David Moyes is set to be named Manchester United manager as Sir Alex Ferguson retires
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David Moyes has been announced as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Man United, taking on maybe the hardest but also most sought after job in football. His appointment may not inspire all United fans and may baffle others but for me, United have appointed the right man for the job. Many ex-Reds have claimed that both Moyes and Ferguson are ‘cut from the same cloth’, which cannot be said for the quite volatile figure of Jose Mourinho. Is Moyes the man to guide United into this new era under the watchful eye of the new director and ambassador?
There is so much pressure in football today to win and be successful quickly. More often than not clubs are looking for a quick fix and if it goes well then that manager may get a bit more space but knee-jerk reactions are common place. It’s hard to know just how United would react to a sub-standard season as for such a long time that’s not happened. Even in the season’s that United finished second or third under Ferguson there was hope in young players growing up or a domestic cup.
We’re one of the clubs that gets held up as a hallmark of what can happen when a manger is given time to do his own thing but that was a different era. Football clubs weren’t businesses yet and fans didn’t have such public forums to vent on and start campaigns on. This blog often gets comments from what I’d term ‘modern fans’ – only last week there were numerous comments that Fergie doesn’t know what he’s doing and plenty have wanted him to leave. Football fans today can be vociferous and for that reason it’s important that Moyes starts well and is given time to do his own thing at the club before calls for his head invariably start to appear.
So why would I choose him when other managers with bigger reputations and winning CVs could be available?
Despite being the biggest (or one of the biggest) club(s) in the world, there is something small about it. On the inside it’s tight-knit, a big family as many players and staff have alluded to – the world’s best footballer, Ronaldo, could be found making tea for staff there for example. Little changes over time, from the secretaries to the sports science analysts, there is continuity. With that in mind, it felt likely that the club were always going to look to appoint someone for the long-run and at 50, Moyes is a good age to settle down at United for a decent period of time.
A quick fix would have been nice – someone who’s proven and experienced at the very top but say, hypothetically, that Mourinho was to come and get bored after a few successful seasons then the club would once again be faced with the same issue of having to replace someone who’s had success.
Critics will quickly point to the fact that Moyes has won nothing, has a terrible record at the biggest sides and has minimal experience in Europe. Valid points but they’re targets and hoodoos that can only be broken and changed.
Experience in Europe is maybe the most interesting factor in that for me it feels like a very over-hyped criticism. United’s squad is brimming with players who’ve played in multiple Champions League finals and many of the staff have been there with the club too. Mourinho’s success with Porto in the Champions League came off the back of just a couple of group games worth of experience at that level before. Maybe, for fear of failing at that level, Moyes will approach it not more seriously than Ferguson but with more caution. Where Ferguson might have been tempted to rotate or rest players, Moyes may not; where Ferguson had been too preoccupied with the opposition and how they may play, Moyes may focus on what his players can do to them.
That Moyes is something of an underdog only draws me closer to him. United have so often been about turning people into stars – getting the most out of them and turning them into the world famous big name that they are when they leave or retire. In that respect he’s perfect for United – an understated and doubted manager who can only prove people wrong. On the playing side there are countless examples of players who’ve gone through this transition – Carrick, Evans, de Gea, Fletcher and Rafael to name a few. He’ll be in good company.
Comparisons will be made to Ferguson because of where he’s from but it’s true that he is also something of a fiery character. He’s clearly passionate on the touchline and is a frank honest interviewee who never hides from telling the truth. He’ll understand the history of United and the value of the club; like Ferguson he’s placed emphasis on youth at Everton. His record of bringing players through to the Everton first team long-term may not be great but he’s given countless debuts and those who have been good enough have come through the ranks to varying degrees of success.
That faith in youth is part of an underrated skill that Moyes has – he builds and plans. Having been at Everton for a decade he’s not just had one group of players, he’s had a few. As is well documented, as his squads have changed he’s taken Everton from relegation strugglers to European position challengers and domestic cup finalists. His opportunities to win and regularly get into the top four have been slim, not least because Everton simply operate on a budget that’s in another league to the top sides.
United don’t necessarily throw money around like Chelsea or City have done but they have money to spend and Moyes may well be given a nice kitty so he can do his own business and win some fans over. How he handles a larger transfer fund remains to be seen – much in the same way he may take a more attacking approach to his teams, subs and tactics now that he has better players at his disposal.
Many of the various concerns that surround a new manager – long-term vision; faith in youth; transfer policy; tactics – would still exist even if it was someone else who was awarded the job. That Moyes has his head screwed on should be reassuring and rather than look for factors that might make him less of an attractive proposition, we should be excited at seeing what Fergie’s own choice for his successor has in plan this season and the seasons to come.
It might seem a tad perverse but the end of Fergie, Gill and maybe some more of the staff, both playing and non-playing is such a huge moment in our history, something we should embrace. I’ve only ever known success and one manager and although I wish it could be that way forever, change intrigues me. It would be nice to think that in years to come we could reflect and wonder why we ever doubted Moyes.
For some reason I’ve wanted Moyes for a while and thanks to Twitter’s archive I was able to find the first time I started to consider him…
@jamestobias1 i know, i dont know why but i keep being drawn to moyes – could see him doing a long stint, he’s pretty young
— Doron Salomon (@DoronSalomon) April 20, 2010
No surprise to hear Fergie effusive with praise for Moyes earlier. Very keen to reinforce that with patience comes rewards. Next boss?!
— Doron Salomon (@DoronSalomon) February 8, 2013
@deewpd I think I want Moyes
— Doron Salomon (@DoronSalomon) February 8, 2013