Friday, 22 October 2010

Manchester United- The uncomfortable truth

Over the last few days, one name has dominated the football headlines- Wayne Rooney. On Tuesday he dropped the bombshell that he wanted to leave Manchester United, hardly what the club needed to hear a day before a Champions League match. Then today comes the news that Rooney has done a complete u-turn and signed a new five-year deal.

Despite the fact Rooney has opted to stay at Old Trafford until 2015, the reasons he cited for his initial desire to leave are still very valid. In his statement on Tuesday Rooney spoke an uncomfortable truth that no-one connected with the club had dared speak until then. United are not as able to compete financially with the other big clubs for the top players. This is due to the crippling debts at the club, which are well over £700 million.

As a United fan myself major alarm bells began to ring at the publication of the club's accounts which revealed United only made a profit last year due to the £80 million sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid. I thought to myself surely Manchester United, of all clubs, hasn't got to the point where it is now a selling club. Losing Ronaldo and Tevez last summer was a major blow to the club, as shown by their stuttering start to the league season which has seen them draw 5 out of their first 8 games, but losing Rooney as well would have been disastrous.

Edwin Van der Sar, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are all approaching the twilight of their careers, with suggestions Van der Sar and Scholes will bring the curtain down on their illustrious careers at the end of the current season. The question is can United buy replacements of the quality needed to stay competitive? I have my doubts. Michael Carrick seems to have regressed, while surely not much can be expected of Owen Hargreaves when he eventually escapes his two-year injury hell. Anderson hasn't shown much promise since his arrival and while Darron Gibson looks a fantastic prospect, he may be too young to take over the mantle from Scholes right now.

United only need to look down the East Lancs road at arch-rivals Liverpool to see the problems debts can cause, with Roy Hodgson's men languishing in the relegation zone, seemingly unthinkable for a club which holds the joint record for league title wins.

My only hope is that the club's hated owners, the Glazer family, move on and allow the debts to be cleared and for the club to move forward and improve the squad because if the current situation remains for too long, I honestly fear for the future of the club.

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