It seems that retiring a player's shirt is no longer enough. Now you have to retire their car parking space too. That is the world created by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in what will probably be his most telling contribution as Manchester United manager.
Solskjaer continues to show an unhealthy level of reverence to the club’s past and in particular, old boss Sir Alex Ferguson. Last week he took the current squad to a derelict training ground, then walked them across the Old Trafford pitch pointing and shouting 'there!' at patches where he got a touch of the ball during his fleeting substitute appearances as a player. Now the young Norwegian refuses to park in the gaffer's old spot and it sits empty and unused, with just an unsightly oil patch. Solskjaer refused to be drawn on who left the spot and who should clear it up. Ferguson, who bears an uncanny resemblance to T.V. detective Taggart, retired in 2013.
Solskjaer has now taken to parking in a spot reserved for a youth player. The Spoof understands the unnamed player to be shaken by the move and has made a formal complaint to Human Resources, claiming The Og doesn't rate him and is attempting to force him out of the club. A HR rep suggested the youth could park in Fergie’s old space, seeing as it is currently vacant.
Man Utd chief executive Woodward, known for his innovative approach to problems, has already taken action. In the same way he deals with player recruitment, he will make a grand gesture and throw a mountain of cash at it. Plans for a multi-storey car park are already well under way. The latest monument to the club’s success will be in place by 2021, casting a bigger shadow across the pitch than even Fergie himself.
‘‘It will be the tallest building in the world’’, says Ed. ‘’They’ll have to put one of those blinking red lights on top to warn aircraft. That’s how you know it’s a big one. We’re under real pressure now to get the work done before any more players retire. Ashley Young will probably leave next year. Phil Jones. Yeah, I know. The threat is real.’’
Though experts recognize the building will protect the club against retiring legends for at least five hundred years, they question how Ed Woodward got the plans so quickly. There are rumours that Ed has had them for years, patiently waiting for the right employer to fulfill his ambition. His former boss at accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers confirmed he had to repeatedly tell Ed there was no more room for car parks, and that ‘’he should just make sure the bloody spreadsheets balance.’’
Urban planning experts have waded-in on the issue, worried that city skylines could regress to 1970s level of misery. They said the future now looks bleak, and that ‘’at least 98% of the future will consist of concrete.’’
Critics point out that Manchester already looks like that.
United fans welcome the club’s forward thinking, but are fretting over what will happen in the short term. ‘'It’s all well and good making sure the likes of Fred and Scott McTominay can retire their space in ten, or fifteen years’ time. What's gonna happen when the current players pack up? Matic, Valencia. These are cracking players and at this rate there won't be nowhere to park in Manchester. It's a waste of space.'’
At least now we know where to put statues of club legends.
In a skip.