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What makes Manchester United so alluring and the Manchester United mythology so enduring?
No one can really point a finger to the exact ingredients, but the right answer is probably a combination of silverware, historic triumphs (see Champions League win over FC Bayern Munich), iconic football figures, exciting attacking football, winning at all costs and Sir Alex Ferguson himself.
While United romped to the Premier League title this season and nothing should be taken away from such an impressive achievement, it is common consensus that this is a United team still in development and not at its peak. It is also far from Ferguson’s strongest squad as United manager.
Any manager taking charge of a young team in transition and still finding its tactical identity will have a task on his hands. Any manager taking charge of a team expected to win trophies while striking a fine balance between world-class stars and promising youth graduates will have an even bigger challenge. Any manager who isn’t Sir Alex Ferguson doing all this at Manchester United will face a task of the biggest magnitude.
The logical choice that fit the above requirements to continue the United story would perhaps have been Jurgen Klopp, who has achieved so much with an unfancied Borussia Dortmund team. He could have brought a philosophy, an affableness and a continental reputation to Old Trafford.
But it wasn’t to be, and in David Moyes, Manchester United have made a significant statement of their faith in young British managers. They did it with Sir Alex, they will claim, so why not with Moyes as well?
For this, the Red Devils should take massive credit. It is a bold move, a risky move and, if it pays off, will be one of the greatest success stories of managerial talent moving seamlessly from the lower English leagues to the upper echelons of European football.
But if it doesn’t, the six-year deal will backfire, and then, though nobody would want it to, the individual would once again be bigger than the club.