Man Utd are mirroring history, Rangnick to drop Ronaldo and…

It’s history repeating itself over and over again at Man Utd. Get your thoughts on Ralf Rangnick and anything else into


Manchester United are mirroring history
Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

It’s extremely interesting to watch Manchester United and their current press coverage online and off. It’s wall-to-wall reporting of facts, speculation and outright guessing with some massive fibs thrown in. But it’s box office. People are interested, they still care, they want to talk about it until the cows come home – myself included.

To observe all of this you’d think they’re still the biggest, most successful club in the land. And obviously that is not so. A few years since any sort of trophy, even then it was a League Cup and a Europa. In the last decade throw in an FA Cup too but that’s your lot. Alex Ferguson, probably the greatest figure in the club’s history, was the last to win the league.

Since then, an eternal fight to recapture lost glories. And it’s always just one step away. The next manager, just a couple more signings, one final push. And every interview, piece of speculation , transfer is siezed upon – every win a sign that United are coming back! Until this season obviously. Endless pundits from the United heyday giving endless opinions.

And of course every single bit of this has been done before by Liverpool . For Sir Alex Ferguson read Sir Kenny Dalglish. The clubs greatest player and for me the most important person – sorry Bill – he won the title in 1990 and that was it for three decades.

In reality from then on Liverpool were a middling club. Finishing 2-6th most seasons, with the occasional domestic trophy and wonderful European run – but nothing to remotely justify the press coverage they got. They dominated every report that wasn’t about United, their ex players giving endless opinions.

And we spent huge sums for the time. All to make that final push , just a couple more signings etc etc. For Mourinho read Souness. Strong willed, determined to change everything, destructive for the morale of the club, eventually fell out with everyone.

For Ole read Roy Evans. A nice guy, great club figure, out of his depth , detailed to fix the morale, but without the stature to really manage the club. And he got replaced by a fancy foreign firefighter no one had ever heard of. The parallels are endless.

The determination to repeat our mistakes is genuinely impressive. And ours lasted nearly 30 years.

It only ended when we got a world class manager with a very defined style of play and put a world class structure around him. Transfers bought very carefully for his system . Given time to evolve with every season showing definite signs of progress. A huge personality that inspired and made everyone walk taller rather than not giving praise and falling out with people unnecessarily . I’m looking at you Rafa.

The club was ready for Jurgen and evolved itself around his needs. The results are clear for everyone to see. He’s even bringing youth through regularly now which is always wonderful for any supporter to see.

The cycle of endless hope and expensive failure is finally broken for us and it’s been worth the wait.

Will United look at this and learn before we did? Pep is doing the same at City. Chelsea have fluked upon Tuchel and he’s doing wonderfully well.

Zidane is not the man for the job. Poch may not be either. He won nothing at Spurs despite his many plaudits and several opportunities. Brendan has won more at Leicester and he’s on the ropes. So did Claudio and he got fired less than a year later. Even Arteta, who’s only ever 5 games from the sack, has won something at Arsenal.

Poch isn’t succeeding at PSG. Winning the league there is the bare minimum but he can’t handle the egos and maybe even the pressure. Why would he handle United and the endless scrutiny any better?

Ten Hag looks much more like it. Two league titles and the semis of the Champions League – he has a CV worth looking at and a definite style of play that works. All that’s needed is a bit of patience and he’ll be available.

But with this United board, it seems much more likely they’ll give Ralf his 6 months, he’ll do pretty well and they’ll give him a fat 3 year contract.

A lot of money will be spent, there will be an ultimately futile dance with success, a lot of hope will be extinguished and we’ll be all back here writing the same mails in 3 years time.

History repeating itself over and over again.
James, Liverpool

Jose and Ralf the same person?!
My biggest gripe about the interim role was that it would eventually lead to a permanent job, with the Rangnick deal this doesn’t look likely so that’s put my mind at ease somewhat. I knew little of the man yesterday other than his spell at Red Bull so its been interesting to read a number of his interviews and watch some talks he’s given.

My impression thus far is of someone who is incredibly knowledge when it comes to tactics and team dynamics, he’s authoritative and demanding of his players, but’s he’s also deeply passionate about the game and seems to take real joy in implementing his methods, it should also be said he’s very confident that his methods are the best. If he can have a positive effect on results remains to be seen but it’s going to be one hell of a culture shock for the squad. There are going to be some really tough training sessions on the way and he’s not one to pussyfoot around, if you don’t do it his way you won’t play.

Some accounts I follow and journalists that know far more than I do on European football are very excited at the prospect of Ralf at United so perhaps our board have somehow accidentally avoided ineptitude for once and found us a good ‘un

Finally, I don’t quite see how Ole is the opposite of Mourinho but also the opposite of Rangnick. Wouldn’t that make Jose and Ralf the same person?
Dave, Manchester


The Godfather
I was stunned to read that Dave, Somewhere, erstwhile United fan, had never heard of Rangnick. But then, he is a United fan, so I have to give him some slack, as there is a kind of myopic United DNA that pervades United fans into thinking that unless it was invented in Manchester, it doesn’t exist.

Rangnick, the guy being most recently touted as Newcastle’s Director of Football, who would build a proper structure and proper club. Rangnick, who took a village team (Hoffenheim) from nowhere to Bundesliga leaders, for a while, and ultimately to 7th. Rangnick, who was asked by Red Bull to set up not one club, but two, in Leipzig and Salzburg and built them into successful sides – including directly managing the sides. Teams that are sustainable and in the CL even while continually losing their best players.

Rangnick has proven he knows how to build a proper infrastructure, academy, coaching, analytics, player acquisition and physio systems. In several cases, roles that had never been in football before.

Yes, he is more famous as the ‘inventor’ of Gegenpressing, although he will tell you he simply saw it and improved upon it. He did directly influence coaches like Tuchel and indirectly Klopp. It is clear that German coaching right now is the preeminent form and he is the progenitor of it all.

Given just how dysfunctional United are, Rangnick will make a difference. But beware. He is committed to his ideals and has walked away from clubs who say one thing and do something else, hence why he hasn’t turned up at many top clubs. Its why United can get him.

It’s ironic that someone like Murtough would be interviewing and hiring someone who has 100 times more football nous in every facet of the game than he has. It is likely United would move Rangnick ‘upstairs’ after his stint managing which would be the smartest thing the club will have done in a long, long time.
Paul McDevitt


Rangnick’s credentials
Dave asks why Rangnick is considered good when he’s never managed at the level of Manchester United, and I’d like to give him a couple of answers.

First, the tongue in cheek one. He’s managed fallen giants with an over-inflated sense of self worth before at Schalke. Does that not count?

Secondly, with more seriousness, is that Rangnick is difficult to work. Think of him as LVG the second, except he’s more holistic with his approach to building a football club. In his eyes it’s no good to change to the tactics of the first team, if it’s not supported by everything from the bus driver (yes, really) to types of fabric in the kit. He’s a mad man. Which is why he’s always considered for the “rebuild a giant” or “create a super club” opportunities, but also often why he’s ignored.

And to be clear, the difficulty of working with Rangnick doesn’t appear to be about him being an asshole, or walking into changing rooms with his dick out LVG-style. It’s that if you don’t commit to his total-makeover, you might as well not bother.

Which makes the six month deal so odd. But also makes the two-year consultancy seem such a good idea. Because based on the average intelligence level demonstrated by Fergie’s boys (see Schmeichel, P genuinely saying give it to Brucie) I imagine Darren Fletcher could use some guidance as Director of Football.

In short, maybe a weird choice for this season (especially tying the grandfather of gegenpressing to Cristiano Ronaldo), but overall a really good one.
Andrew M, Streatham

As soon as the news hit regarding Rangnick I was expecting all the sniffy remarks from fans of other teams, the fact Klopp and Tuchel based a lot of their footballing philosophy on what Rangnick taught doesn’t come into their thinking, the fact he turned down Chelsea before they took Tuchel apparently means nothing, no he going to be a big fat failure because they know more than anybody else.

I for one think he is an excellent choice to come in and rattle a few cages maybe Pogba, Ronaldo etc get their noses put out but just maybe they listen to him and we start to play to our potential. I have a radical idea why not give him a chance to you know actually start the job before writing him off.
Paul Murphy, Manchester


Can’t wait for all those hilarious ‘Ralf Who?’ headlines.
Robert, Birmingham


I’m genuinely both shocked and surprised to see so many united fans disappointed with Rangick.

Are y’all just uneducated? because that’s a stellar appointment even in the interim. This is a man who took two teams in the low tiers of German football and made them mainstays in the top tier.

This is a man who tuchel and klopp both refer to as a mentor and who uses similar style and tactics to both. Honestly when I looked at who United were considering I prayed you’d get porch, because poch is overrated and I think would suffer the same fate as the other managers before him. But rangick is someone that can make the United team work as a team, press as a team, defend and attack as a team.

I’d say things are looking up for United now. Just hope you do Liverpool a favour and beat Chelsea


I take back my Queiroz take. Only wrote that because I genuinely didn’t think the United board was capable enough of making as astute a signing as Rangnick.
Shehzad Ghias, MUFC, Karachi


Ronaldo goes to the bench if Ragnick comes in?
Now am no football expert but am surprised at how many football analysts and this website as well that are saying Cristiano Ronaldo can’t play in Ragnick’s team because he is too old and he can’t press. I find that unbelievable because yes he might be old and can’t run around but spending a few minutes looking at some YouTube experts I find that in a pressing game there can always be a job for a block like Ronaldo. There’s always a guy you need to manmark the holding/passing opposing midfielder. I am pretty sure Ronaldo can beat Jorginho in a sprint on any given day despite the age gap, for sure I think he can do a man marking job on so many deep good midfielders in the game now unless he is not that bothered to try even. So it baffles me that people think he won’t play in this United side anymore given how effective he is in finding goals for this team.

This also brings me to the guy who said why we couldn’t hire Carlos Quieroz, You sir and your suggestions, the Gary Nevilles, Sir Alex Fergusons, the Schmeichels for suggesting Steve Bruce could do the job are what this club needs a break from. I have no idea if people never paid a lot of attention to Fergies years at the helm but those who were watching clearly know there is no defined United way of playing and bollocks to that thing called United DNA. Every time Fergie had a new assistant the playing style changed according to the new assistants and coaches on staff.

So it’s time some of you fellow United fans embraced modernity-its not even your club anymore.
Yusuf excited United fan in Kampala


Perennial nevers
I think the ship that was Ezequiel Garay, Nico Gaitan, and Wesley Sneijder has finally sailed the good HMS Old Trafford, to be replaced by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, per this morning’s mailbox. I think these players have to hit a certain sweet spot in order to be rumoured for so long. Good enough that they can be linked with the same club over a long period, but with enough doubts that they aren’t a sure thing. Leandro Damiao also fits this bracket with his ever present rumours to spurs. To a lesser extent, Kalidou Koulibaly, who has always been rumoured to everyone since forever. So I’m going to stick my neck out on the line, and say SMS won’t be off to Old Trafford. And my other nominations for most gossip column entries in the next 10 years without ever making these shores are: Piotr Zielinksi, Darwin Nunez, Julian Alvarez & Emil Forsberg.

Happy to take any further suggestions for these stationary nomads.


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