And now, as United fly in to play Olympiakos in the Champions League, former Liverpool player and manager Graeme Souness has left his studs in. Not literally, of course. Those days are behind him.
Now Souness employs his newspaper column in the Sunday Times to have a go at Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney may have signed a new contract, but Souness doubts other top players would join him.
He says: “Players aren’t interested in what clubs won yesterday – it’s what they are going to win tomorrow that they care about. They ask themselves: “Where can I win the Champions League?”
“This season” adds Souness, “United are not even the most attractive side in Manchester.”
While good judges have rightly blamed the owners of the club for not backing David Moyes last summer, the former Liverpool and Scotland hard man points the finger at the players Moyes does have at his disposal.
He says: “I wonder who are United’s strong characters these days. None of the senior players, other than Wayne Rooney, play well enough to growl at others. You can bet the lesser lights at United will be blaming anyone but themselves. This group need a set of mirrors and each should take a long hard look.
“This is not just about David Moyes. It’s about standards slipping in the team who were Premier League champions last year. Right now, Moyes is finding out what he has in the dressing room. He’s having to rebuild a team who are used to winning trophies. He’s at a club where success is demanded.
“The biggest concern is if they don’t get into the Champions League next season. It’s an evil cycle if you don’t.
“Would the best players want to play for a team who are not in the Champions League?
“Manchester City have a better group of players and can outdo United on every aspect other than history and tradition.”
United fans will point to City being all but out of the Champions League already, and will see what Souness has to say as the wind up that it undoubtedly is.
Graeme Souness may have binned his football boots long ago. But, like Roy Keane, he still knows how to hurt the old enemy.