For the last decade or so, Liverpool fans have been telling ourselves that the time will come when Liverpool will ascend the heights of greatness once again and Man Utd will lose their grip on the English scene.
Personally, I didn’t think it was gonna happen this season. But with Chelsea and Arsenal eclipsing MU in the league and FA Cup, Liverpool triumphing in the Champions League, and the whole Glazer saga, Liverpool fans could be forgiven for preparing a eulogy for the end of the Red Devils’ dominating era.
However, I still didn’t think Man Utd would suffer too much despite the Glazer debt hanging over their heads – until I read this article in the Telegraph.
Nike, the global sportswear giant, is threatening to abandon its record-breaking £303m sponsorship deal with Manchester United unless the team can prove next season that it can consistently challenge for top honours.
Whoa. While I suspect that Man Utd will be able to placate Nike, this confirms that worries over Glazer’s takeover extends beyond the supporters to Man Utd’s corporate sponsors as well.
With some MU supporters claiming that they’ll boycott the club’s sponsors including Nike and Vodafone, it’s natural for the companies to feel a little worried. No doubt they’re hoping that the only way for the club to retain fan loyalty is to continue to be successful on and off the field.
This then translates to greater pressure on Sir Alex to deliver a major trophy next season, at least. While he would be hoping for some time to build a truly outstanding team (and I have to admit, he does have a good base to build on with Rooney and Ronaldo), he may no longer be afforded that luxury, especially with Chelsea ready to take on the mantle of Britain’s biggest team.
Truth is, I will be surprised if Sir Alex remains manager of Manchester United beyond the summer of 2006 – ESPECIALLY if they end next season with no major trophies again.
Unless Man Utd decide to settle for the 2005/06 League Cup…