MANCHESTER UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB BRIEF BACKGROUND
Manchester United Football Club is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English Football. Nicknamed “the Red Devils”, the club was founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to its current stadium, Old Trafford, in 1910.
Manchester United have won a record 20 League Titles, a joint-record 12 FA Cups, four League Cups and a record 21 FA Community Shields. The club has also won three European Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinetal Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. In 1998-99, the club became the first in the history of English football to achieve the treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.
On 8 May 2013, Ferguson announced that he was to retire as manager at the end of the football season, but would remain at the club as a director and club ambassador. The club announced the next day that Everton manager David Moyes would replace him from 1 July, having signed a six-year contract. Ryan Giggs took over as interim player-manager 10 months later, on 22 April 2014, when Moyes was sacked after a poor season in which the club failed to defend the Premier League title and failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1995–96. We also failed to qualify for the Europa League, meaning that it was the first time Manchester United hadn’t qualified for a European competition since 1990. On 19 May 2014, it was confirmed that Louis van Gaal would replace Moyes as Manchester United manager on a three-year deal, with Giggs as his assistant.
Although Van Gaal’s first season saw United once again qualify for the Champions League through a fourth-place finish in the Premier League, his second season saw us getting knocked out of the same tournament in the group stage. We also fell behind in the title race for the third consecutive season, finishing in 5th place, in spite of several expensive signings during Van Gaal’s tenure. However, that same season, we won the FA Cup for a 12th time, putting us on par with Arsenal in total FA Cup wins. Despite this victory, Van Gaal was sacked as manager just two days later, with Jose Mourinho appointed in his place on 27 May, signing a three-year contract.
Below are 8 real life lessons I have learnt from Manchester United current form under Jose Mourinho in charge.
1) Learn to cope with Pressure
After having provided you with my favourite club’s rich background, so for a player to be signed by Manchester United is pressure itself, before he even steps onto the pitch, further more, to even touch the ball. As for the supporters, myself included, despite that we are not playing on the pitch, we also feel the pressure to win, since we have so many rivals (especially Liverpool and Arsenal fans) who enjoy watching us lose, that it’s really unbearable for us, the fans, going to work on a Monday morning after succumbing to a defeat during a BPL weekend fixture. You will be very surprised that you’ll have people whom you would’ve last spoken to some ages ago looking for you on your phone, social media on whatsapp and facebook. It’s like wanting to be in touch with a lost relative or friend, Manchester United must lose and there they resurface, seriously!
This season we signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan but my focus is on Zlatan and Pogba. Why? because they cost us much. Otherwise failure to cope with pressure and fame they will eventually find themselves crumbling down, together with their careers. Especially at the moment, with Pogba being heavily criticized from both sides, the media, sports pundits and some fans for failing to live up to a record signing of 105 million euros. Rooney even worse, due to his ineffective presence and poor form. Mkhitaryan still on the sidelines due to an injury.
Looking at David Moyes’s tenure as a coach at Manchester United was a fiasco. He failed to live up to the pressure, demands and expectations of the club. See where that has gotten himself now? He got sacked at Real Sociedad after subsequently spending 364 days. Now at Sunderland, at the bottom of the league, very soon to be sacked again. He is like suffering from a post-trauma effect of having been put in charge of United and the pressure that came with it of managing one of the biggest clubs in Europe and getting sacked after 10 months.
In life, character is who you are under pressure, not who you are when everything’s fine. Take pressure as something positive, remembering that a diamond is a chunk of coal that made good under pressure. The next time you slightly feel uncomfortable with pressure in your life, remember no pressure, no diamonds.
Pressure is a part of Success.
2) Learn to maximize on those chances or opportunities.
Some two weeks ago, before the international break, to those who saw the game against Stoke City which we dominated the entire game but ended up drawing, 1-1. We had plenty of chances to have braced an early win, netting 3/4 goals before half time but Zlatan and Pogba failed to utilize open goals encounters like they had done against Leicester City. Our match against Leicester City was an example of scoring chances that were utilized. I felt disappointed during and after the Stoke game because that could have been an easy 3points if it wasn’t for Stoke who unexpectedly managed to steal a point from us. Life gives you opportunities and when they come never try to score a spectacular goal but just make sure you have struck the ball really hard, past the goalkeeper, to just find itself at the back of the net.
In a nutshell, after the Stoke City game, we learn that, in the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take. We must always remember that if someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it late.
3) Stop being afraid to try
Looking at the Manchester United team who may have anticipated the rise of Marcus Rashford? An 18 year old, still living with his parents and going to school, but now has found a place in the first 11 and in the England National Team. Some of his achievements includes scoring in his first Manchester Derby game, and his first League Cup game. Rashford scored on his England debut in May 2016, becoming the youngest English player to score in his first senior international game. He was chosen for UEFA Euro 2016.
Recently he is being included in the first 11, with Rooney getting benched. Yes, Rooney on the bench, who may have seen that one coming, Marcus Rashford being selected in place of Rooney and Rooney not being on injury. No, so what does that entails in life? That sometimes we feel intimated by opportunities or our opponents, because we feel we don’t deserve, that for instance, in work places, as probably still a junior may feel intimidated to apply for even an internal vacancy because you feel they is someone else who has been in the organization for many years than you do, or that you feel you are not qualified enough or you feel that you are not prepared enough. Guess what? I have news for you. You must always remember that if someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it late.
4) You Adapt, Evolve, Compete or Die
Comparing our new signings in the club, Zlatan, Bailly, Pogba and Mkhitaryan whom do you think has adapted playing well in England? I choose Eric Bailly. Let me explain. Bailly began his professional career at Spain’s Espanyol, before transferring to Villareal. He spent two seasons at the club before signing for Manchester United in June 2016 as Mourinho’s first signing. He made his international debut for the Ivory Coast in 2015 and helped them win that year’s Africa Cup of Nations. My point is, Bailly had never played in England, but he has since made an impact from the very word go. He was named man of the match three times in the role, to the extend of going onto to be voted as Manchester United Player of the Month for August. Now isn’t that an example of a player who has adapted well in the challenging and demanding English Premier League and at Manchester United?
Pobga had played for Manchester United before, he is accustomed to the environment, has known and played with many of his teammates, nothing has changed, except for the manager, so he only needs to pick up his form. Memphis Depay is one example of a player who has dismally failed to adapt, to live up to his expectations and demands of playing in the challenging English Premier League, and much more, for Manchester United.
Sometimes, in our workplaces, failure to adapt to the environment, to change and the demands of the job may as well find yourself packing. Failure to adapt to your new life as a married couple will lead to a divorce. Failure to adapt to reality and new way of living that at one point you used to be rich, owned businesses, but your business empire crumbled, now you are flat broke and living on hand to mouth, you’ll never be happy and many end up dying in grief. Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative. Enjoying success requires the ability to adapt. Only by being open to change will you have a true opportunity to get the most from your talent. Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change and the key to success is often the ability to change.
5) Get rid of that extra baggage that pulls you back
I know Wayne Rooney has done so much for our beloved Manchester United Football Club, and for his country, England, and that has earned him great respect across the globe. I respect and like Rooney, a lot, defended him so many times but I now feel it is time he changes his environment, he goes else where, where he would be quite laid back, with no huge demands and expectations as the English Premier League entails, probably should go play in China or the Major League Soccer (MLS) with Lampard and Gerrard.
Sir Alex wanted to sell Rooney, unfortunately, was the same time he then retired. Moyes taking over, thought he could get the best out of him, hence, convinced him to an insane 5 year contract that he is getting 300,000 pounds-a week. Rooney has lost his form, he no longer has the pace and sharpness he used to, age has caught up with him, but sometimes coaches play him because they expect a miracle but no, not any more. The game has changed so quickly, that, it now involves the intelligence and pace.
In life, you must keep people who truly love you, motivate you, encourage you, inspire you, enhance you, make you happy and if you have people who do none of the above, let them go. Some of us think holding on, makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go. Eliminate the unnecessary.You cannot reach for anything new if your hands are still full with yesterday’s junk.
6) Being Simple and Humble
Many times I honestly feel Zlatan let us down when faced with open goal scoring opportunities, but because he wants to make everything spectacular, he ends up missing, that if were to put a Diego Costa in those situations we know the ball just ends up at the back of the net, simple and that what matters. There is no extra point for a spectacular goal. Either you win, draw or lose, unless probably voted for goal of the week. Marcus Rashford does not really score spectacular goals. No, why, he just knows how to be at the right position, at the right time, drives that ball past the goalkeeper and it’s a goal. Nothing fancy, but on point, we win, 3 points in our pocket, and case closed. Marcus is just simple and humble, same as his goals. Considering his age, he has managed not to let fame, fortune and popularity take control over his head. And it also speaks volumes about the kind of home he is coming from. His parents are doing a great job nurturing him, because, charity begins at home. To parents:- that too explains that people can tell a lot about what your home is like, by merely looking at your child’s/children’s behavior in public.
The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them. Simplicity is the key to brilliance. Be as simple as you can be; You will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy how your life can become.
Remember two things define you:
“Your patience when you had nothing, and
Your attitude when you have everything.”
Stay humble, work hard, be kind and loving.
7) Never lose hope. Stay focused. Never Give Up.
Under Louis Van Gaal, Ander Herrera was not given enough game time but under Mourinho he has since proven to be a dominate force in our midfield to an extend that during the international break a week ago he was called up on national duty in Spain for the first time. Mata whilst still at Chelsea FC, he was sold to Manchester United by Mourinho, so when Mourinho was said to be coming to United, many anticipated for another Mata exodus, but neither did he allow that to get in his head or negatively affect his performance, but as a matter of fact, it got him powered up, so to prove a point to both the manager and us the fans that he is indeed a powerful tool in our striking force. Mata’s presence on the pitch is significantly felt due to his incredible and stunning ball handling skills, intelligence and creativity. Mata and Herrera are now important elements in our team. They have tremendously improved, though, I honestly wish I could say the same for Memphis Depay.
Very well, in life, things may not go the way you planned, but that doesn’t mean you lose hope. Stay positive and focused. If you are not where you want to be, do not be discouraged. I urge you to stay focused on your dreams and let God lead you to your purpose so that you can walk into your destiny! Be like a photographer. Get your vision right, keep yourself focused, zoom in your goals and take the shot.
8) Learn to Accept
To be quite honest, being a Manchester United fan for many years, were used to winning, we basked in glory, hence were earned the title, GGMU, “Glory Glory Manchester United.” Loved the last-minute goals. Our team was managed by none other than the great Sir Alex Ferguson himself. Since he retired we have had different coaches, from a clueless David Moyes, to an arrogant and philosophical-driven Louis van Gaal and now “park the bus-kind-of-play” Jose Mourinho, (ha!ha!ha! just kidding, was only our recent game against Liverpool and I understand why we had to), but out of all this, we must learn to accept that indeed Sir Alex is the greatest manager football has ever witnessed but he is never coming back. That on itself, didn’t affect us the fans only, but the players too. Some may say, they are supposed to be professional and all, but lest we forget, that they are humans too.
Yes, I know it is never easy getting used to losing games, especially, against small teams such as MK Dons. Yes, I know it’s never easy knowing that probably today they are UEFA games being played and United is not playing. Under Moyes, we even failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1995–96…but out of all this, I still remain optimistic that we will find form and our place at the top of the league.
When you learn to accept instead of expect you will have fewer disappointments.
Life also becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got.
God give me the strength to accept the things l cannot change, the courage to change the things l can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Remember you learn something new everyday if you pay attention. I just pay attention to everything that surrounds me, and that is how I was able to come up with this article. Find positive lessons in everything you like and do. Learning is an endless process, it has got no ending.
“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”
#GLORY GLORY MANCHESTER UNITED