It was a tumultuous Monday afternoon for the English media as news started to flow in through the proverbial “in-the-know” circles that there was to be a significant managerial re-jig in the ranks at Old Trafford. “The Chosen One” was to be, well, not chosen anymore.
David Moyes, four days before his 51st birthday, was subsequently thanked for his integrity and asked to pack off by the English Champions (much as expected) on Tuesday morning. Now the English media, rather unlike the Manchester United hierarchy it would seem, have been divided on the decision.
Sky Sports expert and former United legend Gary Neville claimed to be appalled that Manchester United hadn’t let a man on a six year deal even finish 12 months on the job. To counter, there were plenty who said his teams’ performances were simply not good enough to merit leadership of this historic institution for another year.
It’s been a while since I’ve chimed in on something, but this merited chiming. While it is true that David Moyes had probably lost the backing of the Board, most of the players, the media, the fans and, well, everyone except Liverpool and Man City supporters, it has to be noted that he was in probably the simplest footballing job in the world.
Sir Alex Ferguson, as we know, was an average manager with no real record or credentials. So, it was an extremely simple task to take up the mantle post him and handle similar expectations. Let’s not forget the team of former and future Ballon D’or winners he was left with. A left back who is always named on the team-sheet but never seems to be there, a mid-field with former Barcelona youth player Tom Cleverley and the pace and energy of Michael Carrick and a front-man with an exemplary, injury –free track record. Thankfully, he had an experienced and wily Chief Executive with him who could make all his transfer wishes come true. Wait, didn’t he always want Marouane Fellaini?
Looking at that mix, one wonders why Moyes even took the job in the first place. He came out recently and said even Sir Alex wouldn’t have finished top four with that lot. To be honest, it was basically that lot last year but then Sir Alex is like Dumbledore while Moyes is basically a muggle. Not sounding right? How about Gandalf and Gollum? You evil lot!
One mistake (well, the biggest one) that Moyes has only himself to squarely blame for is his exquisite decision to dispense of the entire backroom team at a lowly Premier League winning club and bring in the Champions-League winning Everton back-room team. Steve Round and Jimmy Lumbsden really looked the part as they scratched their heads in unison wondering how City were beating them by 3 goals. Again.
Of course, Rene Meulensteen’s decision to rebel against the eviction by taking up management hardly helps make my case given the top 4 team he turned Fulham into, but as a coach, he knew these United players. He knew what made them tick, what made them work well together and, most pertinently, what made them win! Needless to say, if a guy knows how to make a side with Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young, Rio Ferdinand and captained by Patrice Evra win, you hold onto him.
So, what next for the Red Devils? Well, the Glazers have played a perfect tune by putting Ryan Giggs in charge to appease fans and, well, Ryan Giggs. For the time being, it’s likely to work. Giggs has four games coming up which are all exceedingly winnable and which will give the Glazers time to kidnap Jurgen Klopp’s family and force him to move to Manchester.
Louis Van Gaal was on a flight to London when he jumped off without a parachute on Tuesday morning. Thankfully, he landed on Jose Mourinho’s ego so he’s fine but he can never come down now. Carlo Ancelotti will likely only win the Treble at Real Madrid so his time could be up. Then, of course, there’s the more conventional option of continuing with Ryan Giggs and getting Sir Alex Ferguson to Video Conference the half-time team talks. Anyone think it’s maybe fair to let David Moyes pick his successor? Isn’t that what United do? Isn’t that their “thing” now?
Who’s the right man? Well, this is a question that maybe should have been answered before packing off the wrong but integrity-filled one. The Glazers have clearly done their homework which is why we’re all so much closer to knowing who the person will be.
Many opine that the man should embody the United philosophy of playing attractive, attacking football. Nonsense. The United philosophy is winning. They are a match-winning, league-winning, cup-winning club. That comes before all else. “Make them win” would pretty much be a coherent, very “united” (do you see what I did there?) cry from supporters all over the world. Let’s not forget Manchester United is still the most widely followed football club in the world and Manchester City still has empty seats in their stadium even when they’re supposedly in a title race.
So where does all this take us? It takes us to another interesting, paradigm-shifting summer at Old Trafford. Men will come, men will go and if there’s a sacking, the English media will know. Who will it be? Giggsy, Fergie? Klopp, Louis? In good time we’ll know, in good time we’ll see.