Jose MUST Deliver Top Four!

Manchester United

Manchester United have won a record 20 League Titles, 12 FA Cups, 4 League Cups and a record 21 FA Community Shields. The club has also won three European Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World …there’s no better way to introduce Manchester United…the most successful club in the history of English club football. With an intimidating following of over 655 million, one can arguably say it’s the next thing to the Coca-Cola brand. After a very successful 26 year tenure from Sir Alex, he stepped down and handed the reins to MOYES & LVG who failed by United’s standards and now the mercenary gun for hire who claims to guarantee success, Jose Mourinho, is engaged to do what is needed and put them back in Europe’s premier competition.

But, herein lies the conundrum. I didn’t just waste your time to highlight what we all already know, but this brings to bare the enormity of what is or will happen in 90 days. After just a few months at the helm in a coaching capacity, Jose Mourinho must put Manchester United back on the UCL map as Manchester United will lose £85million if they fail to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season.

Missing out, again, on the £30m on offer by UEFA for Champions League qualification and a lot more would be a disaster to say the least. The top four is NOW United’s main goal at this point of the season, or at least it really should be, with two routes still available- winning the Europa League or finishing in the top four.

So what’s the biggie about a top four finish?

Ok, let’s take a walk down Carrington through to Old Trafford.

There is absolutely no need for new contract talks, rumours or not at this stage of the season, given they already have an option to extend Jose’s deal until 2020 in his present running current.

“We’ve seen it at Chelsea, Inter and now with Real Madrid. He’s a manager for three years – he doesn’t last longer.” says club legend Peter Schmeichel. At Porto between 2002-04, Inter 08-10. At Real Madrid, it was from 2010-13. He astonishingly did three full seasons at Chelsea and another from 2013 to December 2015. Let’s not forget 2001-02 season at União de Leiria, plus nine games at Benfica in 2000.

So why is Ed Woodward in a hurry to extend his deal, when he has not even done a year yet? The above stats should be a good read for his early morning coffee.

Starting tomorrow, Manchester United will begin a fixture congestion period that sees them play six times in 21 days. Liverpool were not in any European competition this season, nevertheless, the last months saw Liverpool fall from second to fifth in the Premier League table, and crashing out of the 2 cup competitions. The goal right now is to make it into the top Four and possibly go for a 3rd or 2nd position to avoid play-offs.

If Champions League football fails to materialise again, United’s world record £750million kit deal with Adidas will be cut by 30 per cent, under the terms of the deal a penalty clause will be activated. The club would take a 30 per cent hit, currently worth around £21m of the contract, though that “hit” would be spread across the remaining Eight years of the Adidas deal.

You can always say United already proved that we are able to sign the very best players with only Europa League football, but don’t be deceived as the inflation is astronomical, surely not the model Sir Alex left behind. Manchester City now has the highest wage bill in Premier League yet again with them reaching record £225m a year while Manchester United’s wage bill increased from £203m last year to a club record £220.8m in 2016-17 season. This will only increase if the big names being linked to the club are signed in the summer window. We are going to operate at a loss for the first time in years, if we miss out on top Four and still spend big in the summer.

For those of you that don’t like politics, well Brexit has made it a compulsory subject, as it accounts for the significant drop of GBP value. The clubs debt profile has increased by 27-29%,-about £72m within the last three months to £409m. Feeling dizzy?

Financial fair play, introduced in 2010 to prevent clubs that qualify for UEFA competitions from spending beyond their means and stamp out what Michel Platini called “financial doping” within football. Clubs that have qualified have to prove they do not have overdue payables, to their players, other clubs and social/tax authorities. In other words, they have paid their bills. Sanctions for breach include a ban from European competition, transfer market ban et al. with the intensity and relentlessness of the EPL this would be tantamount to jumping off the cliff, as other clubs will just steam roll us. Inflated player prices will definitely not help especially when they consider the recent financial report with United as the No 1 in revenue generation for the year 2016, topping Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

For LVG not qualifying the team into Champions League last season, the players and coaching staff lost roughly £14million in wages and if they fail to finish in the top four again many of the first-team players have clauses in their contracts that will cause them to see their wages sliced. Now I have your attention. When you sum it all up we lost about £75million in revenue for missing out on UCL this season.

The English Premier League is the richest professional sport league in the world, with the prize money total from both domestic and overseas, three TV deals combined is around £8 billion. This will be divided into three parts making prize money pool for each of the three seasons under the current TV deal period. That’s around £2.6 billion a season to be distributed among Premier League clubs. Don’t forget the £60m TV revenue and the prize money that comes from participating in the Champions League, would all be gone with the wind.

See table.

(Possible) Premier League Prize Money Table For 2016-2017

NO# CLUB EQUAL SHARE MERIT BASED FACILITY FEE TOTAL
1 Liverpool £85m £40m £25m (25 matches) £150m
2 Chelsea £85m £38m £25m (25 matches) £148m
3 Manchester City £85m £36m £23m (23 matches) £144m
4 Arsenal £85m £34m £25m (25 matches) £144m
5 Tottenham £85m £32m £22m (22 matches) £139m
6 Manchester United £85m £30m £27m (27 matches) £142m
7 Everton £85m £28m £17m (17 matches) £130m
8 Watford £85m £26m £12m (12 matches) £123m
9 Burnley £85m £24m £10m (10 matches) £119m
10 Southampton £85m £22m £14m (14 matches) £121m
11 West Brom £85m £20m £10m (10 matches) £115m
12 Stoke City £85m £18m £12m (12 matches) £115m
13 Bournemouth £85m £16m £10m (9 matches) £111m
14 Leicester City £85m £14m £17m (17 matches) £116m
15 Middlesbrough £85m £12m £10m (10 matches) £107m
16 Crystal Palace £85m £10m £11m (11 matches) £106m
17 West Ham £85m £8m £15m (15 matches) £108m
18 Hull City £85m £6m £10m (9 matches) £101m
19 Swansea City £85m £4m £10m (10 matches) £99m
20 Sunderland £85m £2m £11m (11 matches) £98m

 

The era of the Dynastic manager is over in my opinion. The new era is about clubs doing everything and managers being available for plug and play. There are not many managers left in the world of football now who can or want to create a long term dynasty at their club-the last man standing in Wenger will soon be gone.

“I would like [to stay for], say, 12 years. The best way to [run a club] is to do it with stability. For the players, if you want to help them grow up, you do that much better with stability: in ideas, philosophy, model of play, style of leadership. This all comes from stability at the highest level: with the owners and board and, after that, the manager, the second line of the hierarchy.”

Mourinho said the above on his 2nd coming at Chelsea, we all know how it ended. What Jose does best is, he goes to a club that has a strong base and he builds the high rises on them. Then in three years, he jumps off to another ship, while the other building stands tall. Looking at Chelsea, when he left in 2007, he left behind a team that was solid and survived the next decade. His core formed the foundation of Chelsea’s success for many years. This guy is a maverick, an enigma of sorts. He comes, he sees, he conquers and then he disappears, usually after burning all bridges. Well he doesn’t care because his trophy room is what most managers can only dream about having.

However, there’s a kick back; José Mourinho comes with baggage, towers of grief-filled boxes and duffel bags. Ed Woodward should wait and see how it pans out, but I doubt it, if he could leave Chelsea, then your guess is as good as mine. Let him build the foundations that he’s known for, and then we can move forward in less rancour and fights. There is no shortage of young, vibrant and sound tactical minds under 40 that can do the continuity part, to name a few; Marco Silva, co-incidentally beat Jose twice, Pal Dardai-40-Hertha Berlin, Julian Nagelsman-29-Hoffenheim, Marcelo Gallardo-40-River Plate, Eddie Howe-38-Bournemouth and Lee Johnson-35-Bristol City.

With the next game at home to Watford, it seems a straight win, but in the EPL you never know this could be a potential banana skin. There’s a great need for both the team and management to zero in on the task at hand and end the season on a high. Contract extension talks shouldn’t be whispered, except for those keys players like Ander Herrera, who has been immense in the midfield this season, playing the Kante–role for United and allowing Carrick to exhibit his passing abilities. I think Rooney should move on now, having broken the all-time scoring record, and his bullion van salary closure couldn’t have come at a better time. The Chief Scout and his team should have presented their final drafts by now. It’s imperative we conduct our summer business as we did last summer, quick and precise, so we can start early preparations. Next season would be the mother-of-all-seasons since the inception of the EPL, as the team would take no prisoners, with money to spend. Six out of the Top Ten coaches in the world will be fighting for glory. Man, I just can’t wait already.

Winning is a habit Mourinho just can’t kick. He may be a nuisance, but he remains one of the most successful managers ever to (dis)grace the game.

But what does United & Ed want? Do they want a manager capable of sustaining success in the short-term, or somebody with a 10-year plan?

Whatever the answer might be, non-negotiability is indispensable, exigent, inescapable and insistent that Jose Mourinho delivers a Top Four finish for Manchester United.