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Two clubs going in opposite directions

imageI hope I am not going to be grilled over the coals for this article but sometimes I just can’t help myself. As some of you already know by now, I am a die-hard Bayern Munich supporter and I have been so since 1972. Yes I love Manchester United as much if not more but I am seriously concerned over the difference in direction both clubs are going when it comes to their collective futures.

Manchester United may be coming off another Premier League winning season but we have all noticed for several years now a decline in the club’s overall quality, especially in Europe.

Now, the club moves forward without our talisman and coaching czar, Sir Alex Ferguson. Meanwhile in the green and lush hills of Bavaria, FC Bayern Munchen are building a juggernaut so large, so imposing and so deadly that I am seriously doubting anyone’s ability to dethrone them in Germany yet alone Europe for at least three years if not longer.

Both clubs have had proud traditions and have always done business in a professional and approving manner. But then a funny thing happened to Munich starting back in 2010. They lost the Champions League final to Inter. Then hated rivals Borussia Dortmund dethroned them and beat them mercilessly for two seasons. The final straw was the embarrassing loss at home to a clearly inferior Chelsea side in the 2012 Champions League final. Well Bayern’s hierarchy of Chairman Uli Hoeness and President Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said enough is enough. German pride and hubris took over and the demand for perfection was the goal. First bit of business was to clean house of unwanted players. Gone was Breno, Olic, Petersen, Usami, Butt, and Pranjic. Then the club hired former German legend Matthias Sammer replaced then sporting director Christian Nerlinger with Sammer who then proceeded with the blessing of both Hoeness and Rummenigge to reshape the club.

Big bucks were spent. In came Mario Mandzukic, Dante, Xherdan Shaqiri, Claudio Pizarro and the missing link to their squad Xavi Martinez broke the German transfer record. The rest is history. Meanwhile, Manchester United did an admirable job winning the Barclay’s Premier League in a funny season where most of the major clubs in the EPL underachieved. In Germany, Bayern went on to set Bundesliga records for wins, points, goals, fewest goals conceded, then they went on to win the German Cup. The final topping on the cake was their demolition of the competition in Europe, especially Juventus and Barcelona on their way to the Champions League title. And just to add some sprinkles to that three-tiered cake, they also had the time and money to sign the most coveted manager in world football Pep Guardiola as they asked him to take over the helm at season’s end. This was a masterful and awesome treble winning campaign and yet there was more to come. Two more massive pieces of business occurred that have rocked the football world, the acquisition of world-class talents Mario Goetze and most recently Thiago Alacantara.

The reason for all this Bayern love juice pouring out of me is that as a fan of both Bayern and Manchester United I am caught between two worlds. My love for football has been split into a dichotomy, but a very unbalanced one. While one of my clubs seems intent on ruling the world and getting straight “A’s”, the other seems content on mediocrity and just passing the exam. Bayern Munich has always been run with a responsible monetary model and yet they have always craved success and wanted to be the best in Germany and a regular contender in Europe. Well in the past two seasons they seem to have pushed the envelope beyond that.

Bayern Munich RiberyTwo losses in three years in the Champon’s League final and back to back Bundesliga failures at the hands of Dortmund has turned Bayern into a ravenous pack of German Sheppards. While they have a surplus of cash to spend, they are being aggressive about building a super club that will be the toast of Europe for years to come, while always maintaining their German roots and monopoly of players for the German National Team. Success has made them even hungrier for silverware. They aren’t willing to sit on their laurels and be satisfied with the dream season of 2012/13. They are greedy and they want more.

Already they are trying to secure a deal with Dortmund that will allow Robert Lewandowski to stay with Dortmund for one more season whereupon, he will be allowed to move to Bayern unrestricted. All this and the injection of Tiki Taka and False Nines and Pepanomics and Bayern are truly planning for a long dominant stay at the top of world football.

Now lets look at my other love, Manchester United. Can I honestly feel as optimistic and enthused about the future and potential of this great and proud club? No. Oh yes this season plans to be very interesting and I returned to Red Rants simply because I was looking forward to the season, but admittedly not without a lot of trepidation and uncertainty.

Sir Alex Ferguson shakes hands with David MoyesOur beloved manager Sir Alex Ferguson has retired. The greatest manager professional sports history has left and in his place comes the somewhat successful David Moyes. Certainly not the jaw dropper I was expecting. I so wanted Man Utd to deliver a coup with the same impact of Bayern. If Bayern can get Pep Guardiola well we can get Jose Mourinho I thought. BZZZZZZZ! Wrong. No Fergie in his infinite wisdom decided to comply with the Glazer demands for a “Yes Man”. So he contacted David Moyes. I cannot express to all of you how that announcement knocked the wind out of my sails.

Like I have expressed myself many times before, I have nothing against David Moyes. For the umpteenth time I will declare him a fine manager and a good man and a manager who would have been perfect for Manchester United…..if the year was 1986.

See I have felt for a while that David Moyes and his former club Everton seemed caught in a time rift with their direct, long ball footy. 4-4-2 is an antiquated and medieval formation and I fear United are heading back to the War of the Roses tactically and strategically. Sam Allardyce, Brendan Rodgers, Ian Holloway, Harry Redknapp and Paul Lambert are all fine managers but not one of them is qualified to follow Fergie at Manchester United. Although I rate David Moyes higher than them, despite the fact he comes from the same old school British tradition of football that they all graduated from his methods at face value and from past accomplishments seem outmoded, stale and not in line with what we have become accustomed to at Old Trafford.

Lets face it, Everton played hard and tough football but they also reeked of boredom and suffered from a lack of imagination and creativity. And yes I know, Moyes has more talent to work with now but my concern is; will Moyes drag us down with the likes of Liverpool to the lower depths of footballing despair? Or is he really a hidden genius who will elevate his game and that of Manchester United and better the product Sir Alex left for him? The prospects aren‘t that grim but they are nevertheless shrouded in fog. Just what will this new United club look like? I haven’t got a clue.

What I do know is we are not playing the game like Bayern Munich on the pitch as well as off. We show no hunger or aggressiveness in the transfer market, we show no eye of the tiger and willingness to get down and dirty to get our man and we have yet to show intent with any major targets nor do we have the transfer funds available that a club like Bayern have at their disposal. And that for me is what upsets me most and is at the crux of the problem.

jurgen klopp and jose mourinhoAlthough I do not rate Moyes on the same level with Mourinho, Klopp and Guardiola, I do feel he could do a good job if we were able to sign some more big names while at the same time showing the exit door to players like Wayne Rooney, Anderson, Pat Evra and Nani. Instead we seem dead set on keeping players who feel unwanted, lack the proper attitude and motivation, lack the skill set or suffer from a diminishing skill set. We keep players on the payroll that are no longer worthy and we don’t have the aggressiveness to pursue world class talent in the transfer market before other clubs step in and conduct their business expediently. I’m sick and bloody tired of it.

I want, NO, I demand Manchester United find it’s hidden mojo and that they start acting like Bayern Munich or even better, act the way the supposedly richest club in the world with the number one brand should. While Bayern have offered Pep Guardiola a transfer kitty of 120 million and a club that is in the black financially, the Glazer’s offer their new manager a sack of change and 400 million pounds of debt. And please, to all those pro Glazer advocates (all three of you on planet Earth), stick it in your ear because I’m not buying your BS, nobody else with an IQ higher than 3 does either.

Up to now United has suffered and survived through the Glazer regime because one man, Fergie was strong enough, smart enough and intimidating enough to keep us on top in England, if not so much in Europe. He had the ability to keep the good ship United on course and competitive because he was clearly “da man”. There will never be another like him and I feel we all will suffer from his absence because the owners haven’t got the insight, the forethought and the willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure United’s ship has nothing but clear seas ahead.

The news from Old Trafford is that Moyes has been given a healthy transfer kitty to buy players. Well I’m here to say that the Glazer’s definition of a healthy transfer kitty and mine are two entirely different portions of meat. Bayern have a 120 million pound transfer budget, Barca and Real Madrid often spend in 60 to 80 million range annually. Manchester United have been stuck on that 20 to 30 million level for a long time. Sometimes they go over when Fergie’s demanded a Berbatov or an RVP but generally the money that is served up can buy a combination of Phil Jones and Shinji Kagawa per season. Nice players but I demand more. Mario Goetze and Xavi Martinez each cost twice that amount. And Ronaldo and Falcao would cost two to three times that amount. The reason I bring them up is because clubs like PSG and Monaco or a few Russian clubs are willing to pay the going price to get players of that calibre. Why should a club steeped in tradition and success like Manchester United be operating financially like Liverpool, Newcastle and Southampton, when we should be emulating the other elite clubs in world football? Hell, Liverpool should too except they are also snake bitten by greedy American ownership.

Ozil and GötzeI’m royally ticked off folks, I’m sorry. For all of you who think I should stuff it and go follow Bayern I say stick it. I love Manchester United. I wanted Thiago to play for United, not Bayern. I want United to meet Bayern in the Champions League final and beat them, honestly I do. I have been crying for United to sign German players like Neuer, Ozil, Goetze, Schweinsteiger and Muller for years now, but to no avail. I am jealous and envious of Bayern. While as a fan I look forward to their season, I have anxiety and tightness in my belly over what’s happening, or should I say what’s not happening with Manchester United.

I am growing increasingly worried and paranoid that the wonderful roller coaster ride that was the Sir Alex Ferguson era has ended and the car we were all riding on is now going to derail. I hope not for David Moyes and all our sakes. I sincerely hope David Moyes proves me and other doubters wrong and blows us all away with a great club that plays creative, imaginative attacking football. Yeah right, and John Lydon is going to become Prime Minister while Southampton wins the Barclays Premier League. Prove me wrong Dave, prove me wrong.

I wish Moyes well but my wishes approval are not what he needs. He needs the hand of God to strike down the Glazer menace and put this club in the hands of owner(s) who give a damn about the fans and about the product on the field and not just about spreading and marketing the brand to better line their greedy pockets. Some would say they lack the insight to realize that when the product on the field starts to decline, so will their licensing and brand empire. Bu they don’t care. They will milk the cow for as long they can before the old gal goes dry. Then they will sell, saddle the debt on other or just leave the club in tatters. Enough already Glazer’s go home. Better yet, go straight to Hell.

Have a nice day, United for life.