David Moyes has gone and with him, hopefully, so have the dire, turgid football United have served up for the last nine months, the defeatism which seemed to permeate the club from top to bottom and the catastrophically bad press conferences which made Moyes look like a rabbit caught in the headlight.
Numbers alone aren’t enough to paint the whole picture of this beleaguered first post-Fergie season, though they do a pretty good job.
Under Moyes, United have ensured they’ll miss out on Champions League football for the first time since 1995 and they’re in danger of being excluded from European football altogether for the first time since the 1981-82 season.
Everton have completed their first league double over United since 1970, while we have lost all of our four meetings against Merseyside clubs for the first time in history.
City have put seven past United this season, Chelsea three, Spurs and Liverpool four, while Newcastle and West Bromwich have recorded a first ever win at Old Trafford since 1972 and 1978 respectively.
Now, at long last, the club has finally woken up from their utopia that hiring a Scottish manager would be enough to reproduce the glory we enjoyed under Fergie.
It isn’t, it wasn’t and it probably never will be. Longevity is obtained and ensured through – almost – constant success, not vice-versa.The romantic notion that the manager chosen by Fergie would step up to the plate when given the choice didn’t even last the whole summer, before Moyes began digging his own grave with surgical precision.
The farce of the transfer window was exacerbated by his desire to subject his squad to a dramatic overhaul, one much more drastic than it was required, and by his refusal to admit
It’s only a personal opinion, of course, but Moyes has always struck me as the sort of man who gets picked for a job too big for him, though one he knows he can’t realistically decline, for it represents the chance of a lifetime, even though he himself knows he’ll never be up to the task.
Moyes never spoken or acted like a United manager and, truth be told, he never seemed to grow into the role like the many – myself included – who defended him even during the first heavy defeats of his United career had hoped.
Moyes leaves the club with his reputation in tatters and being sacked it’s probably the best thing that could have happened to him, at least if he harbours hopes of getting another gig later in his career, for had he been allowed to go on he would single-handedly destroyed his career.
He’s obviously a decent man, but decent isn’t good enough for a club like United – or for any top club, for that matter – and while he’ll always be remembered as the man who blew the chance to replace Fergie, he’d well at plenty of mid-table clubs.
If Moyes leaves United having wrecked both his and the club’s reputation, the United board doesn’t come out of this mess in much better shape. After years of hiding behind Sir Alex, the Glazers and their cronies have been exposed for what they are: clueless puppet masters whose football knowledge is barely north of zero.
Moyes was Sir Alex’s recommendation and Fergie should shoulder some responsibility, but any businessmen worth their name would have carried out a selection process, rather than handing over the reins of their most prized asset to a man who had won nothing in a decade.
It’s symptomatic of their tenure at the club that the Glazers only started to smell the coffee, once Moyes’ catastrophes on the pitch began to reflect uncomfortably on the United brand.
Who cares about losing matches and this football lark, what we really need is a manager good enough to keep the team competitive and thus appealing to South American crisp producers or tyre factories from Laos.
The players must take a long, hard look at themselves too, for while Moyes might not have been the ideal conductor for this orchestra, playing for Manchester United should always be a privilege, particularly when cheques worth hundreds of thousand of pounds each are regularly deposited in their bank accounts each week.
Leaking stories to the press and complain about the team selection on Twitter are embarrassing behaviours, the sort of thing the new manager could frankly do without and whoever will replace Moyes would do well to shift some deadwood out.
The fans, or at least the overwhelming majority of it – that is those who don’t hire planes in the hope of forcing the manager to resign, nor those who are so up their own backsides to pretend of speaking on behalf of the supporters, via crass banners in the ground – are the only ones to come out of this beleaguered season with some credit. Even those who didn’t want Moyes generally stuck by him and most defended him until his position became untenable.
A plaster can’t stop a haemorrhage, however hard it might try (if you’ll pardon the Moyesesque pun) and David Moyes had been his own worse enemy since being appointed manager last July. Ultimately, when it comes to ensuring success, Manchester United are like a lot of other football clubs: they must take drastic, and at times unpopular, action.
It’s the only way forward. David Moyes, quite simply, had to go.
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