By ‘all’, I mean the fans, players and certainly David Moyes. The air of inevitability surrounding the defeat to Everton at the weekend was a step too far for the hierarchy at the club who have, at long last, pulled the plug on what has been an outright disaster for the Scotsman.
There have been some truly horrendous performances this campaign, but few have been as worrying as Sunday’s showing at Goodison Park. There has, in previous matches, been some sort of evidence that the team were trying to get going, even if it clearly wasn’t ever going to happen.
However, Sunday was a completely different kettle of fish.
The team never got going. They weren’t up for it from the first kick of the ball. They are already in holiday mode and David Moyes was powerless to quell that mentality.
If you were to have sat down with Moyes at the beginning of the season and asked him what his worst case scenario would be for the forthcoming year: finishing seventh, below Everton, and Liverpool winning the league, would have ranked pretty highly.
Absolutely nothing has gone the way of the former manager this campaign and it is difficult not to at least feel a tinge of sympathy for him. Everything that could have gone wrong has done, and it’s ultimately cost him his place in the hot seat.
But he didn’t really help himself did he? On his arrival, understandably, Moyes wanted to make it his Manchester United. Not necessarily to rid the memory of Sir Alex, but to start a new era. However, he took it too much to the extreme by completely clearing out Sir Alex’s staff.
It must be something he now regrets as when the water began to get choppy, there was nobody there that really knew how to steady the ship. There would have been absolutely no shame in David Moyes leaning on the likes of Mike Phelan in those first few months as a tutor in how Manchester United and it’s players work.
I liked the idea of bringing in young coaches, whom maybe didn’t really carry the experience either, but, at the risk of sounding like Alan Hansen, it’s difficult to be successful with youth. No one seemed to have the strength to stand up and say, ‘right, this is what we do.’ It almost resembled the blind leading the blind.
Performances this season have been non-existent, bar a couple of rousing Champions League displays. We have been consistently outclassed by teams in the top half of the table as motivation for the big games seems to have all but burnt out amongst the players.
Long gone are the days that Sir Alex’s presence on the touchline was enough to galvanise the troops without him even saying a word. This season, all we’ve seen is David Moyes sit in his chair and sulk or stand in his technical area and shout to players that quite clearly weren’t paying a blind bit of attention.
This is something I do want to put across to you all also. The players are not blameless in all of this. They clearly never believed that Moyes was the man for the job, which I do find bizarre as he was ‘The Chosen One’ of the man whom they had played for and trusted for years. But player power is at an all-time high, meaning once you lose them, the loss of your job will quickly follow.
All that aside, I’m in no doubt that the decision today was the correct one. The job was too big for Moyes and the collapse of the club’s stature was in danger of becoming irreversible.
I understand some fan’s concerns about the club not having enough patience and ruining the so called ‘tradition’ of ‘sticking by the manager’, (see my article, ‘Are United becoming the new Arsenal?’, for my opinion on that) but the club was in grave danger whilst Moyes was still in charge. There is no shame in admitting that Manchester United got it wrong.
The job now must look a much more attractive one it’s to prospective candidates. The next man to walk into Old Trafford as boss will find a club on it’s knees, but there will be money to spend. They won’t be replacing the most successful Manchester United manager of all time, in fact quite the opposite.
Effectively, the only way is up.