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Manchester United have been turned upside down

Manchester United are going through the club's most difficult days of the modern era, further fuelled by the bonanza at the city's other team, the domestically successful Manchester City.

No club among the big boys has been in more turmoil than the Red Devils, who have been subject to a civil war with a section of the fans since the Glazers bought the club 17 years ago.

The first part of those nearly two decades was tempered by results, by the inertia of good work and the muscle provided by dazzling players like Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Four league titles were won in five years and one Champions League. United were a fearsome team in Europe under Sir Alex Ferguson, whose ascension to the boardroom as a director has not yielded the returns he did as a manager.

The current crisis cannot be blamed solely on the social fracture with the fans, but it has a lot to do with it.

United have a special bond with its people, who always understood that the club was their property, even if it never was.

Even the flotation on the stock market in 1991 did not change their mindset. The fans did not show great enthusiasm for buying shares.

Their disdain for that opportunity is commensurate with their historical suspicion of the tycoons' inciting commercialisation of the club.

They tried to block Rupert Murdoch first and, after the arrival of the Glazers, who gave the club some 500 million pounds of debt, this has turned into daily protests.

"I love the team, I hate the club," was a recurring phrase. Fans don't look at the bottom line; they listen to the echo from the trophy room.

The climax was reached when in May 2021 when they invaded the pitch protesting the creation of the Super League as well as the ownership in general.

All the sporting decisions taken have been questionable. David Moyes, Ferguson's recommended manager, had a poor spell. Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal were signed with their best days behind them.

The list of players recruited does not reflect a rebuilding strategy. Not even the return of Ronaldo, which sounded more like an attempt to prevent City from signing him than anything else, had a good effect.

The latest has been to sign Lisandro Martinez, a 1.75m centre-back, for a Premier League which, among the big leagues, has the most clearances (356.5 per team) per season.

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