“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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“War-chest”. A word with which football has become familiar to in the last couple of seasons, and one which has been thrown about by the Manchester United’s hierarchy with the same frequency with which Antonio Valencia misplaces a cross or loses possession.
Sir Alex Ferguson was allegedly given a sizeable budget to spend in his last season, but £24m were enough to secure Robin Van Persie’s services, while David Moyes has seemingly had a “war-chest” since arriving at Old Trafford, with Ed Woodward famously assuring him and us last summer that “United could compete with everybody in the transfer market,” which doesn’t really explain why we ended up signing Marouane Fellaini on deadline day.
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
If ever a moment epitomised United’s season, it came sixty seconds before the final whistle. Having been pinned back in their defensive third for a while, United pinched the chance to counter one last time but Wayne Rooney squandered the initial chance and Michael Carrick did not deem driving forward a worthy option and proceeded to pass the ball backwards. Opportunity gone, philosophy….seemingly GONE.
United, in those last seconds, played for a 0-0 draw as they had done for the previous 92 minutes and, in fairness to David Moyes and his men, it was mission accomplished, the sort of result a seventh-placed team would draw positives from, given it came against one of the favourites for the title.
David Moyes has insisted that he’s the right man for the job at Manchester United, despite the horrendous season the Reds have so far endured and the United manager has warned that it was “always going to take time” to rebuild the team he was left with by Sir Alex Ferguson.
With United now resigned to miss out on the Champions League for the first time in 19 years, next summer’s transfer window could define the club’s medium and long term future, given that United will have to replace the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra as well as – hopefully – signing a midfielder or two.
What a difference (almost) a year makes. 10 months ago United traveled in great spirits to North London having just clinched the league title, as Arsenal, through grinned teeth, welcomed the newly-crowned champions on the pitch with a guard of honour, while United fans reminded Arsenal fans just how good Robin Van Persie really was.
Less than a year on and the guard of honour has almost turned into a walk of shame, with United so catastrophically bad that even the novelty factor deriving from being crap after two decades of success has now worn off, Reds seemingly accepting that the United we all knew has simply evaporated this season.
Roy Keane believes Manchester United’s dismal season is the result of years spent cutting corners in the transfer market and David Moyes will need to bring in “five or six” players in the summer, a revamp that Keano has described as something that should be embraced, by the club’s hierarchy and supporters alike.
United’s woes plunged to a whole new level on Sunday, when United struggled to find the net against bottom of the table Fulham, before netting twice in three minutes only to concede yet another late equaliser, as they did against Southampton and Cardiff earlier in the season.
Michael Carrick has warned United fans that things might have to get worse before they eventually get better at Old Trafford and that this season’s demise is made worse because of how used United were to dominate opponents in England over the last two decades.
Having conceded a late equaliser against Fulham on Sunday, United will almost surely miss out on Champions League football for the first time in 19 years, while even a place in the Europa League seems in danger at the moment, given the dismal record David Moyes’ men have put together since the turn of the year.
David Moyes described his Manchester United side as “diabolical” – even though the right adjective is a lot more damning and a lot less politically correct – after United gifted bottom of the table Fulham a point yesterday, with Darren Bent scoring a late equaliser, after United had turned things around.
Down 1-0 after Steve Sidwell had opened the scoring, United toiled away for another hour, piling up countless crosses in the visitors’ box and wasting a couple of good chances, though they continued to look incredibly pedestrian, even when Robin Van Persie and Michael Carrick scored two late goals that had looked to clinch a win.
The United manager was shocked by his side’s mental frailties and rued the equaliser, which left United nine points adrift of fourth place.