Why Manchester United Deserve More Credit

by admin

Monday, March 19th, 2012

The red half of Manchester are finally happier than the blue half, perhaps for the first time in the 2011/2012 season. United reaching the top of the table has inevitably sparked debates and media coverage all over the football world. The point I’m making in this post is that we’re so used to united topping the table that the achievement of them finally overtaking big-spenders Man City has been completely overshadowed and even ignored.

The obvious point to be made here is the two clubs’ capabilities in the transfer market. City’s spending over the past few years has set a new and in my opinion unwelcome precedent when it comes to building a title-challenging squad. Money has been thrown at the City team left, right and centre – easy to see when you consider the players sitting on City’s bench and playing in their reserves. The idea of Edin Dzeko sitting on the bench constantly and the Carlos Tevez “situation” help make my point before I even mention Nasri, Milner…the list goes on. I wont accuse City of trying to “buy” the title. You need that kind of quality when you consider the threat that United pose. Now I’m not saying that United don’t spend any money. De Gea was a big buy and Fergie’s big team also have some big names finding themselves on the bench (Berbatov for example), but the difference is that united dont rely on the transfer market for their players. How refreshing to see so many products of Manchester United still in the setup; Scholes back, Giggs still coming up with the goods, Evans coming into his own at centre back and the likes of Welbeck, Pogba, Rafael and Fabio finding themselves in a Man U shirt. Lets look at Smalling and Jones as signings too, young Englishmen who Man City would have happily bought and stuck on the bench, finding themselves integral parts of a title challenge at United, and performing at an extraordinary level for the most part, while still learning their trade. United buy potential, City buy players who have reached the top elsewhere. I know which of these strategies improves clubs and FOOTBALL long term. It’s not just a case of United spending less, but spending better than their rivals.

The next point to make is injuries. Every club has them, and it can be how well you cope with them that makes the difference come the end of the season. City haven’t been without them, but United have been hard hit with the injuries of two of their most influential players, Vidic and Fletcher, both out long term. When City have lost the likes of Kompany this season they have struggled immensely in spite of the depth in their high-value squad. United have coped valiantly, bringing fringe-players, RETIRED players and academy products into the fold, surely a blueprint that more clubs should follow?

United are a huge team, and have a huge amount of resources. Of course we expect them to win after so many years of seeing them dominate. The injuries and competition they’ve faced in recent seasons though, makes their topping of the premier league all the more impressive, something we aren’t giving them enough credit for. Ferguson continues to develop future England internationals and aid the growth of English football, something that can’t be said for a lot of the big teams up there, and karma has served them with a deserved place at the top of the table. I think most people in football would love to see new teams competing for the Premiership, we are here to be entertained after all, but surely nobody could argue that relatively small-spenders Manchester United deserve yet more silverware considering their brilliant efforts in testing times.

For more Football articles and Former Footballer Profiles, check out Ben’s Football Blog, The North Stand. Please leave a comment, I’ll try and respond to all, debate is what it’s all about after all!

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    Good points, and well written.

  • MM

    and all with a totally average squad as well. I don’t know how Fergi does it. Year in, year out they are challenging for the title.

    They do deserve credit, it must be said

  • Nati

    Good article. People dont understand that. He is a genius.

  • RUSS

    I like how you acusse City of buying the title by saying you won’t accuse them of trying to buy the title.

    I have no problem with City buying the title, United did it so did Arsenal, Chelsea, Blackburn and so on, its nothing new. Ofcoarse United like to say they did it with their own money but it was really with money generated for them by Sky and Uniteds good fortune to be the best team in the country when Sky, the prem and champs league came along.

    Still were are where we are. Unless A City or Chelsea come along how would any team break the stranglehold United have on English football?

    There is no chance of any team gradually building a good team /squad as anytime small club grows a decent player (SWP or Sturidge) a big team comes along and buys them and puts them in their reserves.

    Face it United were lucky sky came along when they did and City have been lucky with their new owners.

    Incidentally the FFP rules are only in place to keep the big clubs big and the little ones little. If the rules are followed there will never be any chance of smaller clubs growing into big ones and they will just become extras to in the soap opera that is the prem league

  • Nigel Waring

    A disappointingly biased and/or poorly researched piece. Manchester City have, over the years, probably brought through more youth players into the first team than any other side – many of them, like Glen Whelan, Daniel Sturridge and Joey Barton, are still plying their trade in the Premier league. Micah Richards is currently playing in the City first team and City have many other youngsters coming through the ranks. Can you really claim Pogba or either DaSilva brother as United youth players – they were signed for big money, not developed in the system.

  • Ben Jacklin

    I am not a Manchester United fan so no bias involved. Not sure many will agree with your statement “City have, over the years, probably brought through more youth players into the first team than any other side”. Also if we’re talking about players being signed early on in careers for fees (something I see no problem with if it aids footballing development), then technically Daniel Sturridge started his career at Aston Villa/Coventry.

    That said, I am grateful to Man City for aiding the development of Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge.

  • Moston’s Finest

    Nigel Waring – There are more MUFC academy players currently playing in the premier league than those of any other club, including MCFC.

    MUFC have also produced more top flight footballers and English internationals than any other club in the the country.

    Not that City don’t have an excellent history of youth development, they do, however its just not as good as United’s record of producing young players.

    MUFC have been at it all throughout their history, including producing players such as Platt and Kidd by the way, as well as Best, Edwards, Charlton, Beckham, Scholes and Giggs to name a few.

    City however seem no longer able to combine their young players with their first team, where as United are top of the league with 7 academy products in the squad, and a further 5 who have played at various points in the season.

    Funny how Pogba cant be classed as an academy product but Richards can, as both joined their respective clubs at 15 for a small fee. If United can’t count Pogba then City can’t count Richards, leaving them with no Academy players in their side at all.

    Oh and by the way, how many Mancs have played for City this year?

    City no doubt have a great team all of a sudden with wonderful players on huge wages, but many more billions will need to be spent over the next 5 decades or so if they are to get anywhere near the success of United or the iconic status that MUFC as a club holds throughout the world.

  • Dave Pistol

    @ Moston’s finest,

    Great reply, couldn’t have put it better myself! The article also clearly states that united are signing potential in players like pogba/da silva’s where as city are paying mega money for players like nasri etc.

  • Rooneys mate

    You can tell the city fans on here. Jump to defensive mode like a flash. Comparing youth/academy players is not a competition. Just because United have produced more or better is not a slight on any other team. It’s just a fact. A fact always lost on bitter fans, usually of Liverpool or Man City.

  • http://iamplayr.com Josh Tarrant

    What I found interesting – is that this season the top two teams in the Premier League have really struggled in other competitions. For the first time in 10 seasons – United wont be in a Cup final, City are also out of all cups.
    I am unsure if it is that their squad’s aren’t good enough or that their number 1 prioirty has been the league. City are desperate to win it for the first time and United are equally desperate not to lose it thier biggest rivals.
    I am expecting a summer of more arrivals for both teams as they will want to challenge on all fronts next season.

  • Pete

    Yes Manchester United have produced lots of good players from their youth no one can take that away from them however there is more to this than meets the eye.
    As we know United have been the best team in the land for the last 20 years firstly because of the great crop of players they had such as Beckham Scholes etc but secondly and most importantly because of all the money that rolled in when sky, prem and champs league was formed.

    How big a club would Liverpool be now had sky, the prem and champs league come along ten years earlier????

    This allowed United to hang on to players who might have otherwise left for more money and allowed United go on to buy better players that other clubs could not afford when their youth system did not supply them.

    United haven’t regularly broken the English transfer record (and come close on other occasions) for nothing.

    Getting back to the youth players United have produced. Uniteds success and money has allowed them to hoover up many of the best young players both locally and nationally. United could get the best young players and more of them than other clubs so naturally more good players result.

    I would liken it to the Grammar /Private school system. These schools hoover up the best young children so it’s not a surprise when these schools later produce the kids with the best GCSE and A level results.

    As for ” no longer able to combine their young players with their first team”

    Obviously not. Why would they be able to? In two years City have jumped from a mid table team to potential winners of the prem and a champions league club. Why would the young kids City took on in the last few years after the big clubs had taken the best of the crop be able to make that huge jump in class now? It would be unreasonable to expect it.

    But what about in 10 years time? City have already taken on better young players and are building a huge academy. May be with a few trophies under their belt, the best academy complex in the country and money to spend City will hoover up a few of their own great players.

    Then someone will be able to say City only did it because they had the money and they will be right just as United only did it because they had the money.

  • Pete

    Before people say City are trying to buy the Prem just remember if United win it they did spend around £53 million this season alone.

    Phil Jones 17 million
    David De Gea 19 million
    Ashley Young 17 million

    and last season 26 million

    Chris Smalling 10 million
    Javier Hernandez 6 million
    Bebe 7 million
    Anders Lindegaard 3 million

    amounts of money most other clubs can only dream of

    Not as much as City even taking into account that City have had to pay twice what every player was worth but not inconsiderable sums either.

  • Jig

    Err, I think Man City is the one spending fantasy football money…

    Jo 18 millions
    Pablo Zabaleta 6.5 millions
    Shaun Wright-Phillips 8.5 millions
    Vincent Kompany 6 millions
    Robinho 32.5 millions
    Vedran Corluka 8 millions
    Nigel De Jong 18 millions
    Craig Bellamy 14 millions
    Wayne Bridge 10 millions
    Shay Given 7 millions
    Roque Santa Cruz 17.5 millions
    Gareth Barry 12 millions
    Kolo Toure 16 millions
    Emmanuel Adebayor 25 millions
    CarlosTevez 25 millions
    Joleon Lescott 22 millions
    Adam Johnson 8 millions
    Aleksandar Kolarov 16 millions
    David Silva 25 millions
    Yaya Toure 24 millions
    Jerome Boateng 10.5 millions
    James Milner 24 millions
    Mario Balotelli 22 millions
    Edin Dzeko 27 millions
    Sergio Aguero 37 millions
    Stefan Savic 6 millions
    Gael Clichy 7 millions
    Samir Nasri 25 millions

    That is 477.5 millions pound in four seasons, average of 120 millions each year.

    Talk about grooming players, Man City only have Joe Hart & Micah Richards playing key roles, but Man Utd have Johnny Evans, Danny Welbeck, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Tom Cleverley, Rafael & Fabio playing key roles. Let’s not forget the injured Darren Fletcher.

  • http://j Russ

    Yes all true City have spent millions and the above list does not include the wages!!!!!!

    However City have had a lot of catching up to do in a short space of time which has meant they have had to pay twice the price for players so yes they have paid 447 million (it took United about 13 years to spend that much) but the players were transfer fees and wages were probably doubled as soon as clubs realised City were interested.

    (Mark Hughes did not exactly spend the money wisely)

    But take City out of the picture and which club can spend money like United has over the years?

    Certainly not Bolton, Blackburn , Wigan, WBA, Norwich, Everton, etc definitely not Liverpool arguably the best club in the country until recent times. Arsenal may be? So in truth the prem league has been a league of one or two clubs for most of its history unlike the old first division that had a much more level playing field.

    Anyone under 30 does not remember the old first division and how the prem came about, 20 years ago is ancient history. They don’t realise how lucky united have been (as well as good management) having the best team just as the money poured into football.

    Even with all the money City have I fear that United have managed to become so successful in the last 20 years that the FFP rules will stop City and any other club competing with United.

    FFP, what a laugh EUFA want FFP yet they dish out millions to the top clubs in European competitions making the Prem unfair

  • http://www.thenorthstand.com Ben

    Thanks Jig for putting those figures up. Well done to those who get the point of the article 😉

  • connerchameleon

    Interesting article, a huge reason for Fergies youth setup is that when he took over he actually looked at city’s youth setup (vastly superior in the 80’s) and started tapping up some of the potential the most obvious being Ryan Giggs and including Paul Lake (see his autobiography) obviously other players at other teams as well, his youth team master plan took a number of years to come to fruition whilst of course spending big with signings like Gary Pallister, Paul Ince, Neil Webb, etc to compete with Liverpool. Basically I know that the amounts of money have changed but in actual fact the pattern is pretty much the same. Stop judging the master plan going on at city before you remember what has happened in years gone by.

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