It is not good for the beautiful game to have created such an ugly way to dismiss their managers. What would it have been like to have been a member of the Moyes family yesterday with all the news outlets making clear the news that wasn’t yet news? It is not pretty. I should know. As a Manchester City fan our last two managers have gone in similar fashion. I remember the shame and even more so when one of the “you’re getting sacked in the morning” news leaks was before an FA Cup Final. The game is deep in the muck of disrepute again this morning.
Looking back at my blog in January about United, Moyes and Sir Alex, suggests that I saw this coming. It was an appointment that smacked of old traditional values that have long gone. Instead of going for the big name who had done it at the top level go for a man with a work ethic and a sense of loyalty. It might even have worked in 1985 when a friend’s ma told us to go and watch the news as Alex Ferguson was about to be announced manager of Manchester United. No Twitter back then so we really were in the know. My friend’s uncle was debating whether to stay at Aberdeen or go with his mate Alex as his assistant. My friend’s ma asked, “Are Manchester United a big club?!” Well, they kinda were then but not as big a club as poor David Moyes got lumbered with last summer.
It seems that Sir Alex was an utter genius. I mean we all suspected it but if ever a season proved it, it is this one. I mean he won the Premiership at a stroll last season with a team that is stronger on paper now than it was then, even if only Fellaini and Mata were added. Yet, the new manager who was able to take a poorer squad to 5th or 6th, year after year, is struggling to repeat those former achievements. Actually what it has proved is what we all thought, “How did Alex do that, with that team.” Genius indeed.
Yet, big flaws in the genius. Not realising that the team’s success was down to his own ability Ferguson left Moyes with an awful squad and made a very difficult job even more so. As well as that Ferguson seems to have been so focused on what he was achieving at United that he had lost touch with how modern football worked. It seems that it was his recommendation to go for a solid Scottish chap with a reasonable CV. Sir Alex’s thinking that the unproven Moyes could compete at the top level of world football in this day and age seemed a little naive. Modern soccer is no longer about managers staying for thirty years. If you have any ambition at all, it is now about getting a successful European manager.
These are the thoughts that I thought I might need at the start of the season. I actually hoped I wouldn’t get around to using them. I liked David Moyes. I was intrigued by his faith. I actually hoped that United might bring some traditional values back into soccer. As I said, a little sarcastically, it would be the first time in a while that they had made a positive contribution in that sphere. Sadly, now that I have to finally write this blog there is a massive flaw in my argument.
The flaw is, my fellow County Antrim man, Brendan Rodgers! Rodgers was also lacking in the necessary CV to manage a top 4 club. He wasn’t chosen for his European achievements. Rodgers advantage was that he didn’t have the pressure that Moyes has had from the United fans who were too used to success. It is interesting to note that Liverpool finished 7th in Rodgers first season! It seems that it was Liverpool not Manchester United who were prepared to stick by their traditional values. Many will say that Liverpool finished 8th the year before Rodgers took over and hadn’t won the title for 24 years. Is that less pressure? Shouldn’t United have had enough success in recent decades to have given Moyes a little time? Maybe in the end the answer is that Brendan Rodgers is a soccer genius and David Moyes isn’t!
Whatever, the answer to that one, I reckon you can now put your money on United doing what perhaps they should have done and appointing a world renowned manager. Mind you Roberto Martinez is doing well at Everton!