We have been spoiled; there I said it. As Manchester United fans, we have high expectations of our club and expect silverware every year. After our recent struggles this season, including our pathetic loss to Burnley on Wednesday, we find ourselves typing furiously on Twitter about how this club is in a complete tailspin. I am not saying that we aren’t, because we most certainly are, and this will be our seventh consecutive season without winning the Premier League. But are our expectations setting us up for failure and disappointment?
Let me play (Red) Devil’s advocate and compare title droughts of some of the world’s biggest sports clubs against ours. Side note, I won’t cover LiVARpool because that’s a (Gerrard) slippery slope.
The following teams were selected based on Forbes‘ Most Valuable Sports Teams in 2019, while narrowing our “title drought” window from 2000 to present.
LaLiga title drought: 4 years (’12 to ’16)
Oh what a time to be alive that it must have been for Los Blancos supporters between ’09 and ’18. Wonder why? Well, they can thank United for that because this was the Ronaldo era. The man may have a body of steel, but he also supplied the goods as well in the form of winning four Champions League trophies, two La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey trophies, three Club World Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, and two Supercopa de Espana trophies. Before CR7’s arrival in Madrid, Real was valued at 401 million euros in ’08. By the time he left in ’18, that number skyrocketed to 750.9 million.
But those glory days are long gone. Real may be tied for first on the table with Barca, but we know just as well as any how difficult it is to replace CR7. As for the 19/20 season, you have to imagine that either Real or Barca will be crowned the champions.
LaLiga title drought: 4 years (’00 to ’04)
Oh what a time to be alive it must be(?) for Barca supporters. Sound familiar? It should when you consider that the soccer world has compared CR7 and Messi for the past decade plus.
Like Real, Barca had a stellar front three in the Messi, Suarez, and Neymar trifecta from ’14 to ’17 and this is when we saw constant trophy lifts by Barcelona. Messi alone has won ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles (including two against United), and six Copas del Reys. Barca’s value during this run increased from 577 million euros in ’14 to almost to 674.6 million euros in ’17.
However, Neymar wanted to be the front man at PSG (how’s that going?), Suarez is injured, and Messi can’t do it all anymore. To make matters worse, Barca have been unsuccessful in replacing Neymar with the likes of Dembele, Coutinho, and Griezmann.
Either Barca or Real will surely win La Liga this season, but who else are they really competing with? Athletico? Maybe, but no. There’s a reason why the Premier League is the most popular league in the world.
Unlike Real and Barca, it’s difficult to compare United to a baseball, football, or basketball team, but here we go…
New York Yankees
World Series title drought: 10 years (’09 to ’19)
I’ve been told that my support of United is the same as someone from the U.K. supporting the Yankees. While I understand their reasoning (title count, monetary valuation, global presence, etc.), here are some facts that should lift your spirits:
- Yankees title drought is currently sitting at ten years while we’re currently in a six year drought
- Yankees missed the postseason four times since 2000 and did not advance beyond Divisional Round of the postseason seven times.
- Therefore, the Yankees failed to be one of the top four MLB teams 11 of the past 20 years.
Super Bowl drought: 20 years (’00 to ’20) last SB win was ’96
Imagine the night when the Cowboys win the Super Bowl again. It won’t be as bad as when LiVARpool finally wins the Premier League, but all of your Cowboy fans will remind you they’re “America’s Team.” Us United supporters, as well as pundits, constantly talk about how much money we spend and the inconsistent results produced on the pitch. Imagine being the world’s highest valued sports team and not winning a Super Bowl since ’96.
Maybe Jerry Jones was wrong in keeping Jason Garrett at Head Coach for as long as he did, but on the flip side, we ask for consistency in our Manager. To be fair, Moyes? Wrong choice from the onset. LvG? Dinosaur with biblical and “watching paint dry” boring tactics. Mourinho? He won with a squad that wasn’t his and wore out his welcome. OGS? We’re seeing progress.
New York Knicks
NBA Championship drought: 20 (’00 to ’20) last championship was ’73
What do you want me to say?
- I have been to MSG and it is nice but do not try and scalp tickets there
- Patrick Ewing was one of the best
- Latrell Sprewell is a fashion icon for this gem
Also, the Knick’s owner James Dolan gives the Glazers a run for their money in terms of sheer incompetence, so that’s something.
Yes, times are uneasy right now as a Red Devil supporter. It may seem like forever since we hoisted the Premier League trophy over our heads and it will hurt when we see LiVARpool do it soon. However, things will get better and we will be winning again (especially if #WoodwardOut happens, of course).
The real uncertainty will be how long our drought goes for. With United currently sitting 30 points behind the Scouse bastards, prospects are bleak for a title run anytime soon, especially with the Glazers in charge.
Just remember, if you’re getting down on this team during the season, it could be worse. You could be a Knicks fan!