Last for some time
up” while “asking supporters to be patient . . . at a time when the expectation levels are still enormous”.
Just as Alan Hansen retired shortly before Souness took charge at Anfield, Paul Scholes had hung up his boots before Moyes started and what Souness experienced with the likes of Peter Beardsley, Steve McMahon, Ray Houghton, Bruce Grobbelaar and Ronnie Whelan, Moyes went through with Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs.
Wilf McGuinness, who took over from Busby, and his successor, Frank O’Farrell, will doubtless have encountered similar stresses as they sought to manage the beginning of the break-up of United’s beloved 1968 European Cup-winning side.
“Every successful club has a void — a period when things don’t go so well — but United would not accept this,” O’Farrell said, sounding remarkably like Van Gaal did when he told the Old Trafford faithful they should lower their expectations.
Mourinho, whose optimism at Old Trafford seems to have gradually eroded, has been hinting at as much himself. Are United, as Van Gaal suggested, simply “too big” to face an interminable wait for their next championship?
Perhaps, but Liverpool probably felt that way once, too.
‘Every club has a void, a period when things don’t go so well’