So… where to begin? I’ve been a United fan since my birth. Influenced by my family since day one, I have become an avid supporter of the Red Devils. To be honest, the last eighteen years of supporting Manchester United has been easy, we won pretty much every competition going. However this season was a completely different story. Without a shadow of a doubt it was a painful experience for a fan, who having supported a team that was used to winning, became well acquainted with losing.
David Moyes never had it easy. He was succeeding one of the most successful managers of all time. Initially, I was encouraged by his appointment. I bought the nonsense that Sky Sports told me, that he was cut from the same cloth as Sir Alex Ferguson and was therefore the ideal fit for the role of Manchester United manager. The truth is, over the last ten months, the whole footballing world has discovered that Moyes is not cut from the same cloth as Ferguson.
It became clear to me that around Christmas time the club weren’t going to get Champions League football next year. In previous seasons I have made a point of watching every United game and occasionally making the trip to the Theatre of Dreams to watch the team close up. This year however, I didn’t bother. I didn’t care if I missed a United game because truthfully I have hated the way United have played this year. Compared to the fast-flowing, attacking football that Liverpool and Manchester City have been playing, our style of football has been boring and lethargic. There are only so many crosses one man can stomach in one game.
When the team lost, Moyes looked like a defeated man. He rarely showed real passion in any post-match interviews or press conferences. The only occasion when he truly looked like a passionate, all conquering Manchester United manager was on the back of the 3-0 home win against Olympiacos in the Champions League. Even that was after a poor display in the first leg away from home in which the side lost 2-0, a game that in previous years United would have dominated.
His signings too have been fairly uninspired. Marouane Fellaini, for all his efforts, has so far turned out to be the biggest waste of £27,500,000 in the history of the game. Juan Mata is a good player and a player who I admire. His playmaking skills are noteworthy, but for £37,000,000 it appears that once again Moyes paid over the odds for a midfield player.
Furthermore, there has been a sense of instability in the club. Something that hasn’t really been associated with Manchester United for the last quarter of a century. Rumours had been flying around that Robin van Persie and Ryan Giggs had fallen out with Moyes. Anderson came out in January telling the Portuguese press that players do not want to play under Moyes and many want to jump ship. As recently as last weekend, there were reports that Danny Welbeck was unhappy with his situation at the club and that he too wanted to leave in the summer transfer window. These mutterings did not bode well for Moyes’ future at the club.
There have been a few positives of his reign though. Moyes managed to tie Wayne Rooney down to long-term contract and get the best out of him on the field. His integration of Adnan Januzaj into the first team set-up has given United fans the chance to build expectations about one of Europe’s most exciting young talents.
Moyes was handed an ageing squad. There is no doubt about it and for that I have sympathy for the man. Ten months is not enough time to refresh a football team. However, Moyes never excited United fans off or on the field. He was as boring off the field as his football was on the field. I am usually an advocate of giving managers time and part of me would have liked to see what Moyes could have done in the summer to try and turn things around. However, giving the style of football played this season and the signings that he has made, part of me equates that scenario to the Glazers pushing the self-destruct button.
I will concede that the way his dismissal was handled was poor. The fact that the press clearly got wind of his sacking beforehand shocks me. Manchester United are usually a club that is fairly watertight when it comes to leaks in the press. The only other major leak I can remember was that of Ferguson’s retirement. Perhaps that was the first bad omen of the Moyes era.
As for the future, it still looks bleak, but perhaps less bleak than before. The club still needs defensive and midfield reinforcements. We seem destined to lose Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand along with Nemanja Vidic in defence. However, with a new manager coming in to the club with his own backroom staff, there is hope that whoever takes the hot seat at Carrington can quickly take United back to the top.
The question is: who will get that opportunity? Ryan Giggs, Diego Simeone, Jurgen Klopp, Louis van Gaal? The list of managers linked to the post will no doubt be endless. For now, Ryan Giggs takes temporary charge of the first team until the end of the season. Some fans would like to see Giggs take charge permanently. For me, that is the sentimental choice and also the wrong choice. If you were going to let Giggs manage United then you would have given him the opportunity last summer and allowed Ferguson to guide him through the early obstacles in his management career. In my opinion, that window of opportunity is gone, but you never know, it could be re-opened.
My first choice would be Jurgen Klopp, although this may seem unlikely due to his outspoken commitment to Borussia Dortmund. Regardless, he’s an ideal fit. He’s young but has had experience managing at the top level, winning two Bundesliga titles and reaching the Champions League final. He plays fast, energetic, attacking football, football that will surely be welcome at Old Trafford. He knows how to rebuild teams when key players leave and is not afraid of introducing young players into the first team. He has gone toe-to-toe with some of the world’s biggest clubs and come out the other side victorious despite being outmuscled financially.
In the end, poor signings, boring football and a sense of instability at a club that has arguably been the most stable club in the last twenty years in English football sent Moyes packing. Whilst he feel sympathy for his plight, I feel that on this occasion the owners have made the right decision in sacking David Moyes.