By now the malaise at Old Trafford has deep roots stretching back several years and several managers only equally deep systemic change will put it right
All in all, its been an excellent week for Manchester United. There was progress in the Carabao Cup and the announcement of record revenues of 627.1m. What more could anybody want?
Excellent, that is, as long as you dont worry about details such as the limp 2-0 defeat at West Ham last Sunday. Or that the weekend kicked off with United eighth in the Premier League table. Or that a club with a proud cavalier tradition have scored just 18 goals in their last 20 games. Or that the one outfielder of undoubted outstanding quality spent the summer trying to leave. Or that Old Trafford, essentially undeveloped in more than two decades, has an entirely appropriate air of shabbiness. Or that this is, relative to the rest of the league, the worst Manchester United squad in at least 30 years. Or that the share price has fallen 36% since its peak at the end of August last year.
It is that last detail that might prompt the most concern in the United boardroom. Revenues may be at record levels but last week United announced a fourth-quarter loss of 22.2m. Failure to qualify for the Champions League this season will make that hard to recover, particularly if United do not finish in the top four again this season.