Before Manchester United chiefs decided to bite the bullet and finally, inevitably, hire Jose Mourinho, they tried their luck with David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal.
Despite being Alex Ferguson's first choice, Moyes' tenure was an unmitigated disaster. His defeatist attitude and sad, haunted eyes didn't last long at Old Trafford, and he was replaced by Louis Van Gaal after just one season. The Dutchman didn't do much better, and was ultimately let go after two underwhelming campaigns.
And now, in a candid interview with The Times, Jose Mourinho has opened up about the issues he had to address when he became Manchester United manager, and the negative impact his predecessors had on the team.
"There was no evolution in this club. In all the areas that make a team successful I think we stopped in time," he said.
He added: "When I say 'the club', I say the football team and what surrounds the football team was in trouble, big trouble. Not the club at all. Because the club is much more than results — it's the fanbase. It's the passion around the world, it's the business, it's the commercial, it's the merchandising. And a club like Manchester United as a club can be one, two, three, four, five, ten years without winning.
"Manchester United will always be Manchester United and as a club will never be in trouble. The football team I think clearly there was an evolution in other clubs, and that was quite an empty period in this club with no evolution in areas that are important for the football team.
"And that was the first step to try to bring the football team in the right direction."
And now for live footage of Louis Van Gaal reading he interview: