Thread: David Moyes
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Old 11th February 2014, 06:32   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Houston Texas
Posts: 1,537
Default David Moyes

This piece was written for the Red News edition which came out this weekend ... it was written just after the Chelsea game.

David Moyes
For the past 23 years, under probably the greatest football manager in Britain’s long football history, Manchester United have enjoyed unqualified success – probably success that will never ever be repeated by a club again. It is remarkable when you look at the trophy haul during that period – 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cup wins, 4 League Cup wins, 2 European Champions League wins, 1 European cup Winners Cup win, I European Super Cup and 2 World Club Championships… and you could also throw in 11 Charity Shield/Community Shield wins. It is a staggering achievement by one manager. So the question is, how do you follow a manager with a record like that? Who would feel that they are big enough to fill his shoes? Whoever it was, was always going to be in the firing line, and whoever it was, was going to need a hell of a lot of courage, a good temperament, a fair amount of good luck, but also a thick skin, because whoever you are, managing Manchester United, especially today, is a bigger job than at any other football club in the world; and that includes Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and even Juventus or either of the Milan clubs.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure from Old Trafford surprised a lot of people – although there had been whisperings that it was going to happen over 12 months before. Personally, I am not convinced at all that he planned to go when he did. My own theory is that he had a long think about things once he knew that David Gill was retiring. He was losing his biggest ally, and that surely would have had an effect upon him? Just days before the formal announcement of his retirement on Tuesday 7 May, he made a statement in the United match programme against Chelsea, that retirement was the last thing on his mind, and that he would be at Old Trafford for a good few years to come. The programme notes were written in the week preceding the Chelsea game… they were so emphatic. So what happened in between the time in which they were written, and the following week, is known only to the Club and Sir Alex. Anything else is just conjecture.

Immediately after the retirement announcement was made, David Moyes was rapidly named as Sir Alex’s replacement. It is said that he was Ferguson’s choice. It took some balls from the younger Scotsman to agree to take the job on. Lots of names had been bandied about – Mourihno, Guardiola, Ancelotti, Hiddink, and a good few others. But were any of them available? We’ll never know. But let’s not write Moyes down. Irrespective of him never having won anything at Everton, he’d done a remarkable job during his eleven years tenure at Goodison. With little resource, he made the club punch above their weight and gave it a good solid foundation. People at the moment are pointing out just how well Roberto Martinez is doing this season – but they are really no better off than they were last season and very much in the same position as they were under Moyes at this same stage.

It does not matter who had taken over at Old Trafford, they would have faced a baptism of fire and would have found it very difficult to have hit the ground running. There was been problems brimming beneath the surface, problems that had been papered over for almost five years, especially since Roy Keane was fired. That Ferguson was able to achieve what he did with a squad that seemed to get weaker each year, was a testament to his character, determination, sheer doggedness, and his ability to get the last ounce from his team. But the cracks had been there, and many United fans had been aware of it for the duration of that period. So what was David Moyes left with and what challenges did he face?

He was left with a team that had more than a few short comings – especially in midfield. He took over days before the club took off on a long and tiring tour to Australia and the Far East – there was no proper pre-season as such. He had international players returning who were not fit, and he had a demanding fixture list in the early part of the season. Plus he had a completely stupid CEO who opened his big mouth and really did cock up the summer transfer window/business, royally.

Since then it has been a rough ride. He has taken a lot of stick about making too many changes behind the scenes. However it emerged that Muelensteen was offered the Assistant Manager’s job and chose to turn it down. In my eyes it would have never have worked anyway. Rene has an ego as wide as the Atlantic and it’s my guess that there would have been suspicion and conflict between the two men. There can only ever be one Boss and he has to trust the people around him. He kept on Warren Joyce as the Reserve team coach, a guy who has done magnificently over the years. He’s kept Paul McGuinness in charge of the Academy. Whoever had taken over would have made changes – and lots of them, and been laid open to criticism.

The start hasn’t gone too well and nobody can dispute that. We would all have loved for it to have gone better. But some of the stuff flying about over the last few months has been ridiculous. When you are building a football club – and that’s what he is doing – it’s a process that is always ongoing. It’s a journey that never ever finishes. The everyday daily job is about winning, losing, learning and getting by. Manchester United are not paying Moyes to panic. Remember that United have had more than enough stuttering starts before. Don’t forget that between the end of the 2002/2003 season, and up until the end of the 2006-2007 season, United’s only trophy haul in that period was a solitary FA Cup win and against Millwall. But it’s my opinion that people were distracted by the Coolmore mafia and Glazer take-over in the latter years of that period, and it papered over any criticism of the team.

It’s been bandied about not only by the media, but by a lot of our own fans that we should be buying this player, we should be buying that player. If we had believed the media, over the past seven months we would have signed around 30 different players! Team building is a patient thing and is always a work in progress. There are many constraints to it and it is as much about who you cannot sign as who you can. It’s okay identifying players, but the questions are; are they available and if so, how much will they improve what we have already? Will they, or do they want to come to Old Trafford? Is the fee agreeable? Will the owners release the necessary funds needed? It’s a huge conundrum, and one which ordinary fans in the street don’t fully understand.

The ABU press and electronic media has been gorging on United’s disappointing start. They are willing United to fall from grace, and they will stoke the fires of misery as much as they can. We all know of and about the expectations at Old Trafford more than any journalist or commentator. This is where Moyes has to have a thick skin. The flak comes from all over. So both he and the players have to batten down the hatches.

It’s always big news when United lose, so he should disregard the media. What’s the point in reading the crap that is written or listening to commentators, and player pundits who if they had any balls, would be managing a club instead of taking the easy money from so called punditry and having all the answers available from miles away sat in a comfortable media studio? There is no need for Moyes to torture himself. He has to be in control of that part and work things out for himself. It’s never nice to read and listen to criticism being fired at you from all angles but there is nothing that he can specifically do about that aspect of things. What he and his staff have to do is intensify their focus and concentration on the players, and get them to believe in themselves and to become more consistent in their performances. Silly lapses of concentration by individual players has cost the team dearly this year, and last Sunday against Chelsea was a prime example.

The game has changed so much since 1992 – it is a far different animal today than it was back in its inception year. The whole ball game has changed. Millions of pounds coming in especially from television, owners who want everything now, and the pressure on managers (not only at United) is colossal. Time and patience are things of the past and managers get very little time to build teams these days. The press and media use far more personal criticism today, and some of it is totally unpalatable, written by hacks who have never played the game or managed at any decent level, but who think that they have all the right answers.

Managers have always come under fire, especially when their teams are losing. However because it is Manchester United, the pressure escalates tenfold. Let’s not forget, that managing United is an enormous job, and until you are on the ‘inside’ people don’t really see it. I am sure that Moyes’s eyes really did open wide when he quickly realized what he had taken on. In that respect he is still finding his feet, and let’s be fair to the man, that was never going to be easy. He has to be allowed the time to develop his own team. He’s only human like the rest of us, but everybody expects him to have the skin of a rhinoceros, but that will never be the case. Everybody responds to encouragement, and managers are no different. However, today football is a results driven industry and nobody is aware of that more than David Moyes. Managers do need results and if a game is lost, it’s a whole week’s work gone up the Swanee.

So far it has been a disappointing season – nobody can deny that. But any club losing the services of two world class players like RVP and Rooney would feel it. But in the cold light of day, apart from the horrible debacle at City where hardly a player turned up, the bad results have come from silly, individual defensive errors, and also by not taking a good percentage of the scoring opportunities which have been created. The bad results have heaped a lot of pressure upon Moyes, Yes he has made mistakes – but even at the height of his career at United… did Fergie not? Some of the criticisms that Moyes has had has been more than a little unfair. Moyes has to ignore all the hullabaloo that’s going on just now. It will take him time to mould the team as he sees it. He can’t be judged on just half a season. His thinking, especially over the next few weeks is to focus on getting everybody back fit. He has to take the poison and venom for now – try and stabilize things a little more, and keep the team in the frame for that CL place.

There is no magic wand to be waved, so he has to build the player’s confidence and try and get them to maintain a consistency in dominating teams and games, particularly at Old Trafford. The last thing he has to do is listen to all the rubbish that his being spouted about him, and then panic. As can be seen from the tremendous backing which he receives from the fans, especially at away games, we are all willing him to succeed. For our part we have got to keep the faith, let him get on with the job, trust and stand behind him, and give him the time and patience needed to get us back on track again.
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