COMMENT: Why Ed Woodward is right to get the gang back together at Manchester United
Ole may be at the wheel, but the MOT is six years overdue and there's no petrol in the tank. Also, there's no tank.
Following a tyre-screeching start to his managerial career at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has seen his side splutter and stall, before careering into a dead end of form like a bad journalist using car metaphors to disguise a fundamental lack of originality. What has become clear in recent weeks is that a far more holistic approach is required at Manchester United.
In case you're wondering what 'holistic' means in a footballing sense, it's a word banded about by people who want you to think they're approaching problems seriously and thoroughly, rather than throwing over-priced shit at the wall in the hope that something sticks and they aren't outed as know-nowt blaggers with ACCA certificates. Also, it means a single person isn't the answer.
So United are reportedly after a Director of Football, to look after the football side of the football club. The hire would 'work closely' with Solskjaer to identify prospective players and look at the 'long-term strategy' of the first-team. They wouldn't however negotiate any actual deals because Matt Judge - Head of Corporate Development - is evidently doing such a great job of that already.
Fair play to Ed Woodward for spreading the net far and wide in his hunt for the best candidate. He has scoured the globe - or at least old programmes - to identify the most qualified and proven technical minds in the game. So far he has unearthed former Manchester United player Darren Fletcher, former Manchester United player Mike Phelan, and former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand.
You may have noticed a pattern developing. Yes, that's right - each of these extremely qualified individuals is coveted by all the biggest clubs in the world and it'll be extremely hard to tempt them to Old Trafford. Only joking! No, they all used to play for the club. Apparently Woodward wants them to have ‘United DNA’ - presumably for some Jurassic Park style experiment to bring back the 1990s.
One could argue that this is all an ill-judged and cynical ploy to pander to supporter nostalgia, whilst continuing to milk the United brand for every last prestige partner penny. But personally I think it's a great idea! If anything, Woodward should welcome an even greater influx of OT alumni. Get the gang back together like Ocean's Eleven, but with an Ian Hislop-alike instead of George Clooney.
Just imagine for one second how great it could be. Solskjaer walks out of his inaugural meeting with Ferdinand wearing a new limited edition FIVE baseball cap, blissfully unaware that he's just been merked into signing Kieran Trippier and Joe Hart in a hilarious prank gone wrong. He bumps into new physio Danny Welbeck, who sadly breaks both legs and four ribs in the collision.
Upon entering the canteen, Ole is greeted with a freshly prepared omelette by newly appointed head chef Eric Cantona, who is uncharacteristically coy to discuss how he went about cracking the eggs. Whilst the United manager is busy picking the hairs out of that one, Patrice Evra is busy 'tenderising' the chicken and stuffing a pheasant - because he loves this game.
The possibilities are endless. Under Ed Woodward's expert recruitment, United could essentially go full-on retro and party like it's 1999 - when they were all still relevant. Bastian Schweinsteiger would surely find a home in Payroll, seeing as his time at Old Trafford involved picking up wages and not much else. Anderson could be in charge of polishing the silverware and brass.
Paul Scholes would do a great job at the reception desk, what with his experience of the revolving door at Oldham, whilst Jose Mourinho could make a triumphant return to his first love - the laundry basket. Perhaps there'd even be room at the club for Edwin van der Sar in the footballing hierarchy. On second thoughts, nah. He's already actually excelled in that role somewhere else, so that won't do.