The 21/22 Premier League season has rarely given Manchester United fans too much reason for optimism.
The Red Devils’ stuttering campaign saw yet another low point on Saturday evening as Ralf Rangnick’s men were brushed aside 4-0 away at Brighton.
United’s capitulation on the south coast ended any lingering ambitions that the 13-time top-flight winners might have had of miraculously qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
In addition, the defeat confirmed that this campaign will go down as United’s worst of the Premier League era.
The club are guaranteed their lowest overall points tally in the league and have also conceded more goals than ever before.
This season won’t be one that is fondly recalled around Old Trafford, to say the least.
Can you name which club these 15 former Manchester United players started their professional careers at?
Amid all the carnage, though, one United fan has decided to look on the bright side, putting together a Twitter thread of reasons why supporters of the club should look positively towards the future.
The 11-point argument put together by @UtdSFX has certainly struck a chord with the club’s fanbase, who swiftly sent it viral.
We’ve taken a look at the thread in full below.
Manchester United: A positive future?
1. Board Reshuffle
This past April, having overseen £1 billion in transfer spending since 2013 without winning the Premier League, United’s controversial executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, left the club.
Woodward’s right-hand man, Matt Judge, quickly followed him out of the door.
Now under the guidance of a new boardroom team, there is a clear belief that the club is in better hands.
“Woodward & Judge are gone. The men who renewed contracts of players such as Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Andreas Pereira to retain asset value’.”
“Hopefully under Richard Arnold, John Murtough and Darren Fletcher, football will become the main focus once again,” writes the thread author.
2. Player Departures
As unpopular as the United board were, many of the clubs players have equally come under fire this season for their underwhelming performances over the course of the last nine months.
A high turnover of squad members is expected this summer, with a considerable amount of well-known names set to depart the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
The author won’t be shedding many tears over their exits, either.
“Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Cavani, Grant and Matic confirmed [to leave]. Martial, Bailly, Jones, Tuanzebe, Pereira, Dalot and others all facing serious questions. Not all will leave, but it’s a chance to properly reset.”
3. A New Manager
Confirmation last month that highly-rated Ajax coach Erik ten Hag had agreed to take over the managerial reigns at Old Trafford in the summer was greeted with massive enthusiasm by United fans around the world.
You’ll find no opposition to his appointment in this thread, with the 52-year-old Dutchman being compared – in terms of potential – to a club legend.
“A new manager, who plays exciting, attacking football, promotes youth, overachieves in Europe and wins titles. He is on an upward trajectory and is arguably our only managerial appointment made since Sir Alex Ferguson you can say that about.”
4. Scouting Changes
It’s no secret that player recruitment at United hasn’t exactly been an overwhelming success for many years. Big money has routinely been spent on signings who have delivered comparatively little.
Ahead of what will be a major shake-up of the club in the summer, two significant figures in United’s scouting department left their roles last month, something that is touted as a big positive for future transfer business.
“Recent departures of Head of Global Scouting Marcel Bout and Chief Scout Jim Lawlor could lead to a major change in how we recruit players. New arrivals upstairs could see us bring in top players before they reach ridiculous valuations.”
5. Player Resurgence
It’s sometimes easy to forget given United’s struggles this season, but the dressing room at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ seems packed full of formerly top-tier talent whose performances have dipped drastically in recent times.
The author cites several examples:
“Form is temporary, class is permanent. A new system could bring the best out of the likes of Bruno [Fernandes], [Jadon]Sancho, [Marcus] Rashford etc, who had been performing at the highest level over the last few seasons. The talent is there, it just needs to be harnessed.”
If Ten Hag can get these once key players firing again, they could be just as valuable as brand new signings.
6. Emerging Youth
Young defensive pair Ethan Laird (at Bournemouth) and James Garner (at Nottingham Forest) have both enjoyed successful spells on loan in the Championship this season.
The author believes that both players have what it takes to develop into quality first-team players for United in the near future – and feels the club’s youth production system is in a strong place.
7. Academy: The Foundation of the Club
“After years of mediocrity, it’s good to see the production line up and running again.”
Although the senior side hasn’t had a sniff of silverware this season, United’s youth team have made it all the way to the FA Youth Cup final, where they will take on Nottingham Forest.
A record-breaking 63,500 tickets have already been sold for the match at Old Trafford on Wednesday, ensuring that United have at least created one piece of positive history this year.
8. The Fans
Results on the pitch this season have not reflected it, but United remain one of the biggest club’s in European football in terms of stature – and have huge support behind them.
That support is backed to inspire a revamped Red Devils squad to glory.
A reasonable – if slightly random – shout.
The Merseyside giants might be chasing an unprecedented quadruple today, but in Jurgen Klopp’s first season in charge at Anfield, the Reds finished only eighth in the Premier League table. If Liverpool can turn things around, the thread author questions why United can’t do the same under Ten Hag.
“Their rebuild shares similarities to our own. After the arrival of a forward thinking European manager, clearing out a poor, bloated squad and sharpening their recruitment, it didn’t take long to make Liverpool challengers again.”
While this season has been the club’s worst in the Premier League history, they’ve come through far harder times during their 144-year existence.
“This club has known tragedy, near financial ruin, relegation, years in the wilderness.. and has come back each and every time. Our time will come again. History says so.”
11. One More Game
As much as United fans have suffered this season, at least they are only 90 minutes (against Crystal Palace) away from being able to consign the campaign to history.
“Undoubtedly the worst season for a generation. Our name has been dragged through the mud. However, after Palace, it is in the rear view mirror, never to be looked at again!”
Haaland to Man City done! (Reaction via The Football Terrace)
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