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    • #17847
      Yomi
      Keymaster
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      Topics: 2423
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      Manchester United have reportedly taken the decision to cancel their end-of-season awards dinner as their troubled 2023-24 campaign comes to a close.

      After the doomed reigns of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, the Red Devils appeared to have turned a corner upon the appointment of Erik ten Hag as their new head coach.

      The erstwhile Ajax boss masterminded an EFL Cup triumph in his first season at the club, ending a trophy drought that was about to stretch to six years, and finishing third in the Premier League to secure a Champions League return.

      However, the Dutchman is believed to be fighting an uphill battle to keep his job owing to an underwhelming 2023-24 season, in which the Red Devils were eliminated from the Champions League at the first hurdle.

      Man United also ceded their EFL Cup crown to Liverpool and suffered their 14th Premier League defeat of the campaign in a 1-0 loss to Arsenal on Sunday, leaving them outside the European spots in eighth position.

      Man United ‘want no distractions before FA Cup final’
      The Red Devils could still qualify for the Europa League by beating Manchester City in this year’s FA Cup final, scheduled for May 25, otherwise there will be no continental football at the club for 2024-25.

      Two final Premier League fixtures against Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion are first up on May 15 and 19 respectively, and the club were set to hold their awards dinner the day after the latter game.

      However, The Athletic reports that Man United have decided to do away with the ceremony this year, and the call has been made by the under-fire Ten Hag and the football leadership team.

      The upcoming FA Cup final is believed to be the biggest factor in the decision to cancel the dinner, as the club want to ensure that their players are not dealing with any outside distractions before the trip to Wembley.

      Members of the first team bestowed with awards will still collect their prizes, just not at the traditional ceremony, which was also not held in the 2021-22 season after Rangnick’s ill-fated tenure came to a close.

      While Man United are now keen to avoid unwanted distractions, the prolonged takeover uncertainty was a major one for over a year before Sir Jim Ratcliffe acquired a minority stake in the club in December.

      The INEOS founder – who has since assumed full control of footballing operations – has still not given Ten Hag a public vote of confidence in the five months that he has been at the club, viewed by some as an ominous sign.

      The Dutchman still has one more season on his contract and is expecting to fulfil it, claiming before the Arsenal defeat that he expected the owners to exercise “common sense” in their decision-making.

      However, recent reports have now claimed that Ten Hag will indeed be given the boot at the end of the season, and several high-profile names have been tipped to succeed him; Bayern Munich’s departing manager Thomas Tuchel is said to be the current favourite.

      England boss Gareth Southgate and ex-Germany head coach Hansi Flick have also been linked with the Red Devils, who have two full days to recover from Sunday’s unsuccessful exploits before hosting Newcastle on Wednesday.

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