It seems a long time since Manchester United dominated English football.
Under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, they won 13 Premier League titles in 20 years whilst pushing their rivals all the way in the other seven seasons.
But, since the retirement of the Scot following the 2012/13 campaign, United haven’t won a major trophy but, more importantly, haven’t come close to winning their 21st top-flight title.
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In the first season after the Ferguson era, David Moyes didn’t last the entire campaign as United finished seventh, 22 points adrift of rivals Manchester City.
Although Louis van Gaal achieved a top-four finish in his debut season the following year, they were still 17 points away from champions Chelsea and this term they find themselves the same amount of points away from Leicester but have little chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
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The club have spent more than £300 million in transfers in the previous three seasons but the trophy cabinet hasn’t been added to - other than the Community Shield won by Moyes.
Although Van Gaal’s side have had a fairly underwhelming domestic campaign, they are in next week’s FA Cup final where they face Crystal Palace at Wembley.
The Dutch manager has also given regular first-team football to a number of youngsters, including Marcus Rashford, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Jesse Lingard.
But executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward had admitted that his club are going to find it difficult to get back to the top of English football with the mega-rich owners at Chelsea and Manchester City.
“I have to say it has become more competitive. It became more competitive when Chelsea had a change of ownership 13 years ago, it obviously got more competitive when Manchester City changed ownership about five years ago,” he said, per The Mirror.
But Woodward did hail the club for utilising their academy, which has seen the largest crop of quality youngsters progress since the Class of ’92.
“Over the past six seasons we're the highest Premier League producer of Academy players who are now playing in one of the top four leagues in Europe,” he said.
“Also, we have won three out of the last four Under-21 Premier League titles, including this year's, a particularly impressive achievement given many of our Under-21 players have also been called into our first-team, making them unavailable for that side.
“We are continuing a long Manchester United tradition of bringing through our own talent and, following a fundamental review of the Academy, we announced the appointment of Nicky Butt as Head of the Academy.”
Whether it will be Van Gaal in charge of the club or Jose Mourinho remains to be seen. Either way, Woodward will be hoping that the club can be back challenging for the Premier League crown soon enough.
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