Ferguson return: think-tank only offers more figures for Man Utd’s shameless owners to ignore

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Sir Alex Ferguson and Bryan Robson in discussion at Manchester United training. Credit: PA Images
Sir Alex Ferguson and Bryan Robson in discussion at Manchester United training. Credit: PA Images

Man Utd are said to have asked Ferguson, Bryan Robson and David Gill to join a brains trust. It’s a gesture as transparent as it is shameless.

 

The instinctive reaction to anything coming out of Manchester United these days is one of scepticism. Even the return of club legend Sir Alex Ferguson to a more active role at Old Trafford prompts pessimism.

Ferguson is reported to have been brought into a ‘think-tank’ featuring not only one of the greatest managers of all time, but also former captain Bryan Robson and ex-CEO David Gill, in addition to current football director John Murtough.

Many United fans will welcome Ferguson holding more sway, but suggestions that his already omnipresent influence will increase should be taken with a fistful of salt, unless the Glazers have had a sudden and collective personality shift.

Since Ferguson stepped down after 26 years in the dug-out, United have been terrible at taking advice, which is hardly surprising since there is absolutely no appetite for it. Managers, players, supporters – individually and collectively, organised and instinctive – have all tried to highlight the incompetence and mismanagement that has blighted the club, but the owners and board have spent almost the last decade with their fingers in their ears, stumbling blindly from rake to rake.

Ferguson given ‘formal role’ at Man Utd as Arnold sets up ‘think-tank’ involving four key figures

When Ralf Rangnick was appointed as interim manager with a view to staying on in some capacity on the board, it was viewed as one of the few positive moves made in the post-Fergie era. Granted, he wasn’t able to get a grip of a rag-tag group of players, almost all of whom spent a miserable campaign between self before side. But Rangnick had a track record of developing a long-term mindset and a culture conducive to performance and winning.

He spent six months being sidelined and marginalised at Old Trafford, being told to focus on coaching the team whenever he put forth a suggestion on where they might have been going wrong. No wonder when Austria came calling he couldn’t accept the job quick enough. Doubts remain over whether anyone at United has noticed he’s gone.

The hierarchy at United simply wasn’t interested in listening to how and where they might improve their fortunes – unless it increases the fortune in the bank account. Richard Arnold, at least, is offering the illusion of openness to change after taking over from Ed Woodward, but that is all it is: gestures and words to give the impression that he’s different to his predecessor and those around him.

Man Utd chief-executive Richard Arnold and joint chairmen Joel Glazer. Credit: PA Images
Man Utd chief-executive Richard Arnold and joint chairmen Joel Glazer. Credit: PA Images

If the formation of this latest brains trust isn’t a hollow token measure, it hardly reflects well on Arnold’s belief in his capability for his job. A competent chief-executive, flanked by an elite football director, shouldn’t need to consult with figures from the past on how to move forward.

All of which suggests United will pay little more than lip-service to anything Ferguson, Gill and Robson might have to say during their cosy Carrington lunch clubs. If the reality is different, then Arnold and United might want to think hard about who they are offering a seat at the table to.

‘It’s understood the three men will advise Arnold on a wide range of issues which include the redevelopment of Old Trafford and Carrington, and the club’s relationship with its fans,’ says the Daily Mail in their exclusive on the old boys’ reunion. That being true, are they really the best people to be advising on the best environments for today’s elite athletes and on how to build bridges with supporters who vary wildly in type?

Of course, Ferguson, Gill and Robson all have plenty of experience and wisdom to pass on and any organisation should always be open to new ideas and fresh input. But this latest gesture is as transparent as it is shameless. United have simply broadened their circle of figures to ignore with a p*ss-poor attempt at pacifying supporters already clinging to the past to distract themselves from the present.

The article Ferguson return: think-tank only offers more figures for Man Utd’s shameless owners to ignore appeared first on Football365.com.

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