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.