The jury may be out on whether David Moyes has what it takes to lead Manchester United into a glorious future. However, after Saturday, we certainly cannot question the man’s mental strength. In the face of his first real public adversity from a section of the club’s fans, he came out fighting and, you know what, he won.
He clearly made a conscious decision to meet his public on Saturday afternoon, briefly before the ridiculous plane stunt was about to take place.
Let’s make no bones about it: that was a massive risk from Moyes, it could have been personality suicide. It would have been easy for him to hide behind the cheers offered by the Old Trafford crowd for the team’s arrival on the pitch and to become lost in the fanfare of the beginning of another Premier League fixture. In all honesty, I don’t think anyone could really have blamed him, had that been his chosen entrance.
But that is not befitting of a Manchester United manager.
There was almost an arrogance to the man’s arrival pitch-side. Regardless of the mental turmoil that this job may be causing him, he showed on Saturday that he was in no way prepared to hide from the potential criticism that may have been coming his way at extremely close quarters. Pressure? What pressure?
You know what? I loved it.
For the first time in his tenure, Moyes showed that he truly felt he belonged there. Everything so far has suggested otherwise: his sheepish press conferences, the ‘we’ll give it a go’ mentality, the utterly lost look that befalls him as soon as we fall behind in a match. This was different. This was a new Moyes.
Of course, the argument could be made that he has had a lot of time to think about what he was going to do. He has probably had a quiet word in his ear about what he should do. But I don’t think anyone could have foreseen his ultimate decision, it was brave, courageous and full marks to him.
What was also important was the fan’s reaction. I’m not so sure that many of them in the ground were expecting to see the manager out on the field that quickly. So, on that, we have to assume that the reaction offered was genuine, natural. They applauded. I doubt David Moyes will be getting carried away for it was hardly a party, but it was acceptance. This is our manager and we respect him.
It even led to the fans reaction to the plane’s arrival. Let me just let you all know my thoughts on that stunt. Embarrassing. The only time a plane carrying a banner over Old Trafford is acceptable is when it’s proclaiming United as champions again. So to hear the fans at the ground on Saturday boo the plane and sing David Moyes’ name was fantastic. It may have even saved our credibility as fans, which was in danger because of this minority. Manchester United’s fans this season have been a class act.
Plenty of question marks still surround Moyes. I, myself, have previously stated that I don’t think he’s the man for the job and I do believe that it will ultimately catch up with him, but he has almost turned the tide slightly today. You get the sense that the fans WANT him to succeed, even if they maybe don’t think he will. After his act of defiance today, I think I may also fall into that bracket.
The team’s reaction was pleasing too. I’m not going to get carried away with it because it was a 4-1 that could have easily been a 2-2 but it was three points well needed. It was clear to see the team’s unity. They celebrated as a team. The relief was visible after Juan Mata put the game to bed. The pain and embarrassment that members of the squad have spoken about in recent weeks really appears genuine.
The players are hurting and are probably worried about their own personal futures too. I stated in my previous post that all Tuesday (0-3 loss against City) proved was that we are miles off the pace. Well, Saturday proved that, although the team is not currently what it once was, the club is most certainly as strong as ever.
We will not be broken. ‘Plane’ and simple.