It seems to have been a relatively straightforward appointment. Jose Mourinho became Manchester United manager after a short break during which Ed Woodward dithered, as usual, over what to do about Louis “the loser” van Gaal.

Finally, Woodward’s decision was made for him as United, for the second time in three years, finished outside of the Champion’s League places. Winning the FA Cup was never going to be enough to save the Dutchman, who had produced boringly slow football for the majority of his time at Old Trafford.

Woodward, to an extent, is the victim of his own commercial success. When negotiating sponsorship deals with massive, but obscure, Asian companies, you can be sure that he impresses upon their executives the importance of Champion’s League exposure. To then not qualify, particularly if it ever became a regular occurrence, is unthinkable. So, to a great extent, the decision to remove van Gaal was the only option available to him and his second managerial appointment went the same way as his first.

If Woodward considered this a source of embarrassment, then again, he can rest reasonably assured that it was not entirely his fault. He was put in his current position by the owners of United, the Glazers.

Having worked for Americans for the last twenty years I am speaking from personal experience when I say that they will promote anybody who makes money for the company. This is irrespective of whether or not they are the best qualified person for the job, they have previous experience and, in some cases, can even do the job!
Simple considerations such as these pale completely into insignificance when measured against a candidate’s ability to make money. As my ex-boss used to say, “cash is king”.

Given that United need Champion’s League football and that Jose Mourinho has been one of the most successful managers ever in that very competition, you would be forgiven for thinking that the two were a match made in heaven. So why did it take so long for Mourinho to get the job?

Why was David Moyes, (experience of winning anything: zero), appointed ahead of Jose? The Fergie factor is too convenient. I find it difficult to believe that one person decided the immediate future of the biggest club in the world. To say that Mourinho had already agreed to go to Chelsea is believable, but so is the report that he cried on hearing that Moyes had got the United job and HE hadn’t! Why would he be so upset if he was going to Chelsea?

Employing van Gaal, on the face of it, made much more sense than Moyes. At least this man had a track record. He had won titles in Spain, Germany and Holland. He had won European trophies so, apart from his age, he seemed a good fit for United.

The fact that he wasn’t appears to be down to the outdated training methods, treatment of players and staggeringly boring way of playing. That he lasted two years was more down to his previous reputation than any achievements. In fact, at one stage, his record was worse than that of his predecessor, yet he remained in a job.

Two things conspired to land Jose Mourinho his “dream job”, which at one stage he must have thought would forever pass him by.

Firstly, he was sacked by Chelsea. Shortly afterwards, Manchester City announced that their new manager would be Pep Guardiola.

Without either of these two happening it is unlikely that Mourinho would have become United manager. The timing was right, as indeed it had been when Sir Alex retired but this time Woodward had no choice.

Mourinho was now available and was the ONLY big name capable of taking on Guardiola. Had United not appointed him then they would probably be second best in Manchester for a considerable period of time. They still may be, but the chances are less now that Jose is in charge.

It may have taken an inordinately long rime to get him there and, had David Gill still been in charge, it would probably have happened sooner, but at least he is there. Let the good times roll!


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