Remember just over a year ago when Sir Alex Ferguson stepped on to the famous turf of Old Trafford and said “Your job now is to stand by your new manager”? Awkward. David Moyes. The name that will be mentioned for many days to come all over the news and social media, so brace yourselves folks. After just 295 days in charge at the helm of one of the most gargantuan sport franchises in the world, “The Chosen One” just simply did not live up to the billing. Ironically, the news comes exactly a year to the day since Manchester United clinched their 20th League Title, Ferguson’s final gift to us fans. How far we have sunk since then. Of course, no sensible United fan would expect Moyes, who Ferguson played a large part in bringing into the club, to be an immediate success, especially with the ageing squad he was inheriting. Is Ryan Giggs, the pensioner, still playing I hear you ask? Indeed he is. This was a huge transitional phase for United and there was no question that the squad needed rebuilding. Moyes took charge of United on the 1st July 2013, enabling him plenty of time to identify suitable transfer targets and work on signing them quickly and efficiently. This was his first real failure. United’s main rivals signed players very early on in the transfer window, but United just couldn’t do it. Partly due to the mishaps of new Chief Executive Officer Ed Woodward, who looks like he’d struggle to buy a muffin let alone a player, and partly due to Moyes’ failure to identify suitable targets, United ended up with only two signings. Guillermo Varela, an unknown Uruguayan defender, and central midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who cost a whopping £27.5 million and was a panic buy to keep the fans happy, being bought mere seconds before the transfer window slammed shut. Varela was immediately shipped off on loan while Fellaini has been about as useful as a solar-powered flashlight. Furthermore, in an attempt to stamp his authority on the club, Moyes completely revamped the backroom staff, replacing Ferguson’s with his own. This has been another failure, since very few of the new staff seem to fully understand the stature of the club and how to cope with the pressure. They will undoubtedly have to follow Moyes and leave the club.
Since then, it has just been a downhill struggle for Moyes who increasingly looked like a man bewildered by the situation he had been thrown into; confused, alarmed, doomed. Performances have been extremely underwhelming throughout the season, and United are looking set to finish with their lowest points tally in the Premier League era, sitting in a mediocre 7th position. There have been glimmering signs of hope, such as our impressive Champions League record, reaching the Quarter Finals and narrowly losing 4-2 on aggregate to German giants Bayern Munich after a brave, disciplined performance for the most part. Overall though, it’s just not been good enough and as is the case in the harsh, unforgiving world of football, it has ultimately led to the end for David Moyes.
The main question, however, remains to be answered. Should Moyes have been given more time to be able to cement his own style of football into the club? In my opinion, he should have been given at least another season. One year is not enough to define a man’s fate, but in today’s world of football, managers are given the chop left, right and centre. No one is safe, much like the Hunger Games. Moyes inherited a squad who may have won the league at a canter last season, but are undeniably cracking and hurtling towards breaking point. The team also have to be held accountable for this season’s misgivings and in my opinion, Moyes is simply being made a scapegoat when there is a far deeper problem at United than a simple managerial issue. There have been reports all season that Moyes has gradually been losing the confidence of the dressing room, and that the players disagreed with his tactics and approach to the game. With an unhappy squad, how is a manager supposed to build confidence and make them the unstoppable force they once were? And this is why I think he had to go. It was either him or the team and the owners would never dream of selling off key players as they would face a furore from the fans.
And now we look to the future. Who do United turn to next to take on such a daunting role? Many names have been suggested, but Louis van Gaal, current manager of the Netherlands, and Jürgen Klopp, manager of German outfit Borussia Dortmund have emerged as the bookmakers’ favourites. Astonishingly, Sir Alex Ferguson is also being touted to return, but if the club wants to move forward, this would be a ridiculous acquisition. It has been confirmed that Ryan Giggs will be taking charge of the final 4 games of the season to give the club adequate time to seek a more suited long-term successor. For me, Klopp would be an ideal replacement. He is charismatic, experienced, and has a good footballing philosophy which has shone through at Dortmund. Whoever ends up getting the job will know just how big it is and that they will need to stamp their authority very quickly.