Erik ten Hag was appointed as Manchester United’s new manager on Thursday, but he’s reportedly already clashed with the club hierarchy over plans for his coaching staff
Thursday should have been the dawn of a bright new era for Manchester United after Ajax chief Erik ten Hag was announced as the club’s new manager.
But unfortunately, there are already alarm bells ringing at Old Trafford just hours after the appointment – and unsurprisingly, it’s the suits above Ten Hag who are causing concerns rather than Manchester United’s new man.
It’s a well-known fact that United’s shortcomings extend far beyond the mediocrity that’s been served up on the pitch this season. United are a shambles in the boardroom, and it feels like only the current United hierarchy are inept enough to overshadow the appointment of one of Europe’s brightest coaches as promptly as they have.
Reports emerged shortly after Ten Hag’s appointment revealing that the new Manchester United manager had already been forced to fight off resistance at board level over appointing Steve McClaren as one of his new assistants. Ten Hag assisted McClaren when the former England boss was in charge at FC Twente earlier in his career, and the Dutchman is now keen on bringing his former boss back with him to Old Trafford to help him adapt to the demands of managing a juggernaut like Manchester United.
Some officials at the club reportedly weren’t keen on the idea – even if Ten Hag is expected to be allowed to have the final say. But in reality, the damage has already been done; it’s clear the club’s hierarchy haven’t learned from their previous mistakes.
Ten Hag has already shown he has the winning mentality required to turn Manchester United’s fortunes around after enjoying a trophy-laden four-year stint in Amsterdam. And while he may not boast a resume that can measure up to the likes of Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola, he has the credentials to help resuscitate the ailing club – if he’s allowed to get on with the job. That includes, unsurprisingly, picking his own staff.
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This is a man who has guided Ajax – a team who are admittedly not on the level of Manchester United but remain one of the most iconic teams in Europe – to five trophies in four years, with the possibility of Ten Hag collecting a sixth before he clears the desk he took up in Amsterdam back in December 2017 still plausible. For context, United haven’t won a single trophy during that period.
Manchester United have been crying out for a coach of Ten Hag’s ilk who can inspire and motivate a beleaguered squad of under-achieving players. On paper, they now have that man. They’ve already done the hard job; backing Ten Hag should be the easy part.
The Ajax chief may represent the start of a bright new chapter at Old Trafford, but unless the entourage of suits above him smarten up, then it will be the same old story for Manchester United in the coming years; regardless of how good Ten Hag actually is.