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Erik ten Hag was right, eras DO come to an end… football has left Manchester United behind!



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This week, Amos Murphy analyses Manchester United’s recent demise and asks what Manchester City can learn from their neighbours’ fall from grace. 

As Erik ten Hag once said, “Eras come to an end”.

He was right. Football has left the once-great Manchester United behind. Though, that reality is something United players, supporters and pundits alike have failed to recognise. And it’s part of their problem. 

They aren’t the first club to suffer this kind of fall from grace, and they won’t be the last. For as dominant as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have been in recent years, there will come a day when the blue half of Manchester are too longing for the glory days. 

But the parroting of the same, ‘but it’s Manchester United we’re talking about,’ whenever the Red Devils suffer a dodgy result ignores the very issue at heart. Manchester United just aren’t very good at football. 

That’s okay though, because, as alluded to by the visionary Erik ten Hag, eras aren’t supposed to last forever. And in a way, a factor – albeit small – in contributing to Manchester United’s two-decade-long stint at the top of English football was a case of right place, right time.

United were the best team, with the best manager and – a lot of – the best players when the Premier League started to take off in the early to mid-1990s. As the TV money from across the globe began filtering into the Premier League, it was United who benefitted the most. 

However, there’s an expiry date on this type of success. Something Manchester United are experiencing now. To put it bluntly, United, and everything about them, are mediocre: the players, the manager, the backroom staff, the facilities, and of course, the results. 

Yet, can anyone say they deserve to be any higher in the table? If anything, given United currently boast a minus-three goal difference and have dropped points in over half of their league matches this season, they ought to be further down the table. 

This is Manchester United we’re talking about… and they’re exactly where they should be. Manchester United’s demise can also act as a warning for City, both the club and the supporters. 

Make no mistake, Pep Guardiola has delivered a golden era for City. The success his side has garnered in the last decade or so will never be repeated at City ever again. If they aren’t already, supporters need to cherish every last drop. 

But also for the club. After Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford, the United bigwigs tried to keep things moving in the same direction. It failed, horrifically. Instead, over 10 years on from the start of United’s collapse and it’s clear the key to continued success is the ability to let go of the past. 

One day you’re winning European cups, the next you’re on the end of a battering against Crystal Palace. That’s football. It’s something the Manchester City hierarchy will be well aware of, but still, a stark reminder that eras will inevitably come to an end.