Make or break time for Manchester United
Today's comfortable win for Manchester United over a very average Newcastle United team signalled the start of the most crucial 12 months the club has faced in the past two decades.
First of all, the win has set up a fantastic FA Cup final with rivals Arsenal. The FA Cup has kept United’s season alive and the final should add a spring to the step of all the players for the remaining league games. The six remaining fixtures would have been unbearable for United had they gone out today, and personally, if I were a betting man, I would have been straight down to the bookies to place a wager on Arsenal easing to second place. However, today’s win should provide a welcome spur for the team to battle on until the last kick of the season.
Secondly, unless United sell one of their big names, they will have a very, very modest transfer budget this summer. Ferguson absolutely must buy Paul Robinson this summer, and work with the existing squad to provide a better challenge to Arsenal/Chelsea next season. Next season will be the most important one for Alex Ferguson in his time at United, because I don’t believe he will still be in the Old Trafford hot seat in 2006-07 if United are not either Premier League champions or Champions League winners.
Lastly, and most importantly, the United board and shareholders must, at all costs, reject the advances of Malcolm Glazer. If the Glazer bid, which relies so much on debt finance, is successful it would see United hundreds of millions of pounds in debt. If United continue to be successful on and off the pitch this does not pose a problem. But we all know that football is not a normal commercial business where it is possible to accurately predict and foresee profits two or three years in advance. It would take perhaps just a couple of seasons where United did not qualify for the Champions League to see them in financial ruin.
You may have noted the crowd singing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s name today, that’s because he is a United legend in every sense – he is the Patron of Shareholders United – a supporters group which is vehemently against the Glazer bid. I think it’s vital that more of United’s current playing squad come out and publicly state their opposition to Glazer and follow Ole’s lead. I’m not shareholder – but if any readers are – please say NO to Glazer!!!!