Recently, Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton spoke publically about how the club, in his opinion, “made mistakes” last season when David Moyes was in charge. Whilst the comment could be put down to the opinion of the 72 year old club legend, it is the first official comment by any club staff regarding last year’s debacle.
In contrast, the club ambassador stated that the current pre-season training under new their manager was “marvellous”. During a recent interview with MUTV he commented that he believed the Red Devils would be “well-served by a really cleaver man”. However, when asked about last year he did admit that “we struggled a little bit last year and maybe a few people made a few mistakes, but I don’t think we will make them now.” That is somewhat of an understatement Bobby! 7th Place is a bit more that ‘a few mistakes’… its a damn right **** up!
Sir Bobby Charlton is a national treasure, firstly his international record is impressive but his United record is second to none. However, nothing compares to his club record where he led the team to the 1968 European cup. During a glittering career he went on to make 758 club appearances scoring a record breaking 249 goals along the way.
For an elder statesman, of the stature of Bobby Charlton, to admit the team made mistakes last year is significant; let’s not forget Charlton is not just a club ambassador but his is a club director as well. As such, anything he says officially can be taken as the official club line on the subject.
Why am I so interested in what Charlton has to say regarding last year? Because it is so rare to hear the club admit to its failings… that’s why! It is not often you hear United officials admitting they got anything wrong. Such as (apologies if I sound like I am ranting here) the selling of Japp Stam, which was shear lunacy, in my humble opinion! Now that was a mistake of epic proportions by Sir Alex but the club never admitted it, Ferguson did in fact later attest to it being a mistake in his biography. In fact, he said it was the biggest regret of his career.
However, whilst the club admitting to making mistakes… which is great… it makes them human, with human failings. On the other hand, it is rather like a reality TV star who publically declares her/his last boyfriend/girlfriend to be the worst ever! But they claim the new one to be the best… ever. Only time will tell.
If van Gaal falls flat on his face and fails then perhaps we will have further official comments about making mistakes with his appointment. That said, many fans would have a go at me for suggesting van Gaal might fail at United, especially with his prior track record. But you can never predict what will happen when a new man arrives at a club. Who would have though David Moyes would have failed so spectacularly? Okay, stop laughing at the back that was not the best example I could have picked, was it?
What about the likes of Graeme Souness, Hristo Stoichkov, Ossie Ardiles, Glenn Roeder, David Platt, Alan Ball… in fact the entire England 1986 World Cup Squad? Okay, so Van Gaal stacks up a lot better than this rogues gallery of football management’s greatest failings. Nevertheless, we will have to wait until August 16th to see if the van Gaal effect is better than the Moyes effect.