| 13°C Dublin

sell manchester united or gamble it all on van gaal

HERE'S a bit of good advice for the Glazer family. Without any delay, they should put Manchester United on the market. Sell the lot as quick as they can and bank their profit.

I would hesitate to offer business advice to anyone. It's not my area but football is and in the matter of Manchester United, there is a relentless logic to the Glazers getting out now.

They have already banked a huge amount of money from the operation and without spending any of their own. Sell the club now and I don't think I would be far wrong to suggest that their profit would be north of £1 billion.

MONEY PIT

Put it this way. If they decide to fund Louis van Gaal's messy attempts to tidy up the poor legacy left by Alex Ferguson, it won't be long before they understand very clearly how a big football club can turn into a huge money pit if they don't already.

Angel di Maria, on his own, has eaten into a big chunk of the Glazer family fortune and they know that it is not very long at all since Alex Ferguson was knocking out trophies on a bit of a shoestring.

He was still spending money but while Real Madrid were lashing out mad amounts for Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and their latest bunch of Galacticos, Ferguson was buying Anderson, Chris Smalling, Valencia and Ashley Young.

They are not bad players. Van Gaal is trying a system which requires the two wing-backs to be defenders, as well as wingers, but Valencia and Young have always been wide midfielders.

They can't defend.

This is why van Gaal cannot be absolved of responsibility for the mess he finds himself in. He has made a bad situation worse by sticking to his own dogma.

I notice he has extended his provisional bailout by nine months. He first said it would take him three months before he can put some shape on Manchester United. Now he believes fans can hope to see some light at the end of the tunnel this time next year.

That's a long time to wait for the fans and the Glazers. I cannot believe that they would stand by and watch another £200m spent on players by van Gaal with absolutely no guarantees.

It will take that kind of money and there is no short cut, no layer of talented young academy players bursting to get into the first team.

They had the closest thing to a sure bet anyone in football will ever have when they backed Ferguson and they have seen David Moyes fail and van Gaal thrash around with no coherent plan.

They see European clubs adding a premium when Manchester United CEO Ed Woodward comes knocking and he has already paid way over the odds for Marouane Fellaini and indeed, Di Maria because of poor planning.

In short, the Glazers are now required to invest in a seller's market. They are seeing their potential profit shrink and the possibility that one of the best deals in sporting history will go up in smoke.

There must be a queue of billionaires out there ready to buy Old Trafford, all believing that they know how to do it right. If the Glazers do sell, then Manchester United fans are in the lap of the Gods.

It took just twelve short months to go from a dominant position in English football to this mad scramble to buy players, any players.

People just never learn this lesson. Look at Crystal Palace now, in a "safe pair of hands" according to the club now that Neil Warnock has been installed as the new manager.

They had a pair of 'miracle-working hands' looking after the club when Tony Pulis was there and he decided to walk because of a fundamental disagreement with his employer.

PROVEN MANAGER

Pulis wasn't a "safe pair of hands". He was a winner. A proven manager with a track record which included the most recent Premier League manager of the Year award.

If Crystal Palace had backed his judgement, I think it's a fair bet that he would have kept them in the Premier League for a prolonged run.

At all levels in football, managers must have control. Anything less than wholehearted backing will ultimately backfire and that's why it will be an expensive business to keep Van Gaal with the kind of players he is accustomed to.

That's the calculation the Glazers are now making in their minds. I don't think they have any passionate investment in Manchester United. It's business to them, pure and simple.

If they are smart, and I think they are very smart, they must see how fragile it all is and how good Ferguson was. Van Gaal may be able to fix it if he gets enough money but they will never have it so good again.


Privacy