Sunday 18 March 2018 / 01:40 AM


In 2016, it will be easy to hate Manchester United again.

The Red Devils have harboured a bullish, arrogant nature throughout the modern era, but the appointments of managers David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal have provided comedy for non-United supporters as the perennial heavyweights became a shadow of their former selves.

It’s been a rare turn of events for Manchester United, a side that beat teams ruthlessly under Sir Alex Ferguson. The organisation thought little about stepping on toes and often purposely antagonised other teams and managers.

This method built a steady stream of vitriol and resentment from other clubs – not just in the English Premier League, but also around the world.

Sir Alex built a fierce reputation as a combative manager, who was eager to pressure the referees and start verbal stoushes with other managers.

This ‘angry dad’ method was an integral part of United’s success in overturning Liverpool in the 1990s and beating the ‘Invincibles’ Arsenal side in the 2000s.

Countless goals were scored in ‘Fergie Time’ – the extra injury time Ferguson earned through screaming abuse at the referee.

Who can also forget the verbal attacks he aimed at his rival managers?

Kevin Keegan rose to his comments and became the first victim of the Ferguson mind games. He also provided one of the best post-match interviews of all time, uttering the famous phrase, “I would love it if we beat them”.

He then moved onto Arsene Wenger and systematically bullied him through the 2000s; this is something Ferguson and new Man United manager Jose Mourinho have in common.

Similarly, Mourinho has built a stellar reputation in engaging in managerial stoushes, blaming the media and even eye-gouging.

The eye-gouging drew attention from Manchester United great, Sir Bobby Charlton. In 2012 he told Sky Sports he believes Mourinho is a good coach but has reservations about him as a manager.

“A United manager wouldn’t do that,” said Charlton.

“Mourinho is a really good coach, but that’s as far as I would go really”

While these comments were made four years ago, the sentiment about Mourinho and his character remain the same.

The most obvious difference between the greatest United manager of all time and their most recent acquisition is the time they spent in charge of a club.

Ferguson committed his life to Manchester United after a short stint at Aberdeen in Scotland, in stark contrast to Mourinho’s trademark three-year stints at clubs.

Mourinho has been extremely successful with clubs even in this short timeframe, but he often leaves with the heart and soul of the club, and this must be a concern for Manchester United fans.

The likelihood of him doing this to a club of United’s calibre is small, and the benefits of this position outweigh the negatives for both Mourinho and the fans.

At Old Trafford, ‘The Special One’ will have access to a huge war-chest that will allow him to sign whatever player he wants. He will face no interference with his team selection.

Another huge benefit for the Reds is that their cross-town rival will be a man who fuels Mourinho’s rage like no other.

Yes, Mourinho’s archrival Pep Guardiola – the feuding and fighting between the two will spark fireworks on and off the pitch and surely make the Manchester Derby the most watched football fixture in next season’s calendar.

And Mourinho’s swagger and arrogance will make it just as easy to root for the other team on a weekly basis as when the uncompromising Sir Alex was in his pomp.

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About the author

Mitchell Van Homrigh

Brisbane-based Mitchell arrived at CBS in 2016 to bolster the site’s football and cricket coverage.

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