Photo: Ryan Giggs, van Gaal and Ed Woodward (@MANUTD)
The retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson has seen Manchester United brought back down to earth, finishing an unacceptable 7th place in the 2013/2014 season under then manager David Moyes and interim manager, club legend Ryan Giggs. The Old Trafford team failed to put any sort of positive run together in the absence of the legendary Scot which saw the likes of Everton, Newcastle and West Brom recording victories at Old Trafford.
The sacking of Moyes came as no surprise even though Man United is a club that has a history and tradition of supporting their manager, giving them time to sort things out in order to get it right. The time was up on Moyes after he was knocked out of all cup competitions and it was mathematically impossible to finish in the top four, a first in the history of the club in decades. Club legend Giggs took charge of the last four games of the season but then the board decided to appoint Dutch master tactician Louis van Gaal as the new manager.
The 62 year old teacher gave an excellent account of himself at the 2014 World Cup, leading a very young Dutch team to third place. His tactical masterstrokes and his thought process were on show as his tactical changes and substitutions won game after game for the Netherlands. In the wake of his unveiling however, the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra were all out the door. Those players are three of the back four that has been a rock at Old Trafford in arguably the club's most successful period. Their departure is a massive loss for the club because they are leaders in the dressing room as well as experienced players in terms of age and the amount of football played at the highest level. All three captained the team at some stage during their United career.
However, their departure means that the team will have some youthfulness about with only the injured Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Robin van Persie in their 30s. So far Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera has joined the club with players such as Mats Hummels, Arturo Vidal, Thomas Vermaelen, Stefan De Vrij, Angel Di Maria, Marco Reus and Kevin Strootman all reported to be targets for van Gaal. There is no more Sir Alex in the dressing room and the likes of Paul Scholes, Wes Brown, Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Beckham, Evra, Ferdinand and Vidic have all left their mark in the history of the Red Devils.
This spells the beginning of a new era at Manchester United. They will be seeking to reclaim their spot as the best in England with a new core of players. The team will be built mainly around Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones, Johnny Evans, Juan Mata, Luke Shaw, Adnan Januzaj, David De Gea, Rafael and Carrick. The young players will get their chances because van Gaal is a manager who likes to give the youngsters an opportunity. They will be looking to impress the new manager on their US Tour and will be aware that there are new players being lined up by van Gaal and CEO Ed Woodward.
The new hierarchy at Man United will also oversee a change in their kit as German brand Adidas will take over from Nike at he end of the 2014/2015 season. The Old Trafford faithful will hopefully witness a wonderful brand of football because their manager is a teacher of exciting attacking football. His philosophy normally centers around ball retention, using the width of the pitch and passing of the highest quality. A new crisp style is anticipated and the Man United fans all over the world will be hoping that they can capture at least two top class players before the end of the transfer window.