Feb 14

Moyes removal on United agenda?

Tag: Manchester United,Opinion Piece @ 8:00 am

SAF War Cry“It’s your time to back the new manager” was the infamous war-cry of then departing Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

Six months on and the words are still thrust upon any disillusioned United fan who dares to publicly question or blame Moyes for United’s current situation. The words are becoming tiring but in hindsight seem oh-so-wise from the man who took United to (and beyond) places they never dreamt they’d go. Did he see this coming?

But, as we sit here today, 15pts behind the league-leaders and 11pts off a Champions League play-off spot, questions must surely be being asked at the highest levels of the club about David Moyes’ continued employment?

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David Moyes was a man many were unhappy to see appointed as Sir Alex’s successor back in July but, with that war-cry ringing in the ears of every supporter in the land, Moyes was rightly given a chance to show why the man who’d won everything with United placed so much faith and trust in him despite his lack of proven credentials to succeed at a club like Manchester United in today’s footballing climate.

Fans of a certain age will remember the barren times and remember them with great fondness despite a lack of relative success. Fans of a much younger age will doubtless know nothing other than United being at the top of the tree and feel an almost divine right to win every game and consider United’s current fall from grace; unacceptable; while others in between could be forgiven being neither one nor the other.

Sack Fergie BannerFootball has changed since those early Fergson years when he was so bravely backed by the club while all around them were calling for his head.

Back then there WAS a need to fix a broken system that had failed and declined for almost twenty years since the departure of a man who brought United their first European Cup but, far more importantly, a man who instilled an ethos to ‘develop from within’ while producing adventurous, attacking football for fans to be proud of and rivals to be fearful, yet respectful of.

The success and improvement of youth development of the 50’s and 60’s had stalled during the 70’s and 80’s as a string of unsuccessful managers came-and-went without paying due attention to the fundamental characteristics of Manchester United.

Sir Alex, just as visionary as Sir Matt, quickly realised the potential of his surroundings and proceeded to utilise them to their fullest, in doing so, privately winning the trust and faith of an under pressure board who, let’s not shy away from this fact, had not been frightened to sack a manager for a run of poor results or act on behalf of an increasingly disenchanted and vocal Stretford End calling for a head.

Despite poor results and zero trophies, the necessary time Sir Alex required was still granted until, albeit on the brink, his relentless and tireless work off the pitch began to pay dividends on it thanks to a somewhat ‘fortunate at times’ FA Cup run which led all the way to glory at Wembley.

From that night forward the rest is, as they say, history; and United achieved something very few clubs have ever achieved in any country in any era which is ‘stability AND constant success’.

So what’s different this time? Why shouldn’t United back their man and give him time regardless of results? Why shouldn’t they sit tight and wait for proof their decision to offer Moyes a whopping SIX year contract was the correct one?

Well, because this time around the signs required to judge his performance DO NOT lie behind the scenes where fans can be forgiven for not realising, they lie sprawled out solely in front of the eyes of every fan in either Old Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier LeagueTrafford, Manchester, London or even San Marino.

Results have been poor but that’s not even the issue. The plan has been non-existent, that is the issue. What is the plan? Did David Moyes honestly believe his remit was to come in and change Manchester United’s philosophy from ‘ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK’ to ‘let’s err on the side of caution’?

Yes Sir Alex left an ageing squad with a need for reinforcements. Yes he’d neglected rightback, leftback and centre midfield for too long. Yes the squad could be better but let’s get this straight….this isn’t about results.

There are many singular reasons why Moyes could have a questioning finger pointed at him, we all have them and anyone claiming not to be wondering if he’s the right man for the job or claiming to be 100% behind him are either mad, deluded or both. Not even Sir Alex Ferguson could convince me he still has complete faith in the man he made ‘The Chosen One’. Therefore, DO NOT be naive enough to believe The Glazers are not questioning their appointment despite the lengthy contract.

The purchase of Fellaini raised eyebrows. His ability, his price, the timing of his arrival…..all questioned.

The summer as a whole….questioned.

Replacing the coaching staff….questioned.

Player selections….questioned.

Results….questioned.

Performances….questioned.

Tactics….questioned.

His training methods….questioned.

His interview skills….questioned.

Nobody could convince me they don’t have their doubts or have, at some point since July 1st, been baffled or worried by at least one of the above or one of the many other available questions that could be asked.

I was amongst the fans wanting to ‘give him time’ and I believed a fall from grace was inevitable but acceptable as long as the football was being played the right way. I don’t believe United have a right to win everything and I’m old enough to understand football works in cycles but, having given the manager my full backing and the chance to show me I’m right to trust him, I no longer have the faith and would like to see the back of him before he does any more damage than he’s already done.

I mean, just out of interest, why would you drop your best performing player of the season in favour of your most valuable ever purchase rather than play them together. Why then would you rotate them (sub/sub) during a match yet persist with a woefully out-of-form, one-legged, one-trick pony who doesn’t know how to follow his runners let alone beat a man THEN proceed to admit in your post match interview that you hoped Januzaj would “give us a spark”!? Why do you need a spark to defend a 0-0? Do you not think adding that spark to your existing sparks would be a good idea if you really wanted to win a game?

Business generally inserts some form of probationary period upon hiring a new employee; somewhere between 1 month & 6 months. Why? Because that’s long enough to affirm (or otherwise) their decision to hire said employee. Football is no different, it’s personal and, if you’re a lover of football, you should trust YOUR instinct NOT someone else’s. So if it’s long enough in business, it’s long enough for you/me to make our minds up on how David Moyes has performed and how he may continue to perform in the future. Too many people (who are merely regurgitating Sir Alex’s war-cry) are criticising fans who feel they’ve seen enough and decided Moyes IS NOT the right man for the job. “Give him time” “It’s only been 6 months” they cry. NO, six months is enough for me to believe Moyes does not have the relevant skills to succeed at United, not now, not ever.

The point of all this is The Glazers HAVE to be getting twitchy with the current situation and in my view WILL be considering their options privately. Wether they choose to stick or twist is up to them, but please, it’s naive to believe otherwise.

There will be those who said from the beginning ‘he’s not good enough’ who will no doubt cry ‘I told you so’ but I’m happy to admit I had my reservations on his appointment but chose to give him time safe in the knowledge I could deal with a potential dip in success. But his recent performance in-front of the camera and on-the-pitch have simply worried me and turned me against the man.

I can still deal with the dip in form, results, trophies and European action, but the lack of a tactical plan coupled with the an outrageous encouragement of negative football plus the contempt he displays towards anyone who’s concerned about the current situation is arrogant, disrespectful and unacceptable. I simply cannot see what Moyes is trying to achieve ON-THE-PITCH.

Take Brendan Rodgers for example. He took over at Liverpool and instantly their football changed. They began to play HIS football and it showed. It took a bit of time but it’s fair to say it’s paid off and it was obvious from the beginning.

Pellegrini the same at City, Pulis at Palace and Pochettino at Southampton. All had a plan. Moyes? Has no plan and it shows.

Answer me this. How much rotation did Moyes employ at Everton? Not much, he had a fairly settled eleven and when all fit he always had a ‘best eleven’. It took him 10yrs to get to that point with that squad. Why would you then go to another club where you know next to nothing about the squad and begin to rotate them in a mirror image of the previous manager? Centre halves at right back, forwards on wings, central midfielders altered week-in, week-out. Why would you do that unless you were bereft of the confidence to do your own thing and felt intimidated to become a clone of Sir Alex?

How bad can United and those Glazers let the situation get before they begin to get twitchy?

Unless we win the Champions League there’s no way we’ll be in that next season. We’re provisionally booked into a hugely profitable pre-season tournament which begins on the 31st July BUT, if the club ends up in The Europa League they can kiss goodbye to pre-season as EL qualifying will take its place. If we were then [say] to unthinkably get beat by a minnow and fail to qualify, questions would inevitably be asked and, at that point, the season would be just weeks away with the club therefore hesitant to sack the manager, again. Where would that leave the club if they didn’t sack him at that point and the second season then went as badly as this first one has? How much damage could be done both ON AND OFF the field in that time? At the current rate it could be hugely damaging. It’s for that reason I believe that ‘in the corridors of power’ The Glazers (amongst others) will right now be having some very serious conversations about the future.

They took a gamble on Moyes and his lengthy contract, it’s now time to play the Futures Market and calculate another risk.

For the sake a few million quid (which is only what’s being wiped off the clubs value – daily – anyway) I reckon it’s time they cut their losses, ask Sir Alex to work til the summer then get someone proven to know what he’s doing. Someone with the balls to be their own man. They don’t have to win everything, just someone with a philosophy befitting Manchester United.

Moyes might prove me wrong in the long run, but for now, I just don’t see it.

@Red_Rants

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Tags: Manchester United · Opinion Piece