Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Boring, boring Man Utd! Nice crisis throws up major Ratcliffe concern

Sir Dave Brailsford, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Man Utd, 2023/24

New Manchester United owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been sent a stark message that running a successful football club relies more than just on-field success.

This is evident from Ratcliffe’s experience in Nice, who went into the weekend lying fifth in the Ligue 1 table but have been a team devoid of excitement.

Ineos, led by Ratcliffe and his key right-hand man at Man Utd, Sir Dave Brailsford, have built a team competitive in Ligue 1 but that has failed to capture the imagination of fans.

This was reflected in a dreadful attendance for the club’s Friday night fixture against Montpellier, in which the Allianz Riviera was sparsely populated.

The ultras that were there held up a banner: “Not another year without Europe. Move yourselves!”

Nice played Montpellier in front of a poor crowd, despite riding high in the league
© TNT Sport – Nice played Montpellier in front of a poor crowd, despite riding high in the league

One of the major reasons for the disconnect between the fans and the players has been a complete lack of excitement in the team’s football.

Prior to the weekend’s match, Nice had scored only 23 goals in 24 games, one of the lowest totals in the league. Indeed, their matches were averaging under two goals per game and have been, by and large, utterly forgettable affairs.

Khephren Thuram's Nice have been a hard watch this season
© IMAGO – Khephren Thuram’s Nice have been a hard watch this season

Warning for Man Utd

While this does not automatically mean that Manchester United will be equally painful to watch once Ratcliffe and Brailsford get their hands on the team, it should send fans a warning signal that the pair’s arrival at Old Trafford will not magically solve their issues.

Of course, the prospect of the Theatre of Dreams not being sold out is also a slim one given the comparative size of United’s support, but that does not guarantee the fans will be entertained. Indeed, Old Trafford’s nickname could become all too literal if the formula in the south of France is replicated.

With a comparatively sizeable budget for Ligue 1, Ratcliffe and Brailsford have built a Nice side that is neither particularly strong nor remotely entertaining. It is not an intoxicating mix for Man Utd fans.

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