. In addition a player that can do a job such as Wellbeck (who can give you something different - the "defensive" a.midfield role he played in the WC, ) should be retained to deepen the squad. That would keep the balance & allow United to reshape itself in the 21st century team.

3.) 03 Sep 2014
You're old

But seriously, you've been on the button of late. Enjoyable to read

4.) 03 Sep 2014
03 Sep 2014 13:12:49
Pea, I agree with most of that, but I've said it before - every successful team, in all the big footballing countries, have a core of native players, who truly understand the unique circumstances of each individual league.

For all the globalisation of football, RM and Barca still have Spanish players, Bayern has Germans, and the Milans and Juventus have their Italians.

I'm as excited as anyone when we bring in the likes of Falcao and Di Maria, but I'd be loath to end up like Arsenal one day, playing a match without a solitary Englishman in the team.

Manchester United may well be one of the biggest clubs in the world, but it is still English, and IMO at least some of our playing staff should reflect that.

5.) 03 Sep 2014
StevieK. I hear what you're saying but Arsenal do have a number of excellent British players - Gibbs, Ramsey, Walcott, Wilshire, Oxlade-Chamberlain and now they have Welbeck too.

It's a nice idea and it works well in Spain and Germany where there are only 1 or 2 clubs that can act as a national incubator. The problem in England is that there are more clubs competing for the best English players and unfortunately, with a few exceptions, they generally aren't as good. or so our parlous international record would indicate.

I'm sure the club will try and develop domestic talent but it first needs to get back to winning ways and playing dynamic football. I want to be able to come away from the weekend at least as excited by our performances as I am impressed by the free scoring abilities of Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City.

6.) 03 Sep 2014
We can't do sentiment this season top 4 has got to be achieved or we will suffer with attracting a few more top targets and 2 years out of ucl adds up to a lot of lost cash

7.) 03 Sep 2014
03 Sep 2014 23:01:14
John, I understand this year is an important one, and that we have to speed things up a little, but I still believe in the long run, there has to be a balance. That's not sentimentality, it's just realism - we can't have a squad of 21 galacticos.

8.) 04 Sep 2014
I didn't say we should stevie, we produce an enormous amount of talented young footballers unfortunately the majority end up at other teams.i go and watch the u18, u21, s whenever ican because I hope to see a few diamonds standing out.we have got them in both age groups hopefully and i'm confident that 3 or 4 at least will progress into the 1st team but you can never tell if they will fullfil that promise.i agree we should have a decent percentage of english players and I think we have plenty rooney, jones, smalling, shaw, carrick, young, wilson, blacket, keane, johnstone, powell and a majority of the youth sides.