It has finally happened. The fans of Manchester United have witnessed the club first managerial sacking and the installment of an “interim manager” (a term so foreign to us) in more than 20 years.
While that is not exactly saying a lot when we had the same man sitting in the dugout for that 20 odd years, it does say something about the state of affairs in modern football.
Gone were the days when Sir Alex Ferguson could go on for 3 years without any success and still managed to keep his job (which we are eternally grateful). Apparently, when money comes into the equation, the American owners have little patience for tradition.
So, is it really David Moyes’ fault that United has turned from the reigning champions to the butt of every football joke this season? Should he have be given more time?
In my opinion, both answers are a qualified “yes”.
1. Of course, as the manager, Moyes must shoulder most of the responsibility.
It is his job to impose his philosophy on the training ground. It is his job to formulate the tactics on match days. It is his job to choose the best team to carry out his instructions on the field. It is his job to motivate the players to do their best. But sad to say, he never appeared to manage all that.
It wasn’t helped by the fact that he inherited a team where most of the players are used to winning silverware. It is always going to be tough to get a bunch of serial winners to listen to you when your closest brush with a trophy was losing to Chelsea in a FA Cup final.
But that being said.. the players themselves are just as culpable. They have forgotten what Ferguson said in his farewell speech last May, that is to “… know the jersey you are wearing and what it means for everyone here“. Regardless of who the manager is, I think they owe it to the fans to perform at a level that is befitting of a United player.
2. By handing Moyes a six year contract, I am assuming the club was serious about sticking with him for the long haul. But only 10 months into his job, his tenure has unceremoniously ended. No time for rebuilding. No time to get his own players.
Is this going to be a sign of things to come? Will we become another Chelsea or Man City where even title-winning managers are never safe from the proverbial axe?
We only need to look at Brendan Rogers to see what a little patience could do. Liverpool finished a lowly 7th spot (which is where we are now, ironically) last season but is now on the brink of their first league success in 24 years. If the Reds were looking only at short-term result, Rogers wouldn’t have been around to make history.
Let’s hope whoever they bring in will enjoy more support, more time and certainly more luck than poor Moyes.
Old Trafford… not such a fortress this season.