Why I changed my mind on Moyes

When Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager of Manchester United, fans of the club worldwide were filled first with disbelief for it happened so suddenly and once that had settled in – with morbid fear. Fear because deep down we knew that Man United weren’t the greatest team in England on basis of the team composition – nowhere as good as Chelsea or Manchester City. We knew that a large part of Man United’s success was directly attributable to Sir Alex’s genius. Naturally parallels were drawn with Busby and visions of the aftermath of Sir Matt Busby’s retirement came thick and fast – a period of turbulence and almost no success – even relegation! 

When Sir Alex hand picked David Moyes the United fans were divided. Some said the club was making the same mistakes as they did after Busby – others said Sir Alex has chosen him and he has credentials of performing within constraints with Everton (and there are constraints at United)

I was in the second group – saying that he has done well with Everton – a club that once considered itself lucky to finish in the top 15 and is now a club that is knocking on the door of Champions league football consistently. Plus we need longevity, not someone who will come here and leave for greener pastures in a few years.

Man United predictably did not too well. I and most fans had expected this – there is a transition period. I didn’t really expect United to win the league but certainly expected a fight and gradual change for the better. I expected that Moyes would use his footballing talent and his decade+ experience and move to the next level. At this stage of the season, United will probably not even finish 7th. We all expected a drop – but not this big. At some level, it is not even the drop that is worrying – it is the complete lack of idea around what to do about it. United have a good keeper in De Gea, good defenders in Vidic, Rio, Smalling, Rafael (not world class, but certainly significantly above average), some great players in the middle of the park including the peerless Ryan Giggs and of course the fantastic pairing of Rooney and Van Persie up front – certainly not a side that should finish outside the top 4 with any manager leading them.

He has the team, he has the support of the management, he has the money to throw – but still there are no results. This is the big difference between Moyes and Ferguson – when some argue that even Ferguson was given time, I come back with but Ferguson produced results as soon as he was appointed. Last place to 11th place in half a season meant that Ferguson deserved that chance. Moyes does not deserve the chance because he has made United into another Everton – dreadfully predictable 7th place side.

Which is what has pushed me to change my mind about Moyes. I am all for giving him a chance – but he seems to not be learning at all from his mistakes. And my biggest worry is that Moyes is pulling United down because he is not running the club as one would a title contender – he is running it like one would a club which is happy to just make the Europa league. 

So I was wrong – Moyes needs to go. I agree with the overall strategy of longevity, but the man chosen for the job was not the right one. 

Hopefully United get in someone like Simeone or Klopp or Blanc who are young and have many years ahead of them in their managerial careers. Most of all, I hope United’s leadership understand that managers like Ferguson don’t come by every day – you may need to go through 3-4 managers before you really find the right person.

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5 Responses to Why I changed my mind on Moyes

  1. ramanand says:

    (My comment is from the point of view of someone (still) trying to understand why a person supports a particular side and from the pov of someone trying to get out of the maya (not moyes!) of investing emotions into some other entity that I don’t really know personally)

    since all of you MU fans have only supported the team because of what it was during the AF era, how does it affect your support? Do you feel tempted to give it up, to pick another side, or to support the most AF-like manager? What kind of team would you ask a young Gadre to follow if he started watching this year – go by the results, the management, the players? or are people, like Seinfeld, says, only supporting the uniforms, because everything else keeps changing? I also ask because unlike teams like Barca or Celtics, there is no reflection of local identity in these teams any more, which would otherwise be somewhat of a constant (however hypocritical teams like Barca may be about being non-commercial etc.). So what is that North Pole of support, which can be taken as a steady source of orientation?

    (sorry if this sounds too strange/incoherent a comment)

    • Aditya says:

      I started supporting the team because of what it was back in 2001-02 and thereafter have seen it change drastically. Thing is now that i support the club – I cannot move away as support that changes is not real support. (Also why I still support the Czech Republic in International football). For me, the decision to support the club was not instantaneous – there was no flash of lighting or lightbulb when I first saw them play. I followed a lot of teams for the season and the style of play of United appealed to me over a period of time. As I started following and supporting over the years – 12 years IS a looooong time – I find it unthinkable to shift to another team just because of lack of results (which is when your team needs the support the most)

      I guess it either happens to you, or not. As Anand says “(If you don’t know already) You won’t understand” is probably the best answer for all your questions. 🙂

      As for what I’d ask a young un to follow – not the results, management or the players to be honest. I’d say watch football for a while and decide which team you identify with / like to watch playing.

  2. Salil B says:

    This reminds me of some Congress worker I was watching on TV the other day. “My family has been loyal to the Congress since the days of the freedom struggle. I was also in NSUI in my college days,” he was saying. So how much ever the times have changed, people have changed, one sticks around because one doesn’t want to be seen as a turncoat. I guess that’s also how loyalty towards any sports team also works, right?

    “My organization needs me” is what the self-important supporters/fans tell themselves even if the organization bosses don’t give two hoots for what they think and will do as they please. But more than the fans/supporters it is the sponsors/funding agencies which the org needs more. Money will keep flowing in as long as there are votes or T-shirts/merchandise to be bought. ‘Loyal supporters’ can at the most do shout slogans, write blogposts or argue with rivals on Twitter. In bad times they will hope for better times and the self-deceptive among them will continue living in a fool’s paradise about the greatness of their entity they are supporting. In good times they will, of course, sing songs of glory! 😉

    • Aditya says:

      Political affiliation is a good analogy – it is equally distant from the individual and on many occasions, support is equally irrational. 🙂

      Don’t agree with the corporate business tone of the term “organization bosses” – the organization does need sponsors and funding but the amount of funding or sponsorship they get is directly related to how many people legitimately support the club – how many people will actually watch matches and improve TRPs, how many people will buy season tickets regardless of anything etc. As with political parties – sports teams also depend entirely on support for success. So “Loyal Supporters” can do more than just write blogpost / have twitter battles etc – they can directly influence how much money the club makes and thus how it is run – what players they get in etc.

  3. Gurdit says:

    I was skeptical when Moyes was first appointed, but willing to give him time. I actually thought that with the long-term strategy that United have, Moyes would be a good appointment. He’s got the ability to extract performance from his players and everyone says he’s performed admirably on a “shoe-string” budget at Everton. And make no mistake, United, while still in debt, will not have as much spending power as City or Chelsea (although I suspect we will begin to see FFP reining them in over the next couple of seasons).

    When I started thinking Moyes has to go was when I realized that he’s really not up to it. For multiple reasons:

    1. No tactical nous – Moyes has no footballing philosophy except to defend astutely and hit on the counter. This doesn’t work when your opposition is trying to do the same thing. I don’t really care if we continue to play 4-4-2 as long as it’s effective, but “pass it to the wings, run run run and cross” tactic clearly was not working for us. The few games in which he played Mata / Kagawa interchangeably in the centre, the performance was encouraging. However, another drawback seems to be a lack of ability to truly change things while the match is on-going, wrt substitutions or changing tactics during a match to react to the opposition.

    2. Small-club mentality – When you’re managing arguably the biggest club in the world, you can’t talk about conspiratorial fixture lists or be honest and say, “I don’t know what I need to do to get the team to perform.” It’s fine to be a plucky small club that upsets the larger teams every now and then, but as a manager of a big team, you need to exude confidence. Fuck, this entire paragraph reads like I farted it out. My apologies.

    3. Made a player bigger than the club — One of Moyes’ biggest failures is to bow down to Rooney’s ridiculous demands. Effectively, he’s made Rooney larger than the manager and larger than the club. And Rooney is not that good that you’d give him that much power.

    4. For the first time in years, there was talk about dressing room unrest. Fergie was unmatched in the ruthlessness with which he dealt with dissidents.

    Anyway, now he’s out.

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