Will Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography heap more pressure on David Moyes?
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David Moyes appears to have found the adjustment to managing Manchester United difficult at times so far. This is totally understandable and it would appear the majority of match going United fans have his back right now. Each game has shown loud vocal backing and an understanding that the early days will be difficult.
Is Moyes being dealt a fair hand however by others associated with the club?
In particular the man he succeeded – Sir Alex himself?
Taking over after possibly the greatest tenure in World Football let alone English was never going to be a smooth transition and Moyes would have hoped to get his feet under the desk before any major stories developed. The first major story however started before he had even left Everton with the latest chapter of the Rooney Saga. Sir Alex on his final day as boss addressed live TV and advised that Rooney had asked to leave and his head wasn’t right. That’s one hell of a curveball to serve up to the man replacing him.
The whole situation smacked of point scoring to most observers. What benefit did this statement serve to Sir Alex or the club? It was totally out of the blue and put Rooney in a difficult situation with United and the fans. It also created a brutal first few months for Moyes to navigate, his previous with Rooney at Everton and the libel case giving enough evidence for a difficult working relationship. When it then became rumoured that Rooney never asked to leave like Sir Alex claimed (although club never confirmed this) it seemed even more like a point scoring move from the outgoing manager.
The summer became dominated by Rooney and Moyes relationship and what it meant for both. Rooney appeared to be using his agent to spread stories about unhappiness whilst Moyes spent a large amount of time fire fighting a situation not of his own making. A comment taken out of context about needing Rooney if Van Persie was injured escalated things further and it seemed inevitable that Rooney would move on. Full credit must be given to Moyes for keeping Rooney onside and since the end of the transfer window; Rooney has produced good levels of football. Just when the situation looked to have settled down somewhat it seems likely to all come to the boil again in a few weeks time.
On the 27th October, Sir Alex is launching his autobiography ‘My Life’. The number of spats and stories in the book will be large but you can imagine the first one that many football writers will jump on is Rooney.
The Rooney/Ferguson story sells papers and you cannot fault writers for wanting to pick up on it. Is Ferguson though dealing David Moyes another problem all the while filling his own pockets with cash?
I have no problem with Sir Alex releasing his memoirs and personally I am looking forward to what it contains but as we head into the busy Autumn and New Year period, has he thought about the impact on the club?
The focus will be taken off the man in the dugout and team on the pitch, it will become all about Sir Alex and the battles he had whilst manager. The first one we will no doubt hear about is his conflicts with Rooney. This will draw Moyes back into discussing the issue when he had hoped it would be dead for the time being.
Would it have been difficult for Ferguson to wait until the end of the season to do his tour and release the book? At least in that period Moyes could be working behind the scenes on the squad rather than dealing head on with another ‘crisis’ involving Rooney.
It’s understandable to hear from the likes of Mike Phelan, Eric Steele and the man fast becoming rent a quote Rene Meulensteen. Generally the comments from these haven’t been particularly controversial (Steele’s comments on De Gea seem to just show his initial difficulty in adapting to England). Meulensteen has had his moments but that appears to be slightly bitter at being ‘forced out’ in his own mind perhaps.
Ferguson though seems to not be interested in the impact his book could cause as we approach what could be the part of the season that may make or break a title challenge, Christmas and New Year.
For a man who seemingly groomed Moyes to be his successor for a long period, it seems he wants to make it as tough a start as he can…
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