Man United mediocrity is down to Glazers as apathy and low standards take hold

Manchester United has a culture of mediocrity, and this has nothing to do Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Solskjaer is in many ways a victim of the loss of expectancy and standards caused by Old Trafford's Glazer family and its senior executives.
Ed Woodward, outgoing executive vice-chairman and neither the Glazers or Ed Woodward were present at Old Trafford as Solskjaer experienced what he called his "darkest moment" in football. United was beaten 5-0 by bitter rivals Liverpool. Their absence from the biggest domestic match of the season exemplified the apathy at top of the club.

The owners and the man in charge of the club's day cannot find time to see Manchester United play Liverpool in the luxurious seats of the directors' box. This is a game those executives wanted to make a regular fixture in a breakaway European Super League. Can they claim that United will return to the power and dominance they held until the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013?

Eight years ago Ferguson left the club and the Glazers, Woodward and Woodward assumed full control. Since Ferguson's departure eight years ago, United has won only three major trophies (an FA Cup Cup, Carabao Cup or Europa League), with two runners up in the Premier League. United has never finished higher than Manchester City in this table during that time. United have not won anything since Solskjaer assumed control in December 2018. He initially replaced Jose Mourinho on an interim contract before being appointed permanent manager in March 2018. They are now a "nearly" team, losing four semifinals and one final in the Europa League.

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Owners can have different measures of success. Fans want bragging rights and trophies, but owners may prefer to be able to measure it differently. United will argue that Solskjaer made steady progress during his tenure as manager. He improved the team's league position each season, restructured the squad with costly additions, and kept the club's stars. Solskjaer has consistently failed to win games when United have been under pressure.

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However, at the end last season, Pep Guardiola, a multiple Premier League winner, and Thomas Tuchel, a Champions League-winning player, were given two-year extensions by City and Chelsea. The Glazers and Woodward decided that Solskjaer was worthy of a three-year United contract. Why? United doesn't operate according to the same high standards as Ferguson. The Glazers are now satisfied with mere mediocrity.

Chelsea and City are the most successful English clubs in the last decade. While much of this success can be attributed to Roman Abramovich, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan and Roman Abramovich, both owners have a strong desire for trophies. Owners who are more involved and at the top have a greater appetite.

Chelsea is ruthlessly demanding. A manager who is not performing well is fired. Abramovich even fired Frank Lampard, club legend. He made the switch last season and Tuchel transformed the team and guided them to Champions League glory.

City's Sheikh Mansour's Abu Dhabi hierarchy has long followed a policy to appoint the best at every position within the club. Guardiola was appointed coach and Ferran Soriano, the former Barcelona director, was made chief executive. Txiki Begiristain became Barcelona's former sporting director and was then responsible for player recruitment. Liverpool also chose the best by appointing Jurgen Klipp as manager and Michael Edwards as sporting director to ensure that the club is a strong operator in the transfer market.

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United, however, are not ruthless or fixated on appointing only the best under the Glazers. Woodward, Richard Arnold, Matt Judge, director of football negotiations, and Woodward all made it to the top of Old Trafford after they both studied at Bristol University before moving into investment banking. They may be the best in their fields anywhere in the world. However, that is a testament to Bristol University's quality as a training ground for football directors with no prior experience.

Woodward announced in April that he would resign from his position following the Super League failure. Six months later, he's still at Old Trafford. Sources tell ESPN that he could remain there until April next year.

United is stocked with ex-players in the football positions -- Solskjaer and Michael Carrick, first-team coach, Mike Phelan, assistant manager Mike Phelan, and technical director Darren Fletcher. The Glazers seem to be following the same model of excellence as City and Chelsea, but they aren't looking beyond Old Trafford. The Glazers did not hire Louis van Gaal to be their manager in 2016; it was a reactionary move driven by City's ambition to appoint Guardiola in the same summer.

While Liverpool, Chelsea, and City have all appointed managers at the top of their game, the Glazers have either been the last-minute men (David Moyes and Van Gaal) or have had to rebuild his reputation as Solskjaer or Mourinho, whose only qualifications for the job seem to be his legendary status as a United player.

Solskjaer has fulfilled the Glazers' expectations because they have set such a low bar; Champions League qualification seems to be sufficient to satisfy their needs.

Solskjaer may not be up to the task of leading United beyond City, Liverpool and Chelsea, but he will still have a job if he finishes fourth and has a decent cup run. Solskjaer is responsible for this. The owners are responsible for United's declining status and low expectancy.