The trouble with making jokes about potential disasters is that when they come true, you’re torn between the urge to shout ‘I told you so’ and, depending on your social stereotype, the urge to cry / pray / drink / blow yourself up.
At Manchester United, by no means are we near any financial disasters, but that will be the talk of the town after United backed out of the Adem Ljajic deal. Fair play to Ferguson – he saw that his young crop of players were improving this season and he chose to back them instead of paying a few million to bring in another unproven player.
Saving money while still getting results – whether you’re a debt-free club or saddled with 700m in debt – is always a good thing and United’s act of financial prudence should be celebrated. Here’s a club that is focusing on bringing through players from their own ranks mixed with a few choice foreigners instead of stocking up on young talent from all around the world.
Rafael, Fabio, Macheda, Obertan were bought, but Evans, Gibson and Welbeck started at the academy and as United mount their challenge for a fourth consecutive league title and a third consecutive Champions League final, the club’s squad depth is underlined by quality youngsters all vying for regular football.
The debt is a monster that United fans didn’t want but now that it’s here, there’s little point in throwing a fit about it. Yes, it’s there, and yes, we’d like it gone tomorrow morning, but short of a) a multi-billion buyout or b) Glazers selling everything, we’re going to have a club with massive debt next year as well.
Ferguson knows that, and while we’d all like to see him bring in world-class talent, it’s difficult to do so when your targets either have outrageous wage demands (Ribery is on 150k Euros / week at Bayern) or outrageous transfer fees (60m+ for Ribery) or, worst of all, they want to play at Real Madrid (Benzema / Ribery).
The club will spend money when it’s directly benefiting the performances on the pitch, and as fans you can’t ask for more from the money-men.
With Arsenal and Liverpool flopping again this season, Spurs and City a few years away from challenging for the title (if ever) and Chelsea showing that they’re nowhere near invincible, Manchester United are in with a very good chance this year to win more titles.
And with Gibson, Evans, Rafael, Fabio, Macheda, Obertan and Valencia all performing well when called upon, there’s a lot to be optimistic about if you’re a United fan.
Are United screwed? Given the current situation on and off the pitch, I’d rather be a United fan than anything else.
Bring on #19!