David Moyes has had a tough time at Manchester United since taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson
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So this is how Manchester United ends… with a whimper and not with a bang. The last 6 months have conclusively proven that our time in the sun is now over and we must accept mediocrity on a level of Liverpool in the 90s.
That’s the only conclusion we can draw from the difficult six months since Sir Alex walked away and David Moyes was given the chalice isn’t it?
I mean it’s not like Sir Alex bled every last bit of success he could out of a group of players we have been saying for several years has been performing better than the sum of its parts. That a manager with over 25 years experience at the same club, a club he effectively had lead role in redesigning and helped to reform from top to bottom, would know exactly how to drive these players further than they realised they could go.
If a manager with 25 years at one of the most successful and famous teams in the world, gives you advice and tells you can achieve something, it might just make you do something many didn’t think you could.
So we come to David Moyes and the current situation we find ourselves in; out of the FA Cup, off the pace in the league and looking likely to face City IF we make it through to the Capital One Cup Final. It wasn’t supposed to be this way for Moyes this season, it was supposed to be a season where we may not have been title chargers but we’d be in the mix.
Was David Moyes the best candidate for the job in the summer? In terms of experience at the level required, success in terms of trophies won and personality then the answer is plainly no. Sir Alex had the casting vote in the managerial decision and seems to have tried to find a manager who resembles himself the most when he first came to Manchester United. The landscape of football has changed beyond recognition since Ferguson first walked into The Cliff all those years ago. Manchester United has changed beyond all recognition from the club Sir Alex walked into. Sir Alex was given the task of rebooting a club that hadn’t been reaching it’s potential and was languishing in the shadow of Liverpool.
Today Manchester United is the biggest name in English football and one of the leading names in the world. The job now is not about rebooting the club but rebuilding a squad that nearly every observer has identified as in serious need of new blood. Ferguson appears to have identified a manager for a job that doesn’t need doing at United. The club is already established and didn’t need the same things as when he came in. The club required a manager who could identify the issues in the squad quickly and act to make the necessary changes required.
Everton fans have said before that Moyes likes to scout a player as much as possible before making a move, this coupled with a Chief Executive who was inexperienced at transfer dealings left us in a situation where the main targets had already gone or no longer wanted to move. A late move for Fellaini didn’t address the issues that everyone were aware of and are now coming home to roost.
David Moyes is of course culpable in some way for this, it is mad to think he wasn’t getting the lowdown on the squad from the moment he was announced and formulating targets. Moyes also didn’t help himself with his openness regarding the chase for Fabregas which ended up making United appear to be chasing their tails. With his more closed comments so far this window he appears to have learned the lesson about not being so open in his dealings.
The biggest problem facing Moyes with the current squad is that he needs do 4 or 5 years worth of squad changes in 18 months maximum. The need for midfield additions has been clear to all for several years and coupled with the likes of Carrick, Evra, Ferdinand and Vidic now reaching the back end of their careers. The lack of investment in dependable replacements have left the squad relying on the influence of a few players who they don’t perform, the team usually struggles. The blame for that situation can be laid at the door of Ferguson, Gill and The Glazers. The concerns of recent years has been paying back debt and getting by with what we have thanks in the most part to Fergusons management of the squad.
The current set of players may not be the greatest the club has ever had however they are a side that should be putting in better performances than we are currently seeing. The side that faced Swansea were all International players who should be delivering better efforts than what is being served up. Darren Fletcher summed up the feeling for many fans after the game by saying that the players are currently letting down the club, manager and fans.
Things such as the leaking of team line ups to the press would never have happened under Ferguson and it appears that some players are almost acting up to see what they can get away with. Much like when you were at school and a supply teacher took the class, some would slack off and not do what they should be doing. It will again take Moyes time to deal with this but we can be certain there will be players moved on due to not fitting with what Moyes wants.
The squad in itself is not in the same state as last year, injuries to Carrick, Rooney and most importantly Van Persie have left the squad missing vital players. The loss of these three has again showed the lack of depth in terms of senior, reliable talent. If we had suffered these sorts of injuries last season we would have struggle to maintain the title charge that we had. Some blame can be placed at the coaching department for injuries but it mostly comes down to sheer luck. Ferguson also had his fair share of injuries but generally had players who could come in and do a job. Those players are not really there now in this squad, the players coming in are more used to complimenting the senior players not taking their place.
Can we categorically say 6 months in that Moyes is or isn’t the man to manage Manchester United? No we can’t, Moyes has effectively been doing the role with one hand tied behind his back so far. Problems inherited from the previous manager are still being addressed and the change of leadership in the boardroom has also hindered Moyes in implementing any squad changes he wants to make.
Sir Alex Ferguson was not Sir Matt Busby when he arrived at the club. David Moyes is not Sir Alex Ferguson, it takes time for things to balance off when such a major change occurs and that time has to be given before a real judgement can be made. If in 18 months time we are looking at a side that are not competing at the top of the table and have failed to show improvements from what we have seen so far then serious questions will need to be asked.
To ask those questions now is foolish and acting now before we have given Moyes time to mould his team will lead to a situation that fans have mocked other clubs for. To not even allow a manager 18 months to build a side is ridiculous. Moyes needs the opportunity to put his side together, if then we are in a similar situation the hard questions will be asked.
For now though Moyes is dealing with issues he was left with, not issues of his own making. We should at least give him the chance to at try and repair them.