Sir Alex Ferguson is not the type of man that would enjoy meeting himself. His brash, arrogant personality that supposedly makes way to a gentlemen full of kindness. His mannerism of picking fights with officials and opposition teams at just the right time to shake the attention away from his own players and their failings. A young Alex Ferguson would have got under the skin of the senior version and that’s why he made the wrong choice when finding his successor at Manchester United.
David Moyes is a nice man. As many stories go, he is one of football’s good guys. He’s polite. He’s respectful. And he doesn’t make a habit of public rows. Even when he tries to kick up a conspiracy theory about fixtures, no-one really believed he was that annoyed by it.
It’s his likeability that makes it difficult to see him lose his job with Manchester United less than one year into his initial six-year contract. His settle payment that will be something close to his reported annual salary of £5 million will soften the blow somewhat. After news of his sacking was leaked on Monday afternoon, a wash of sites featured on Sports Betting Dime suspended betting on his future. The news, as it snowballed from an internet rumour to dominate news bulletins across the planet, was met by initial shock that made way for an understanding shrug. He hasn’t been good enough.
When Manchester United identified Alex Ferguson as their new manager in 1986, he walked into the club with a string of trophies to his name. He had won league and European honours with Aberdeen and the assumption was that he’d be able to do the same with the Red Devils. The fact that he was able to bring continued success and stability to Old Trafford was a result of his many victories. He was allowed time thanks to the previous successes in the game and it paid off with an unprecedented haul.
Moyes was seemingly anointed as Ferguson’s successor because he did a stable job at Everton. He did a good job and built a solid squad but he never managed to upset any odds along the way. A finish in the top four was an exemption rather than the norm. He leaves Manchester United without managing to secure an away victory at Anfield, Stamford Bridge and/or the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League in either of his two jobs. They are the sort of places that Manchester United have to win at to challenge for the league title, or at least remind everyone that they are contenders.
David also seemed to be without a consistent plan for how he wanted the team to play. There was no obvious improvement in the style or performances of the team as the season progressed, and as they stuttered through results it became very clear that the job was above his ability. Moyes is a man without the ego or arrogance to lead Manchester United into the biggest of tasks. Instead, he conceded publicly that bitter rivals Liverpool and Manchester City were better teams than his own.
The appointment of David Moyes at Manchester United didn’t work; and the board can be congratulated for acting quickly to remove him from his position. The true ability of the current playing squad doesn’t deserve a seventh place finish in the league. It probably doesn’t deserve to stroll towards the title, scoring an eye watering number of goals along the way. The difference is the quality of the coaching staff that worked with them.
Moyes’ 295 days in charge of Manchester United went much like his time at Everton; and that’s not good enough for Old Trafford. A slow start in the league. No victories at the grounds of the biggest opponents. No noses put out of joint. He was of course the Chosen One; and having promised Sir Alex Ferguson the right to choose his successor the Glazers were bound to give it a go. That mistake won’t be repeated again.
A lot of clubs will have had their eyes opened to thinking about something similar. No matter the awards, trophies and honours that a single manager brings to a club; their judgement won’t be trusted when it comes to selecting their replacement in the hot seat. Arsene Wenger will be kept well away from the meeting that decides who replaces him at the Emirates Stadium.