Manchester United fans had imagined that David Moyes could successfully take the baton and maintain pre-eminence when he joined the club – that didn’t work.
And those who had hoped that the blip would immediately be sorted by Louis van Gaal have had to learn to be more patient. Much more patient.
LvG may still win the title with Manchester United but it’s not a given. Indeed the club had to wade through Jimmy Murphy, Wilf McGuinness, Frank O Farrell, Dave Sexton and Ron Atkinson before they found the true successor to Matt Busby.
So the Manchester United board will need to pick their next man very carefully and there must be a temptation, regardless of all the bad press, to go for that results machine, Jose Mourinho.
Reports today suggest that Manchester United have agreed in principal to make Jose Mourinho their next manager when LvG departs at the end of next season.
Many had hoped that he would take over from Sir Alex but there may have been reservations about his character, with Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton saying in reaction to Mourinho’s eye gauging of Tito Vilanova in La Liga:
“A United manager wouldn’t do that,”
“He pontificates too much for my liking. He’s a good manager, though.”
Having seen Louis van Gaal booed for a defensive style of play at United, The Special One would also have to consider his own tactical style and possibly adapt it to a club which has always prided itself on the beautiful game.
But there remains an intriguing what if here.
What if he were to become Manchester United manager? Is he the only one who could truly reinstate United to the top of the pile?
If the two favourites for Louis’s successor are Ryan Giggs and Mourinho, most hearts would say Ryan.
But the heads would be less sure.
Reds fans: would you like to see Mourinho at Manchester United?