In 46 years of following United as man and boy, and despite the golden luxuriant era of success enjoyed under Sir Alex Ferguson, there’s still a pessimistic it’ll all go wrong red devil on my shoulder.
That red devil has been perched there ever since I was a kid and watched Everton demolish United 2-0 at Old Trafford under the floodlights at our first home game under Wilf McGuinness in that 69/70 season. We were lucky it wasn’t 4-0. The next home game I witnessed Southampton tear us apart as Ron Davies (who’d later join United in a swap deal for George Graham when we were in division 2) headed 4 goals past us and signalled to Bill Foulkes, our legendary Centre half that his time was up. Yes it was an era of, this isn’t quiiite good enough, yet Wilf managed to get United to two cup semi-finals, but the only player he was able to sign was a past it former Scottish international centre half – Ian Ure – Sir Matt Busby’s choice I believe.
Since then every new manager at Man United has been given money to spend in his first season , and United whether owned by the Glazers oyr a PLC or the Edwards were always a bit tight. Frank O’Farrell came in and made one of the best buys ever for United ‘ Martin Buchan’ – he was better than Bobby Moore – really . He also splashed the cash on tricky Notts Forest winger Ian Storey Moore £200,000 , top dollar back then , and went out and bought for a similar fee Ted MacDougal and then veteran Welsh Striker Wyn Davies from Man City for £60,000 ( a sale that cost City the title that year).
When Docherty came in he had money to buy Lou Macari for 200,000 quid, Alex Forsyth, a full back from Partick Thistle for £100,000, Gerry Daley from Bohemians for £22,000, Big Jim Holton from Shrewsbury town, not massive cash, but Docherty got some and more in division 2 with Stuart Pearson 200,000 quid from Hull, Steve Coppell a snip at 40,000 from Tranmere.
When dave Sexton came he was given 350,000 to buy Joe Jordan, and more money, £495,000 for a centre half Gordon McQueen, 100,000 Mickey Thomas for an unbelievable £300,000 9 we were done ha ha) and of course £800,000 for Ray Wilkins.
Big Ron came and the purse strings were opened again, Bryan Robson, Frank Stapleton, Remi Moses, Jesper Olsen, Gordon Strachan.
What I’m saying is the negativity about Moyes not landing anyone so far has to be banished, United have learned historically that every new manager needs a marquee signing and even in the days when money was scarce, we’d look down the back of the couch and scrape up enough to buy someone good. So it might not be Fabregas or Ronaldo or Bale, but I’m sure that a decent signing will be made.
After all it’s not always the ones you expect to be a star who end up as stars at United – who wasn’t a bit disappointed at selling Beckham for 20 million and buying Ronaldo for 12.5 million when at the time Ronaldinho went to Barcelona for 19 million, who didn’t think, hmm that’s second best when we forked out 12.75 million for Dwight York when we all thought we’d be buying Patrick Kluivert – yet Yorke ended up being player of the season for me as we won that historic treble in true glorious style and Barcelona who’d pipped us to Kluivert went out to United and Bayern in the group stages.
Moyes is here, and he’ll be given the money to spend and I’ve a feeling he’ll spend it well – so let’s not be too pessimistic, this is the most excited I’ve felt about a new season for years.