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64. How Would the Dude Treat Man Utd Manager Erik Ten Hag?

Updated: Jun 28

Okay, this is a football rant but it affects us all, dudes...

Erik Ten Hag (ETH) is [at the time of writing] the current manager of Manchester United Football Club. I've been a fan of United since George Best played there.

A Short Synopsis of the Current Shit Show at United

ETH arrived in 2022 with a mixed bag of talented players, a system imposed by a previous manager, and he over-achieved. He got the team to finish higher in the league than expected and won a trophy. Okay, game on.

2023/24 season was very different. We finished 8th in the league, and were easily knocked out of the European Champions League but we won the FA Cup against Manchester City. City won the Premier League, and according to United has lost 710 days this season due to injuries compared to 445 of City. Chelsea lost 730.

Now the fuck up here is... Chelsea sacked their manager, and United are debating whether or not to sack ETH. Unless the manager is directly responsible for players getting injured and being ill, sacking seems a bit of a tense, anxious thing to do.

Is Sir Jim a Squarehead?

Before the FA Cup final some of the lesser UK newspapers were writing that the decision had already been made to sack ETH, who has a year left on his contract, and was quoted as stating that he expects (and wants) to stay, and the club promised to build a team around him.

ETH has a lot of respect from seasoned managers across Europe. He is the eighth different manager to take the reigns of the club since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. EIGHT in ELEVEN years.

And Sir Jim Ratcliffe (SJR) once a local boy and now CEO of INEOS a global petrochemical company has bought around 27% of shares from the Glazers and has taken on the direction of all football club matters. The Glazers who since their controversial takeover of united in 2005 have bled the club dry and left it in a much worse financial position - and yes, this has slowly affected performance. The club hasn't been improved for over twenty years and is showing signs of wear.

Note - SJR/INEOS also own the French football team Nice. This "conflict of interest" could become problematic for future European championships as teams owned by the same owner cannot be in the same league competition (because of fixing results I guess).

And the bottom line is... despite some moments of poor, unimaginative play this season since some of our better players have returned we have looked far more dynamic. Some players (I'm thinking Marcus Rashford particularly) have struggled to adjust to ETH's playing method, but it is coming together.

Yet still, SJR has failed to show support for ETH. He has been interviewing other managers, half of whom have pulled out of talks, and he has failed to make a decision. You can imagine the rumours in the press.

Now, I've got all that out of the way (and I think ETH should be given another year to organise his team how he wishes to play), we need to bring it back to the Dude.

What would the Dude do?

The Dude is a man [or woman] of the highest integrity. The Dude follows a Way that isn't mankind's usual way. It comes from a deep centre of stillness where the sounds of the ego are drowned out by peaceful silence.

The Dude would know what is right, and would not come from a place of fear.

The Dude would not act from a place of resistance. And he or she would naturally work through honour.

If SJR is a Dude, he would announce to the media and the fans that ETH's future cannot be determined through one mixed season. He would confirm that despite winning the FA cup, Manchester United has not performed as hoped BUT this cannot be blamed on any one person.

He would point out how the club is in need of improvements [SJR has done this and is investing in a yet-to-be-revealed plan]. He would remind people of the fact that the changing of managers eight times in eleven years has harmed the club and created much instability. He would state that he believes ETH is the right person to bring solidity to United and that recent games have shown a marked improvement in performance. 45 injuries to 22 players must be considered. A manager who plays a team where none of his alpha players are available cannot be expected to perform at his best. And this has happened in key games.

The Dude would show understanding. This wisdom is the wisdom inside everyone. When a person hears it, they understand it. Not everyone hears though!

This affects us all, dudes.

I've seen it throughout my life... people making decisions based on fear and anxiety, worrying about the future in an excessive way that clouds their judgment. I'm not saying to ignore the future but too often it is used as an excuse to enforce something that really has little to do with it.

I have seen too many uncaring boards of directors making ruthless decisions about people's lives. Sure, there are times when being ruthless is needed but only if it comes from a place of compassion, not just for the business [or club] but also for its people.

There's too much noise, too many expectations, and too much overachieving. It dooms us to fail. And what of success? Who says what that is and what it looks like?

Is success busting your nuts to have a big house, shiny cars and plastic smiles? Is success the dude who's taking it easy, writing 69 cent checks, and loafing around in bathing robes without having a job?

I've worked every day of my life for forty years. What do I have to show for it, for all those hours? Not a lot dudes. Not a lot. Sure, I own a little house and that's great. But I can't afford to repair it. I have an eight-year-old Fiat Panda 4 x 4 that I own. And I don't have debt. But life's still a squeeze.

If you cannot find the Eternal Peace of your True "self" then don't resist how life is right now. Then you will find some peace. But it cannot be forced non-resistance for that is resistance! And it cannot be the "self" non-resisting. You'll know one way or another by looking at what is pulling the strings, what is yanking at the leash. Is there an individual you that benefits at the core of it?

So, I recognise that frustration is present. When I see the chimney needs refurbishing but I don't have 15k to do it, then yes, life, do what you will. Let the fucker fall down if you ain't supplying the flow that could repair it. The opportunity for flow to come is there. As it doesn't (at least in the way "I" think) then it will do it another way. Or it won't.

Either way, I'm okay with it. What will be will be. I'm not busting my nuts worrying over it.

So, back to football, we will see. What will SJR's decision be? Has he left it too late? Has ETH taken offense at this, or is it all squared between them and only the fans and media aren't having this communicated? If so, why?


The phone's ringing, dudes.

Rev. Thomo

Update: SJR did keep ETH as manager following up on his earlier statements about the many problems of the club not being due to the manager. So, that's good. Now support the women's team, Jim!


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