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Edwin van der Sar the key to making Manchester United great once again

When I was young and saw Manchester United play in the years they used to challenge for titles, one player whose role was underestimated was Edwin van der Sar.

At the time, he was at the backend of his career and I never really noticed his importance until I saw David de Gea struggle in his first few months to life at Old Trafford.

I don’t think United would’ve won any of their trophies in the 2000s period if it wasn’t for Edwin van der Sar. He was simply sensational and oozed class.

I loved him, like a lot of United fans. During his time at the club, the Dutchman won four Premier League titles, two League Cups, one Champions League and one Club World Cup in only six years – a monumental achievement for any player.

Van der Sar eventually retired in 2011 after Manchester United secured their 19th League title and it’s safe to say that it took time to adjust to him not being in net for us.

No wonder the great 2008 team were so special. Think about that triangle of Van der Sar, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. Could you have asked for a better three to defend your goal? I don’t think so.

Anyways, since he’s left the club, a lot has changed. United have only won one league title and that was under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.

So, it’s been over eight years since United last won the Premier League and if they’re not careful, it could stretch further than that.

People point to a lot of reasons why United haven’t won the title since Ferguson. Has it been the choice of managers? Is it due to the hangover of the Ferguson years? To be honest, you’d have to point your fingers at Ed Woodward and the Manchester United board.

Now, I’m not going to single out and completely criticise some of the failures the United board have been through over the last few years, but there have been mistakes and consequently, some of the standards at the club have dropped.

Need an example? Well, let’s take this season. United were meant to be challenging for the title after the summer additions of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Instead, the club have been dragged into a top-four race and although a lot of people are blaming this on the manager and his coaching staff, ultimately, it’s those above him who make the decisions at the football club.

What has Van der Sar been doing in his time away from United? Well, since 2012, he’s been involved on the directory side of things at his former club, Ajax, and took on a role as their Marketing Director on 19 November 2012. Since then though, He was promoted in late 2016 to the role of CEO.

Is he good at his job? You bet he is!

He and Marc Overmars have transformed the fortunes of the club. Although they weren’t in a bad state, it feels like they’ve taken the team from Amsterdam to another level, bringing in coach Erik ten Hag, as well as developing some outstanding players, including Frenkie de Jong, Mattijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech.

Together, they’ve won many Eredivisie titles and even got to the Champions League semi-final in 2019, whilst spending next to nothing.

It’s a great credit to him that he’s managed to achieve this on a small budget, putting faith in youth.

On what is his 51st birthday today, Van der Sar is a symbol of success. Imagine what he could do at United if he was CEO at the club. He’d take us back to greatness. I would love it.

If the Glazers want to show United supporters they’ve changed, they’d make Van der Sar the new CEO once Ed Woodward leaves.

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