Man Utd’s final home game of season to be played amid backdrop of furious protests in huge contrast to first match


MANCHESTER UNITED will play out their final home game to a backdrop of apathy and dissatisfaction that nobody could have been predicted just nine months ago.

What a contrast in mood there was on September 11.

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Man Utd will end their final home game to a backdrop of fan protests and apathyCredit: Alamy

Cristiano Ronaldo had returned and the atmosphere was amazing, as good as Old Trafford has witnessed.

The chants then from the Tollgate pub and on Sir Matt Busby Way were of ‘Viva Ronaldo’.

Now they are ones of protest against the owning Glazer family and United’s general malaise.

The plan being put forward for Monday’s game against Brentford by one fan group is for everyone to leave with 17 minutes to go, marking the 17 years the Glazers have been in charge.

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Yet how different it all was on that September day when Ronaldo scored twice and United beat Newcastle 4-1 in their fourth game of the season.

They had already opened up with a 5-1 hammering of Leeds, an away draw at Southampton and a win at Wolves.

Victory at West Ham would follow in their next league game and there was a real belief that a title challenge was on the cards. How quickly things can unravel.

Within two months they had been humiliated 5-0 and 2-0 at home to Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.

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On November 20, they were beaten 4-1 by a Watford team now heading back to the Championship and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was gone.

Of all the managerial exits since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, this one hurt everyone involved at the club.

Solskjaer will always be a legend at Old Trafford as well as being one of football’s good guys.

And as he said himself, he had got close to putting this club back where it needed to be.

It is incredible to think that last season this team finished second in the league and reached the Europa League final. That was before the arrival of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Ronaldo.

They are now heading for their lowest-ever points total in the Premier League, which currently stands at 64 from the 2013-14 season.

A NEW LOW

They must win their final three games just to equal that.

But not even Monday’s visitors, Brentford, are a given for three points at Old Trafford any more.

The fact that a point at home to Chelsea last week was seen as a minor triumph tells you everything about where the club is at.

The only chink of light in what seems like a very dark tunnel for United fans is that a new manager is arriving in the form of Erik ten Hag.

And a rebuild will not include the likes of out-of-contract Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Edinson Cavani and Nemanja Matic.

Do not expect any emotional farewells for any of them tomorrow.
Interim boss Ralf Rangnick also bows out from Old Trafford.

The best thing that has come out of his tenure has been the telling of a few home truths about the state of the club and what now needs to be done.

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He will help with that in an advisory role while also being manager of Austria.

Apparently, the team plan to do a lap of appreciation after the game. They might want to rethink that by full time.





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