Richard Buxton: Mourinho's gone but problems remain
Manchester United's issues run deeper than any individual can remedy
Maybe Jose Mourinho knew more about Manchester United's problems than they actually did.
A self-serving, if slightly obscure, reference to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, an 18th-century German philosopher, doubled as a summary of everything that was, and still is, wrong within Old Trafford's corridors of power.
"Hegel says: 'The truth is in the whole'," he said in August.
"It's always in the whole that you find the truth."
Mourinho's message was clear: Judge the bigger picture rather than its current focal point.
In response, the Red Devils' official website offered five alternative Hegel quotes that their manager could have instead used, including "a man is nothing but the series of his actions"; words which have fittingly served as the epitaph for his curtailed 2½-year tenure.
But the Special One's original choice of phrase from the German philosopher still bears repeating. So, too, does his pointed analogy that a football team needs to be like a house.
United's foundations continue to crumble while their current landlords remain hell-bent on buying the latest set of designer furniture.
Deposing of Mourinho did not simply eradicate those ongoing issues. He was not the problem but a mere faction in the grander scheme.
Misdirection has been symptomatic of the post-Alex Ferguson decline.
Rather than addressing the root causes, the Old Trafford hierarchy prefers to preoccupy themselves with shiny things.
Star-gazing continues to take precedence over a return to the basic, yet successful principles.
Bigger does not necessarily equate to better, be it in names or inflated price tags.
Continually throwing good money after bad issues appears to have redefined what the "United way" stands for.
Paying off Mourinho's contract, which was originally set to expire in 2020, barely 11 months after it had been signed continued the pattern of gross financial mismanagement.
They also chose to part ways with Louis van Gaal a full year ahead of schedule.
That David Moyes' original six-year deal still has a further five months to run adds another layer of farce.
Attempts to navel-gaze into nostalgia, similarly, have failed.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment as caretaker triggers echoes of Ryan Giggs' spell after Moyes' sacking and is little more than a stroll down memory lane before reality again bites.
United's house of cards was built on a two-man dream ticket.
In Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill, they possessed the knowledge and expertise to not only conquer English football but also remain at its pinnacle; withstanding both re-emerging forces and new money.
It is no coincidence that the empire the pair successfully cultivated has disintegrated into wreck and ruin since their respective departures over five years ago.
Neither is the fact that such a managed decline of the 20-time English champions has taken place under the watch of their absentee owners, the Glazer family.
Ferguson's behind-the-scenes legacy has also been decimated amid the current wreckage, with the talent factory that produced the iconic "Class of 92" now a shadow of its former self.
Their Under-23 side were relegated to the second tier of the EPL's developmental league at the end of last season while Old Trafford itself appears as tired and dated as the club that calls it home.
Expansion plans for the iconic stadium remain on hold since its last renovation in 2006.
United's problems run far deeper than anything a new signing, manager or even director of football could remedy. It is a club now broken beyond recognition, and potentially repair.