The banner was iconic, it was one that’s become synonymous with United fans and the way we judge our managers and just how patience can finally run out. I’m not talking about ‘The Chosen One’ garbage, or anything involving an airplane dragging it, I’m talking about the one from ardent United fan Pete Molyneux back in 1989. It read ‘3 years of excuses and it’s still crap ta-ra Fergie.’
The idea of any United fan wanting Sir Alex Ferguson – or plain old Fergie as he was known then to leave is almost unthinkable but 1989 was very different from 1999 or 2009, rather than challenging for titles, the Reds were scrapping at the bottom of the table with only the slim chance of winning the FA Cup offering any form of hope.
United of course won the FA Cup, Fergie got the fans on board, the Old Trafford hierarchy backed him and the rest as they say is history, but it might have been very different if the board had been swayed by popular opinion.
Jose Mourinho actually has a better record at United after two and a bit years than Sir Alex had, the former Chelsea boss has lifted two trophies, been to three finals and managed a second placed finish. It took Sir Alex three and a bit years to lift his first major honour and one league campaign aside the Reds were mid-table at best before the 1990/91 season. Unlike Sir Alex, Mourinho inherited a side that had just won the FA Cup and the expectation now is arguably higher than it ever was in the late 80s. Title challenges aren’t so much as expected as demanded and the former Special One hasn’t looked like delivering one since his arrival and doesn’t now.
The fans are getting restless and a recent poll we ran underlines the idea that it’s sooner rather than later before a manager already at odds with the board and the players, finds himself without an ally in the stands either.
Over a thousand fans took part with 76% saying it’s time for Mourinho to leave United, hardly surprising given the current climate, with the Reds almost certain not to win the Premier League and out of one domestic competition.
Just as an FA Cup third round away trip to Nottingham Forest offered Fergie salvation and eventually led to his redemption, tonight’s Champions League clash with Valencia could offer Jose Mourinho something similar. A loss against a relatively beatable Spanish side, could be too much for the board to stomach, a win may just buy the manager some time and increase his support amongst fans past the one in four mark.
RedArmyBet the only bookmaker committed to sharing 50% of net profits with United fan causes.