The Manchester derby is the focus of Episode Three of William Hill’s High Press, including debate over a possible second treble for City and the future of United under the Glazers.
City’s dominance in the Manchester Derby
Alison Bender, Carrie Brown, Miguel Delaney and Roshane Thomas discuss both Manchester clubs, the history of the rivalry, and what the future holds at Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium.
Sir Alex Ferguson and the Glazers
Early in the conversation, Brown remembers a night in 2010 when Alex Ferguson had an all-night phone conversation with the Glazers to get the money for Wayne Rooney’s new contract. Brown recounted how Ferguson had to ‘fight the Glazers for it [Rooney’s new contract] to make sure that happened’.
She continued, “You see this whole transition now, from that poster to where Manchester United are, and how Manchester City have just been able to accelerate under the Glazers’ complete lack of investment.”
Erik ten Hag
Bender cited the number of behind-the-scenes issues as a reason to have sympathy with Erik ten Hag. Delaney responded by noting the uncertainty over ownership before focusing on a long run of unconvincing performances.
Delaney added, “People at Manchester United, they do think that the reason it’s been so underwhelming and why they haven’t been concerned, is because there’s been so many injuries. When he gets something close to his best XI back, that will start to properly turn.”
Citing comments from United players about getting motivation from outside influences, Bender pondered whether that’s something that should come from the manager.
“Isn’t playing for Manchester United supposed to be enough inspiration?”
Brown strongly agreed, and said she was ‘really concerned’, even mentioning their failure to beat Tottenham as a ‘red flag’.
Thomas then delivered what he described as a ‘hot take’.
“I don’t think Erik ten Hag is the right man for Manchester United. I really don’t. When I think about a manager, I think to myself, ‘can they develop players, can they help them reach that next level?’ I haven’t seen that…
“Since United appointed ten Hag from Ajax, they have signed 16 players for over £300 million. Only three you can say have been a success.”
Is Marcus Rashford world-class?
When discussing Marcus Rashford’s club form, Delaney mentioned a lack of ‘consistency of situation’, while Thomas stated he believes the England international is ‘world class’, but wonders whether he has the mindset to be great.
Brown identified comments from England teammates about Rashford, and how so many of his peers want him in the team alongside them.
The Glazer ownership
Turning to off-field issues, the panel discussed the Glazers’ search for investment, and a potential re-evaluation of the football side of the club.
Delaney said, “United can succeed under this ownership, as Ferguson showed. It’s about getting that structure right.”
Is Andre Onana the worst signing of the Premier League season?
The quartet rounded out the episode with a conversation about United’s recruitment (particularly Andre Onana), City’s hopes of a second treble and Erling Haaland’s Ballon d’Or chances.
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