The biggest surprise about David Moyes’ sacking is the fact that people are surprised that David Moyes has been sacked. Personally I was surprised when I read yesterday that almost every news carrier had the story that Moyes was on the way out as soon as tomorrow, and so it appeared to be true.
The funny thing about it is that if this was any other club, not only would I have expected the manager to have been sacked by now, but also that the manager wouldn’t last to the summer. However this is Manchester United and we don’t run the club like other teams. That is the thing about the sacking of David Moyes, my heart says that this isn’t how Utd does business, but my head tells me that if this was any other club I would be saying he should be sacked.
I feel sorry for Moyes because he is a manager who I really wanted to succeed and not only because he was the manager of the club I support. He paid his dues in the Premier League, doing a remarkable job at Everton (which shouldn’t be belittled because Martinez has had one good season), he seems like a really nice guy, he is hard working and he is Scottish. For me there isn’t anything to dislike about Moyes, real football people wanted him to succeed, sadly he did not.
It seems ridiculous now but prior to Fergie being replaced, I wanted Moyes above Mourinho because I felt Moyes was more in line with what Utd are about. Personally what I really wanted was Fergie to spend another year at the club, with Moyes spending a year as his assistant so as to learn the ethos of the club and then taking over.
I genuinely think that Moyes was on a hiding to nothing when he replaced Fergie. How do you replace arguably the greatest manager ever? You can’t, it is an impossible task. I have been critical of Fergie this season because I think that he left Moyes with a team full of deadwood and aging players, and one of the major reasons he retired in my opinion was because he wanted to go out a winner and knew that this team wasn’t good enough to win a major competition this year and quite possibly the one after that as well, and he didn’t want to stay for three more years. Fergie also was kind enough to leave Moyes with the mess that was Wayne Rooney, a situation where Fergie let his personal feelings for the player overcome what was best for the club. It was the equivalent of finding a shit in your hotel room bed.
I have also been critical of the board this season because of how poorly they handled the embarrassing summer transfer window. How can arguably the biggest club in the world not attract top players? The only answer is that the men in the suits aren’t doing their jobs properly. What made it all the more embarrassing is that we so openly chased a number of different targets and didn’t get any of them. What we did end up with was Marouane Fellaini who we managed to pay £4 million more for than we could have got him about a month earlier, truly showing how much we wanted him in the first place. Ed Woodward delivered Moyes a duff hand from the get go, everyone knew that Utd did not have a strong midfield and at least two players were needed, yet all we got was a desperation signing on the last day of the transfer window. I also feel sorry for Fellaini because he alone wasn’t the solution to Utd’s problems, but with him being the only signing of the summer he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders, which he didn’t cope well with.
I have also been critical of the players this season because this in my opinion is still at worst the third best squad in the league, and regardless of who the manager is they shouldn’t be finishing outside the top four. I don’t think anyone can say that the Utd players have played well this season, almost every man has underperformed. In many ways this shouldn’t have been so unexpected because the player’s hangover from last season when Utd had ran away with the league and Fergie announced his retirement has never really receded. These sorts of things often happen when a legendary long serving manager leaves a club, I don’t think anyone thought the drop of in player performance would have been so dramatic though.
Now I’ve set out that I think that the previous manager, the players and the board have all been at fault for Moyes’ failure and subsequent sacking at Utd, yet I haven’t really criticised Moyes at all, but don’t worry I’m getting to that. What I am saying is that Utd’s disastrous season this year is not down solely to David Moyes, but rather a whole host of people.
I as I have said am a Moyes supporter, I have been almost all season long, and the moment that this changed was when Liverpool beat Utd 3-0. Up until that moment I still thought Utd would make top four, up until that moment I still had faith that things would turn out ok, needless to say they didn’t. It wasn’t so much that we lost to Liverpool that bothered me; it was the manner in which we lost to Liverpool. Not only did they outplay us at Old Trafford, they also just looked like a better team. They were everything that we were not, decisive, dangerous, exciting and worst of all winners. It was classic boys against men sort of stuff, and although I could sit and moan about the refereeing decisions, the simple fact is that they were a much better team. It isn’t the match alone the concerned me, but rather that we had made absolutely no progress throughout the season. When you look back to the Liverpool game at Anfield (where a Luis Suarezless Liverpool won 1-0), you see that Liverpool scored and then sat back the rest of the match, holding on to their result. In that game Utd had absolutely no cutting edge, the players looked like they didn’t understand why the centre backs weren’t just parting and allowing them to score and it was the exact same thing in the reverse fixture. I expected Utd to sort of struggle this year, but what I expected was that by the end of the season we would have shown major signs of improvement, which is something which never materialised.
It is even more daunting for me when I watch old football gold footage on Sky Sports, where you have a poor Liverpool team playing against a later 90’s Utd team, and despite the fact that the commentator is saying that Liverpool have had a poor season they still put in a hell of a performance against Man Utd, because they are playing Man Utd. That’s the difference, in games against Liverpool and City, form is irrelevant, more than often it is about heart and who wants it more. Utd didn’t want it at all, and that screams to me that the players weren’t playing for the manager, the club or the fans. The fact that the players weren’t playing for the manager is even more blatant when we play Everton away in a must win (in respect terms) for the manager and the players put in an incredibly limp performance. As soon as a manager loses the dressing room he is as good as useless, and clearly Moyes had lost the dressing room.
I think Manchester United is a special club (although admittedly I am biased) and I think that every other club in England would have sacked Moyes well before Utd did. In fact Utd is such a special club that some people are still questioning whether this was the right decision or not. The sad thing is that if Moyes had finished 4th, it would have been a poor season but there would have been no question about whether or not he would be there next season. The simple fact is that missing out on Champions League football is unacceptable, it is made even worse when you consider that we didn’t even really challenge for Champions League football. This is Manchester United and this season’s performance in the league is just totally unacceptable, even Fergie would have struggled to stick around after a season like this. You can’t go from being champions to probably finishing 7th (6th at best) regardless of the quality of the squad.
Moyes never had the support of the media, for some reason the media always wanted him to fail and that is sad. What Moyes should have done was created a siege mentality, but instead he just allowed for stupid petty stories to linger about. I was surprised because he has been about the game for so long, I can only assume he wasn’t used to such negative press.
I do think Moyes has had little to no luck at all this season, but one of the unluckiest things that he has suffered is how well Everton have performed this season. Who honestly saw Everton improving to the extent that they would finish above Utd? Nobody did. It is embarrassing for Moyes for his old club to finally finish above Utd in the Premier League after he has taken over the latter. It also doesn’t help Moyes that Liverpool have went from being nothing to more than likely winning the league this season. The one positive from that is that it means it can be done, so that is something to hold on to for hope next season.
Moyes also managed to set lots of nice little records for Utd, such as this team winning at Old Trafford for the first time since and that team beating Utd for the first time since sort of thing. Records get broken, it is one of those things, embarrassing yes but it is one of those things. The thing that is truly embarrassing for Moyes is that of the six teams above them in the league Utd only managed to win 6 points out of 36. That is a win against Arsenal (H), and draws against Arsenal (A), Spurs (A) and Chelsea (H). You are only as good as the teams above you, and quite frankly Utd have been rank rotten against teams which have been better than them. I honestly think that if Mourinho had known how poor Utd turned out to be that Chelsea would have won at Old Trafford, but it came early in the season and at the time a draw seemed like a good result. If Utd’s form against the bug clubs wasn’t bad enough, imagine the horror when you look at their home form. 24/48 points, no that isn’t Crystal Palace’s home record (theirs is better), it is Utd’s under Moyes. Your home games are your bread and butter, in fact the embarrassing (used this word a lot) thing is if you combine Liverpool, Chelsea and City’s home dropped points together they still come out well below Utd’s (17 between the three). Just to stick the knife in more, Utd at Old Trafford this season have only scored 22 goals in 16 games, yes it is pathetic.
The style of football that Moyes was playing was also less than pleasing and I don’t think it helped him with either the fans or the players. Rather than playing the high flying counter attacking football that Utd are famous for, Moyes wanted to play a more restrictive stringent style which didn’t really suit the players he had at his disposal and because of that he was never able to fully utilise his best team. Another area which was incredibly frustrating with Moyes was his insistence in playing certain players despite the fact that they consistently didn’t perform, I’m talking about guys like Cleverley, Young and Nani, and then not giving any chances to guys like Hernandez, Kagawa and Zaha.
I’m sure that maybe you’ve noticed this by now but I have so many things to say on this subject that I will undoubtedly not remember to say everything that I wanted to, but the one thing I would like to put across is that I don’t think Moyes is the only person to blame for this very poor season. I think that the board, players, Fergie and Moyes should all share the blame for what has been a mess of a season. The sad thing for Moyes though is that more than often the manager takes the blame when things go wrong. I hope Moyes recovers from this massive disappointment in his career and comes back a better manager. I do however think that this was the right decision for the club, because although in my heart of heart I believe that he should have been given time, I don’t know if I could trust him to go out and spend a large amount of money only for him to be sacked half way through the season and then have a bunch of players that the new manager wouldn’t want which sets the club back another couple of years.
I have read some reports that say that Utd had a clause in Moyes’ contract which allowed them to get out of it by only paying him a year’s compensation if he failed to qualify for the Champions League. If that is true then it is some shrewd business, but it also implies that Utd had decided that Moyes was going to get the sack months ago. What bothers me about that is that if they think that Ryan Giggs is a potential next manager (which I don’t) and you don’t want Moyes anymore, then why not give Giggs half a season to prove himself? The decision to wait for Moyes to set off this clause makes great business sense but doesn’t make any football sense, says everything about what Utd have become in recent years.
Finally I would like to congratulate the Utd fans for once again showing why they are amongst the best in the world (the Utd or Liverpool fans are the best in England by quite some distance). When every other club would have turned against their manager, the Utd fans gave support right till the end. When results were poor, the Utd fans still didn’t boo the team off the pitch. When some idiots flew a banner over the stadium, the real Utd fans applauded the manager and booed the plane. People often slag Utd off for being a prawn sandwich eating fan base but not only is that shit, the Utd fans showed what a quality fan base they are. The true fans supported Moyes till the end even though in reality things were pretty damn bad, and that is incredibly laudable.
Anyway after years of stability and success, Utd have now went through a year of what can only be called disappointing frustration. Despite it not being the Utd way, sacking Moyes was the right decision for the long term future of the club. So leave a comment on what you think of David Moyes’ sacking and don’t forget that you can find all the latest bm23sportsreviews updates on Facebook and Twitter.