Recently, the candidates to be the next manager of Manchester United came down to just two. One who is out of work and one who isn’t.

United can’t be as choosy as they once could because the majority of top managers wouldn’t leave their current club to go to Old Trafford. Not that they have any history of taking a top manager from another club, it hasn’t been in their nature in the past.

At first glance, a straight fight between Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho should only produce one winner, the one who is used to winning. Mourinho ticks the majority of boxes required to be a United manager.

He is a serial winner, he can produce entertaining football when he wants to, he wins trophies quite quickly, usually in the first or second season at a club.

There are, however, boxes he doesn’t tick and it is these which makes the likes of Sirs Bobby Charlton and Alex Ferguson vote against his appointment.

He is usually a short term solution, only staying at a club for two or three years. Manchester United crave long term stability again. He can be a disruptive influence. In fairness, so could Fergie, but Mourinho is more habitual and can be nastier whereby his aberrations can end in fines, sackings and court cases.

Based on the “anybody who isn’t van Gaal” theory, Mourinho would be a good appointment, probably the best available. If he used United as a club at which to settle down and grow his winning reputation then he would be a great appointment.

Mauricio Pochettino is the the type of manager United would prefer. He has been loyal to his previous clubs, only leaving Southampton to take a bigger and better job. He never courts controversy and naturally produces exciting, winning teams. He is young enough to spend a similar amount of time in a job as Sir Alex did although, in this day and age, it would be very unlikely to happen.

What he doesn’t have is a track record. He hasn’t won anything but many people think this is only a temporary state of affairs and that it is only a matter of time before his particular brand of football starts to put some trophies in the cabinet.

Is he worth a punt? You bet he is! If Woodward wants to appease most of the fans but upset some of his fellow directors, then he will go with Jose Mourinho. This would be a popular choice on the terraces and United would be almost guaranteed to win something in the next couple of seasons, probably the Premier League title.

But where next? What happens after two years or so if Jose hasn’t settled down. He will look for a fresh challenge and United will be back to square one, albeit with an extra couple of trophies.

This would not be the case with Pochettino. I get the feeling he is just waiting for a club big enough to match his ambition. Maybe he has already found it at Tottenham in which case he will stay there through loyalty. Why move if you are not going to improve your CV?

I don’t think he has found that club yet though and United could get him if they want him.

So it is time for Ed Woodward to make his mind up, not a trait associated with the “dithering one”. He must decide whether to go against his fellow directors and appoint Mourinho, or go with them in appointing Pochettino.

It shouldn’t make a difference to him either way because this managerial change should be the last act of a dying man. He needs to return to the bowels of the Marketing department from whence he came, staying as far away from football matters as is humanly possible!


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