The forgotten Kidd on the block, vital in both camps, Manchester United and Manchester City

Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guaridola, Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini all are seen as great managers, but to be great you need some assistance, and few have been better in that role than Brian Kidd.

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Eric Harrison got most of the credit for the class of 92, and full credit to him. Sir Alex has been given the praise for how he nursed forward the likes of Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, but few have talked about Brian Kidd’s importance, back in those early PL winning days at Manchester United.

To neglect the fact that Brian Kidd was alongside Sir Alex Ferguson as his assistant manager at Manchester United from 1991 to 1997 is like telling a lie, and before that being in charge of youth development at Old Trafford, going as far back 1988.

Brian Kidd was, to the dislike of Sir Alex, tempted to become Mr. 1 at Blackburn Rovers, and jumped at the chance to be the main man at Ewood Park. A club at the time seen as a title chaser, but in decline, needed to get back to their winning ways with Kidd seen as the ideal man, but he didn’t last long getting the sack a year later.

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Kidd then had spells as an assistant and coach at several places, being seen assisting people like David O’Leary at Leeds United, Sven Göran Eriksson for England and Harry Redknapp with Portsmouth, he also had a brief spell at Bramall Lane with Sheffield United before moving to Manchester City in 2009.

He started to work with the youth players at Manchester City as he had done at Manchester United almost 20 years earlier, moving up the ladder and seen as part of the management team when the first Premier League trophy was won with Roberto Mancini in charge.

Brian Kidd has been the real “continuity” at Etihad while managers have travelled, he has been the one “bridging” it all together. Kidd was on the block during the years of Manuel Pellegrini  and brought on with Pep Guardiola, said to given more importance in the build up to that first title winning season under Pep, after the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss had struggled in his first season in charge.

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So far Brian Kidd’s role at Manchester City has seen him lifting four Premier League titles, and of course several EFL Cup wins and FA Cup trophies being part of his collection. His three years at Leeds United faulted with a semi-final in the Champions League, so he has been close of that trophy earlier as well.

The fact that he had left Manchester United when they lifted the Champions League trophies and missing out on that title while at Leeds United, makes it probably a big goal to still be part of the plans at Man City when they this season will make a serious attempt to bring that Champions League trophy to Etihad and fulfill an amazing collection of trophies, though having an European Cup winners medal from his playing days at Manchester United can of course be of comfort.

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Brian Kidd had a respectable career as a player, scoring goals on demand for Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton in the top flight of English football. He also had a spell in the NASL with Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Atlanta Chiefs, being seen as one of that leagues best players during his days “over the pond”.

He scored a goal in that “iconic” 1968 European Cup final v. Benfica, actually happening on his 19th birthday, seen as a real “Busby Babe” born i Manchester and being there alongside Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law, actually being Law’s replacement in the final as the great Scot missed out.

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Brian Kidd made the full circle when he returned to Manchester United and building that great bridge between the era of Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson being vital for both men in his player and assistant manager role.

Going more than 50 years back in time and in all those years being involved in the game getting his ideas through to some of the greatest managers in the modern game is quite unique. The amazing paths of Brian Kidd is not be faulted and might or should be given more credit as some of the greatest managers in English football made their success with Kidd as their assistant, so all in all you can say that it was all up to that Englishman to give the advice that won them all those titles.

The most fascinating in this story is the fact that he has been coaching and playing for Manchester United, Manchester City and England, and that he in a sense has made the English coaching story a bit brighter as most experts describes those foreign managers as influential, but as they have come and gone, Brian Kidd has been around, at least that is the case at Manchester City.

Did they ever prepare for life without Sir Alex Ferguson, looking back on his last season in charge

Sir Alex managed in a strange way to get the results needed to be the manager that no one could touch, and in his last season at the helm Man Utd stayed top of the league from November until the final day of the season.

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Despite losing on three occasions at Old Trafford and two times away, no one complained. The season was a real disaster in the Champions League losing to Real Madrid as early as in the round of 16, but winning the group stages might have been enough to convince the fans.

Manchester United had to see defeats against Chelsea both in the EFL Cup and the FA Cup at an early stage, and in a way being helped by the fact that they didn’t have much disturbance going into the finals of the league and push for the one title that counts the most.

Manchester United have two titles in the Champions League from before, and to win it again would always be bonus, but in all not really important if you are out of the race in the Premier League. Sir Alex never faulted the Premier League, he either won it or ended runners-up in his final years.

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You need to be in the Premier League title race to be a manager at Manchester United, if not you are “finished”. That is the “song” written on the wall. To see Man Utd on top in the rivalry with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, could also be enough, of course not dropping down to a 7th place as was the case for David Moyes.

Sir Alex had in his winning season a total of 50 players involved, with of 25 them appearing in Premier League action. Strangely only three players played more than 30 games, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick and Robin Van Persie. To win the league with so much rotation should not be possible, but it happened. Sir Alex even switched goalkeepers seeing understudy Anders Lindegaard playing 10 games while the first choice David De Gea had the gloves in 28. To see so many players involved in that achievement was just phenomenal.

Manchester United were also far of in the race for the title, winning on 89 points, 11 points in front of runners-up neighbor Manchester City. To see Liverpool down at 7th, 28 points behind, Chelsea ending 3rd and Arsenal 4th was of course total satisfaction for the fans, looking at it all as total domination.

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The way David Moyes went about and changed “too much”, “too fast” showed how his staff made in real Manchester United into Everton, ending 22 points behind Manchester City in the next season, and in one season all those fantastic years under Sir Alex had gone into a massive “dipper” and turned the club into a Premier League fiasco.

So how could that happen over night, how could a new manager not have a plan in his drawer that would enhance the work of Sir Alex, and just continue on a path that was drawn up, but as we all could see, David Moyes turned Manchester United into a farce in no time.

It’s not easy to copy big managers and no one has really managed to do so, some managers, such as Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Manuel Pellegrini did it themselves, and their own errors became the reason for them being sacked at the places they had earlier made great success.

They all made the mistake of ignoring Premier League activity so much that they found themselves in great trouble, that same thing happened to Brendan Rodgers while in charge of Liverpool. You cannot neglect the most important competition at no time if you would like to survive as a manager at those top clubs, then you are “finished”.

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If you look back in time, you have never seen much of success from people coming in at clubs after a legendary manager. In the 60’s and 70’s you had a great group of of them. Bill Shankly, Bertie Mee, Bill Nicholson, Sir Alf Ramsey, Don Revie, Sir Matt Busby, Harry Potts, Harry Catterick, Stan Cullis, Lawrie McMenemy, Ron Greenwood and Joe Mercer were all legends and long term in charge of their teams,  and only Liverpool can be said to have managed to keep it running at the same level in two decades after the great Bill Shankly had left, using the method of only recruting managers internally.

So what is the key to all of this, of course not to make too many changes too fast and adding players before you get to know the once you have. When Bob Paisley took over at Liverpool in 1974, he just carried on without making any big changes at all. The clubs strategy for recruitment was the same finding talent in the lower leagues, buy them cheap and galvanize them in the reserves a few years and let them into the first team when ready.

Sir Alex never chopped and changed much, not really in the days before winning the first Premier League trophy either, slotting in new players in a relatively slow tempo, not rocking the boat more than needed. It was never a full turnover or changes just for the change.

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The Manchester United fans do accept a defeat or two, if they have been fed correctly, and given the circus they like for a while, and of course to be entertained is a key factor. No one likes to go home from Old Trafford if the team have not put in the shift they should and at the same time getting what they pay for, to see Man Utd win.

For every manager that turns up at the door at Old Trafford it will become more and more difficult, but to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being the one turning this around, is not a picture you really believe in. Drawing up a list of 250 names, maybe more, you would not find OGS on that list a year ago. To use him as a caretaker, might have been a good idea, but to be fooled to believe that he could go all the way without any proof at all from a past in management, it’s a strange and clown acting strategy.

Manchester United going forward needs to look back at their winning formula, which had a number of key ingredients. A clear identity, a number of players that had great character and also had no other desire than to play for Manchester United, and if they pushed that button, they were sold. A boss that was ruthless and had the lead and final say, and of course the courage to make decisions few or no other would be doing.

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Sir Alex never pushed the “alarm clock” asking for unrealistic funds to buy players without knowing the value of that individual. He also had a vision and thought behind every transfer, and seldom had to buy a player to cover up for bad mistakes in the transfer market.

A problem for Sir Alex in some sense was to find the right goalkeeper, a big struggle in the early days. He managed to make three fantastic goalkeeper signings in Peter Schmeichel, David de Gea and Erwin van der Sar. The seasons before those three and the interim seasons between them became a struggle, with the likes of Les Sealey, Jim Leighton, Massimo Taibi, Marc Bosnich, Tim Howard, Roy Carroll, Fabian Barthez and Chris Turner all being involved.

The goalkeeper problem was a key reason for Sir Alex not winning the league title earlier as this uriaspost never was completely filled before the signing of Peter Schmeichel. Strangely good alternative goalkeepers weren’t found.

While the business of the club is healthier than ever the sporting life looks a bit “thin”, and a club like Manchester United cannot wait on results, that is like waving goodbye to it all as football is “here and now”. At Old Trafford fans should not wait, they should be entertained and see their team win and not find silly excuses if they are not. No fan of Manchester United should accept someone saying they should wait for good results and be patient. It’s like telling kids that this Christmas you will have to wait for presents, as they will not arrive before the next, maybe not then either, maybe sometime in the future there will be presents, but then Christmas isn’t what it should be.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer days at Manchester United looks numbered, despite the opposite said. The way forward is to find a manager that knows how to win trophies, and at the same time acts as he would be a long term alternative for the club.

 

 

 

 

 

Transfer Talk; Manchester United in transition, Tottenham Hotspur changes and Rochdale player in demand

Paul Pogba will try to seek a possible route out of Manchester United as soon as the January transfer window opens. His relationship with the club looks broken, but it is a combinations of fall out’s, with the most serious one being the fans who looks to have lost faith in the French midfielder. A move to Real Madrid looks the most likely and it could again put fuel to a reported move for Gareth Bale the opposite way.

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There also at the moment ongoing talks about him renewing his contract at Manchester United, so we just have to wait and see how this saga ends.

Huddersfield Town, struggling heavily at the bottom of the Championship table is eager to make new additions to their squad with former Leicester City defender Danny Simpson being a close target, with the free agent joining on a deal out the season.

Newcastle are favorites to win the signature of the 16 year old Rochdale defender Luke Matheson. The talented youngster scored the equalizer in the Carabao Cup against Manchester United, they are also said to be looking on.

Jurgen Klopp could if he wins the Premier League with Liverpool be looking for a new challenge somewhere else, but hopefully he will stay for a long period of time, but a cryptic message about Steven Gerrard becoming his successor, might be a signal that a move to warmer climate can be in line.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are under pressure at the moment, with a bad away defeat versus West Ham and an almost catastrophic performance v. Rochdale in the Carabao Cup as his latest results. Mauricio Pochettino and Massimiliano Allegri are both being linked with the manager post, if OGS are on the way out.

Jurgen Klinsmann would be eager to take charge at Tottenham Hotspur if Pochettino leaves the club. The former Spurs forward, who also have been in charge of USA, Germany and Bayern Munich, should absolutely be considered if such a possibility would arise.

Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic and Lyon based Moussa Dembele are both on the radar at Old Trafford. The duo are seen as players who could boost the chances of a push for a top four finish and at the same time get a han on a couple of cup trophies, which of course is possible.

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Leicester City had scouts to watch Marseille lately. Midfielder Morgan Sanson was this summer linked with The Foxes, so they might have been back to look at his progression as they are likely to see James Maddison leave in the summer.

Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali is hot property at the moment. The 19 year old is being watched by the giant clubs of Europe, with Manchester United said to be first in line with a bid for the Italian U.21 international.

Everton manager Marco Silva is the current favorite in the Premier League sackrace, which means that he time at Goodison Park looks close to an end. There are no rumors about a sucessor but of course names will appear, with a certain Jose Mourinho likely to be approached. Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers could also be in the list of candidates together with Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

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Jolen Lopetegui is ready to let Rony Lopez leave for Newcastle who are also keen on Danish forward Yussuf Paulsen. They could also enter the race for Middlesbrough defender Deal Fry. Everton, Wolves, Man City and Tottenham are all in line as this could end in a bidding war.

The unrest of Harry Kane is reported among the tabloids in England. The exit to Colchester United in the Carabao Cup was a massive blow, but of course a number of other things to concentrate on, will probably ease the situation. Real Madrid are at the moment seen as a possible destination if a move would be considered, and Manchester United have earlier been seen as another candidate to land Kane.

Bayer Leverkusen attacking midfielder Kai Havertz is a target for a number of clubs in England, with Chelsea and Arsenal both in line to make fresh bids. If the 20 year old German international will is interested in a move it looks as a possible January move, but it could be that the relatively young player will settle and play on in Bundesliga for the rest of the season.

 

 

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