On David Moyes
If a football club could embody chronic mismanagement, it would have to be the Manchester United of 2013-2014. Sadly, like almost everything else we’ve done this season (“RT to vote Wayne Rooney as your Man of the Match!”) – David Moyes’ sacking too was handled with glaring incompetence and an unprecedented gracelessness.
The reasons for his departure are hardly debateable – uninspired performances, and the lack of concrete evidence that things are going to get better very rarely buy a manager time, especially in this ruthless and unforgiving era of modern football. And let’s not kid ourselves, we are not special. We’ve been blessed with the exceptions of Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Matt Busby, but we sack our managers when they’re not good enough. Am I one of those who has been bellowing “Moyes Out” every week- absolutely not. Do I think it was time for him to leave – eh, it’s probably the most “sensible” and only outcome there was left. It’s been proven just how different (and arguably unsuccessful) Moyes’ style of play and general managerial mindset is from the accepted “Manchester United way”. If the experiment had to work – it needed an entire stripping down and reconstruction. And for that, it needed time. A LOT of time.
In his short tenure as United manager, David Moyes has made mistakes. Many, many mistakes. Countless gaffes in the press, seemingly clueless “HOOF!” style football, embarrassing transfer window fiascos, the revolving door of lineups and formations – all bad! And the effects are clear as day (can we just NOT talk about the Premier League table, please). However, in my opinion, his aggrandizing of Wayne Rooney was probably one of the biggest blunders of the entire season (cue a stream of abuse). Building a team around one player is never a smart thing to do. It is especially dangerous when there are other players in the squad who would outplay Rooney in his “preferred position” on any given day of the week. In a team filled with superstars with big paychecks and even bigger egos, a manager has to prove that he is stronger than them all. He has to put the team and its results first, above the whims of the individuals. He has to show he has vision and ambition. All the evidence suggests that David Moyes sadly failed at all of this.
It quickly became obvious that David Moyes was over his head and completely unprepared for what the expectations are at Manchester United. But it has to be said, from the outside, it looks like he was never given the support that he deserved. From rumors of treacherous behavior from his players (I personally feel most betrayed by this) to the spineless suits of the United board room and of course the all-encompassing catastrophic omnipresence of the Glazer family – the club can hardly stand up and say they did their new manager justice. If anything, the fans (mostly match-going, not the angry crazies that hide behind their computer screens) this season have been the only heroes – they have shown more faith and fight during a difficult season than any of those in charge of our football club.
It’s a sad day for Manchester United. Not just because it caps off a season so horrible that even the most hateful of our rival fans are stunned. But because it ushers in a new era that a lot of us are not at all used to. The myth of the Old Trafford “fortress” was routinely and methodically dismantled during football matches, this season. And perhaps that was simply allegorical for a much larger crisis facing the club. For so many years, we were the no-drama big club, however as Gary Neville put it
“The weight and explosion of the information coming out concerns me. That club, for 20-odd years, contained and managed information. It was completely off the scale like nothing else that’s happened in the club in 20 years”.
It was a strange feeling going to bed last night, knowing that I would be waking up to the news of Manchester United Football Club sacking a manager. It is the first time in my lifetime that I’ve seen this happen. I tweeted saying that I hoped that United did right by David Moyes and let him leave with his dignity intact. They didn’t. Moyes found out about his fate, just like the rest of us, from online newspapers. Apparently after the story broke, he didn’t get any calls of reassurance or confirmation from the club. And yet, after being dismissed face-to-face by Ed Woodward (don’t even get me STARTED on the monstrous calamity of a professional that this man is!) this morning, David Moyes stayed on at Carrington to shake the hand of every member of the team (MOST of whom let him down this season) and personally say goodbye to them. It’s a sad day to lose the manager of your football club. It’s an especially sad day when the manager is one of the last remaining Good Guys in modern football.
It was a bit of a slow motion disaster, David Moyes, but cheers for the effort. Like at the end of every failed romance, I find myself thinking – maybe the timing just wasn’t right. Ta-ra Moyesy…at least we had this: