When there’s something strange in the neighbourhood, who you gonna call ? When there’s something weird and it don’t look good, who you gonna call ? the answer in this case is Sir Alex Ferguson. Things are at a crossroads at Old Trafford and the sorcerers apprentice, Ole Gunner Solskjær, is in dire trouble.
So who else would be able to offer the wisdom and wealth of experience other than the Countries most decorated manager?
The old sage (77) probably jumped at the chance to return to the training field, whilst leaving his wife marooned at Tesco’s tills, to cast a knowing eye over the worst Manchester United side in living memory.
The trouble is that as special as Ferguson was and still is, he can’t turn potatoes into sirloin steak, somethings are beyond even the most accomplished and talented in the profession.
What Ferguson brings is gravitas and the ability to bring out the best that some didn’t even know they had. Ferguson can just offer a few words or a look on occasion, to put a player on the right track but most of all he will look for commitment and desire.
The Scot often picked workman like players, not many were world class, although he was lucky to have his fair share but he preferred industrious role players, who delivered for the team and allowed the talented individuals to show their worth.
United are being severely tested with a depleted, dysfunctional and dispirited team and at the helm, the hugely inexperienced Solskjær, who must feel like he’s been hit by a speeding train.
Solskjær doesn’t have the tools to do the job and Ferguson’s appearance speaks volumes for how the board are viewing their current predicament.
The feeling is that United could reach a point where they have no choice but to replace Solskjær with a new manager. One has an abundance of sympathy for Solskjær who was scatty enough not to realise the pitfalls of taking one of the biggest jobs in football.
Solskjær inherited a poor team, lost players that weren’t replaced and has had injuries and yet again, I blame Ed Woodward for wasting money, not securing suitable personnel or replacing the departures. If anyone should go it’s him !
However, on the subject of Ferguson, he has no desire to return to the job that he made his own. His shadow over Manchester United is at one end of the stadium, while the other shadow, belonging to Sir Matt Busby, inhabits the other.
He spends his time representing the club, indulging himself at the races, looking at fine art and playing golf. He is still a United man through and through but in his last few seasons, he realised that he just didn’t have the energy to rebuild another United side.
The position of Manchester United manager was never a job for someone who’s only experience was presiding over a side that played in front of just over 11,000. This is a job for someone who has domestic and European experience at the highest level and that isn’t the Norwegian.
Do you recall swimming out to sea, in the knowledge that you are a fairly accomplished swimmer but then it dawns on you that you should turn around and head back to your comfort zone ? There’s an uneasy feeling about venturing on further but a suspicion that you’ve overstretched your abilities to the point of floundering. That’s Solskjær at present, the land looks a long way away and the arms and legs are tired.
At the time of writing this United are to face Liverpool and it’s more of a damage limitation exercise than a competitive match. You can tell me all about spirit and motivation but that won’t make goals or fashion a highly unlikely victory.
Despite the upbeat attitude of Solskjær, he will be aware that this result may underline his management and that he may not have long in the hot seat. Injuries will be mentioned but United need more quality in the middle and a potent goal threat up front.
Ferguson may well be able to give tips on formation and even inspire players to play at a higher level but there’s too many average players in this side to last an entire season.
The best Solskjær can do is ride it out and stick to his best 11 , but in all honesty Solskjær doesn’t have many options other than to go with youth and wait until January. I don’t think he’ll make it.