Whilst, of course, the majority vote of the poll conducted by Manchester Evening News blamed new manager David Moyes for the Premier League champions dismal performance this season, surprisingly more fans blame the legendary former manager than they do the current team.
The 72-year-old Scot retired at the end of last season after taking United to their 20th league title win in sensational style yet 22.77% of United supporters perceive the manager who held the reigns for 26 years at Old Trafford as the ‘culprit’ behind the team’s disastrous display this term.
52.55% of the fans who voted believe the man who replaced him, his compatriot David Moyes, is behind the downfall of the team but, astonishingly, only 15.82% of supporters blamed the players.
In context, the fans are logically correct – the team that were crowned champions last season are almost unchanged in terms of personnel apart from two ‘big’ signings in the form of club record transfer Juan Mata and midfielder Marouane Fellaini. How can the players who won the title so early last season be to blame when the only thing that has changed is the leader, their coach?
Then again, how can Ferguson be to blame for that? He left the club in what he obviously considered safe hands – its not as if he left the club fighting for Premier League survival, bankrupt and up Dawson’s Creek without a paddle, is it?
He left Moyes with a team of deserved champions and, for all he knew, winners. How was he supposed to know just months later they would suddenly find themselves completely devoid of talent, belief, spirit, hunger, form, confidence and Champions League football?
On the other hand, hold the phones, all of the above deficiencies seem to coincide with Ferguson’s departure-slash-Moyes’ arrival which, again logically, would suggest it’s probably Moyes’ fault more than anyone’s, as the poll pointedly suggests.
But surely the players are also responsible for themselves, even if only as individuals with pride – confidence, motivation, belief, and hunger are all both the jurisdiction of a manager who needs to bring the best out of his players but it’s a bit like blaming a parent solely for a child’s poor grades in school; there has to be some self-determination there too right?
If just 15.82% of fans blame the players and there are eleven players on the pitch at any given moment, that means (hypothetically) each player deserves 1.43% of the total blame which means, for example and for arguments’ sake, Sir Alex Ferguson sitting in the stands on Sunday watching them lose to Liverpool is 15.9 times more responsible for United’s position this season than Tom Cleverley or Robin van Persie or [insert underperforming Manchester United player here].
Perhaps United fans blame him simply for leaving? Or maybe those 22.77% of 'fans' polled still think Sir Alex Ferguson is the manager of Manchester United?
That would certainly explain it - in fact, if that is the case, the figures make a lot more sense: the poll basically stated 75.32% of Manchester United fans blame [a] Manchester United manager.