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Part Two of Sir Alex’s Masterplan – Moyes Just the Next Cog in Fergie’s Dynasty

So the time finally arrived…

As day always follows night, the inevitable retirement of an ageing Scotsman in his twilight years on this planet, was always going to occur sometime very soon. Of course, it feels no less of a shock. That sudden feeling of loss, your heart detaching itself from the arteries and veins, and passing its way up your throat and out of your mouth, unceremoniously falling at your feet on to the cold floor, in a ball of grief. You will always remember where you were the day you heard a living legend was to take his rightful place in history, leaving by choice, rather than because of failure, with yet another league crown stacked high upon his red-nosed head.

The eulogies for Alex Ferguson and his achievements have only just begun, but as a club we are already looking towards the future and what awaits us. We now know that immediate future is David Moyes. A Sir Alex-lite character, who probably owns a few hairdryers and tea-cup throwing records of his own. He has taken Everton as a fallen giant flirting with relegation, and turned them into a top six club, spending only breadcrumbs and pennies along the way.

When I first heard we were opting for Moyes I was shocked, and frankly disgusted. Here we are, Manchester United, the biggest club in the world, and we have gone for a guy who has never won a trophy. Does Moyes have the capabilities and tools? What is it on his CV that makes him even worthy of an interview for one of the most prestigious jobs in world football? This time yesterday, I could not have been any more underwhelmed. You also have to factor into the equation the availability of Jose Mourinho, as he leaves through the revolving door at Real Madrid. You would be forgiven for thinking that we would opt for a coach of his talents. The timing was perfect. Yes, you lose a legend, but you replace him with a coach who has been to the proverbial well, and quenched his thirst for glory, almost at will.

But no. We chose the bloke from Everton.

After spending most of yesterday, shivering in the Arctic tundra of doubt, a strange change started to happen to me. The chronic analysis I had allowed my brain to undertake on this Moyes situation, started to bear fruit: Could David Moyes be the right man to replace Fergie after all?! Now for a chronic football sceptic like myself, who has the odd bath now and then, in a tub of negativity (like all football fans tend to do) this thought, that came out of my very own brain, really did surprise me.

So here we are now: On a wet Thursday evening, and Moyes is our new manager on a six year deal…and I feel excited!

The one biggest element of this specific change in tenure is that Sir Alex is still at the club. Yes, in the years to come he will represent the club in a more social, hands-off approach, but for now I can see him still being very much hands-on with club matters. It is no surprise that he chose Moyes. A character he could efficiently communicate with. A man whom he could personally groom for the roller-coaster ride that is Manchester United. He couldn’t do this with Mourinho. If Jose had joined the club, that would be the end of Ferguson’s active involvement. This way the club gets the best of both worlds. Two heads, for the price of one.

This assessment may well seem overly optimistic, and if we are languishing in mid-table next Christmas, it will seem like a ludicrous view. However, there is a huge safety net for us, knowing that the modern father of the club is still there with us…watching, observing, teaching. A change to Mourinho would have been a beautiful way to start a clean slate, but I believe this is now the second part of Fergie’s ‘Masterplan’ kicking in, to keep United on top, ahead of the other clubs who can outspend us, and build teams in a less frugal manner. This is by no means a clean slate for Manchester United. This is dynasty building on the grandest of scales.

This is Sir Alex’s ideal opportunity, to let go and retire – without actually letting go and retiring. This squad of players and staff, is his own creation and he has spent years as a godhead, building it. The last thing he would want is to see it dismantled and consigned to the bin. And if Jose had joined our club that is what would happen. The coaching staff would be replaced. Jose would probably bring in some very attractive twenty eight year old female physiotherapist, Steve Clarke might have popped up to lend a hand at the club, along the way. United would be moulded in Jose’s image, and the legacy of Sir Alex would be reformed and ultimately dismantled.

Ferguson’s ego would not want that to happen. His vitality does not allow this.

As much as the boss respects Jose Mourinho, I think he still wants an active part in the club’s future. David Moyes can run team affairs, while Fergie concentrates on more acute strategy for the club. When we negotiate with sponsors and potential new signings, we can position Sir Alex directly in front of them, to broker deals with his intelligence and legend. He IS Manchester United. There is no need to mothball him, when he can help the club to continue to grow. If you want to sign a Ronaldo, you send a Sir Alex Ferguson to go and get him. It makes perfect football and business sense.

Moyes is an important part of this next phase of Ferguson’s United. The six year deal he has been given shows the commitment the club has in developing him to be the best that he can be. The rules will be the same though: Keep Manchester United at the top of English football, and be strongly competitive in the Champions League – he will not be given any room to breathe on this matter. Any abject failure on the football pitch over a sustained period of time will see this second phase of ‘The Masterplan’ obsolete. He will be sacked, and United and Moyes will part ways. He will not get the same amount of time to succeed that Ferguson was once offered, in the 1980s.

But the future is bright. Ultimately, United have not lost a legend. His influence on the future of the club will still very much exist. Moyes may well lack experience in Europe, but he has the best boss in the known football world to look to for advice. He has also managed in the Premier League for eleven years – that is eight years longer than Mourinho and Klopp combined. Ultimately, he is no fool to the demands of the English game.

Success under Moyes is not guaranteed, but neither would it have been with anyone else. What we do know is that if this is all part of Ferguson’s ongoing plan for our club, we are in the safest of hands. It is a case of prevention rather than cure. The health we have displayed over the past two decades is more important to maintain, than ripping up the rulebook, and starting again. He may not be in the dugout in future, chewing gum like a hammer drill, but this is still very much the club that Sir Alex built.

Is this the end of Fergie Time? …Not a chance.


Follow Rob on Twitter.



  1. Dela says:

    @Red Mist

    Firstly, football isn’t laughing at us, instead they are all engaging in wishful thinking, hoping that Fergie being gone means our dominance will come to an end. Let them laugh and jeer all they want, they’ve always been fucking bitter anyway.

    As for your comment “you don’t win the league by beating the bitters,” true, but you are forgetting something important. He could beat them with inferior players to us, the problem he had was a squad problem. He simply could not afford an injury to a big player on his team, he didn’t have like-for-like replacements for everyone. Playing players out of position to deal with low levels of injury is common for mid-table teams. United’s resources means we can have a big squad with good players. Sure, we don’t have superstars to replace superstars when they are injured, but we still have very good players to do so. In Everton’s case, the backup is average at best. THAT’s the difference. That’s why while Moyes has wiped the floor with Mancini’s head 6 out of 8 times they met, he could not keep up the consistency due to player fatique and not having a good enough squad to see it through.

  2. Dela says:

    Either way, I’m behind Moyes but I don’t think I’ll hang around here much for the first season. Given the sometimes LUDICROUS shit said about Fergie on here by some posters, I can’t imagine how happy they will be to take shot after shot at Moyes. I think for the sake of my blood pressure I’ll just have to avoid this place for a while. Those of us here for years already know the inmates are out of their cells for a long time now anyway. Biggest source of football experts in the world right here at RoM, it’s where Fergie should have looked for a replacement ;-)

  3. Marq says:

    Well, having Sir Alex around can be a double edged sword if opinions differ, and if the player’s respect are directed to Sir Alex more than Moyes. But alas, lets just get behind our new man. We are not like the rent boys, who try to decide who is in charge.

    The first 5 games will be important

  4. Jorge Curioso says:

    Since when does a board let the outgoing manager pick his successor? Would love for Moyes to succeed, but I fear the worst, especially with Fergie lingering around, which has *never* proven to be a good idea in managerial succession.

  5. medumtum says:

    i do think we should scale back our expectations for Europe next season. The real question is what would be success for Moyes in his first season? And for me there is only one answer. We have to challenge for the league. Not saying winning is necessary, but we have to be there till the end. I would also give Moyes at a minimum two seasons to show us what he is capable of. Quite certain with him bringing in his own assistant that we will have a change of style. It always takes time for players to get used to a new system. This transfer widow is crucial. Just hope we go out there and get that marquee signing and strengthen midfield. Regardless of who is the manager, we need a statement of intent for Europe and end that reliance on Carrick has to b eased.

  6. busby says:

    I laugh at people saying this is the end of Fergie time. It is just the beginning! Fergies reign has ended ie normal time and now he will get his fergie time through david moyes. Needless to say our greatest moments have happened in fergie time.

  7. Busby says:

    People also need to wake up to the relality of the glazers ownership. They will only nominate a man who can work on a budget. If Mourinho doesnt get every signing he asks for he throws a strop in the media. This is a man with a 30m backup left back and a 40m backup center mid for fucks sake.

  8. Bobby Charlton's Combover says:

    @montanared says:
    From now on …. Sir Alex = Don Vito, Moyes = Michael, Giggs = Tom Hagen.The Family is in good shape.

    haha good analogy and Keane was Sonny.

  9. m@ says:


    ne’er wiser words said here.

    i feel the same and wont be back, deleting the favorite link to here as i type…

    the articles arent so great anyway , usually copy and paste from better sites, the muppets section usually inane dross…. and with that..

    a bright future ahead! goodbye from an old namechanger once and for all.


  10. King Eric says:

    CC. Spot on actually at 0.29.

  11. aki says:

    off topic, januzaj won best player(golden ball ) award at blue stars tournament

  12. Bc1050 says:

    I just can’t get my head around this idea of Moyes as manager and seems full of risk for Man Utd – we need a proven winner in the changing room and not somebody who has never won anything

    Can you imagine next season with the like is Mourinho in Chelsea , Benitiez perhaps in Liverpool and Mancinia in Citeh – all winners and then Moyes during squeaky bum time at the end of the season – Moyes has never been there and is unproven

    This is high risk stuff and wasn’t necessary – seems like Fergiie has let his control
    Freak side get the better of him – hope I am wrong but fear the worst

  13. Scott N1406 says:

    I was worried about the appointment until I realised that almost all of the major worries can be answered quite sensibly. I wrote a blog article about it yesterday at (if you fancy). Sorry for the advertising but my reply might look a little long otherwise!

    Let’s shed a few tears on Sunday then think to the future.

  14. Norman-85 says:

    Completely agree with CC (00:29) – if we could combine Docherty’s attacking philosophy with Ferguson’s winning ability, that would be the dream ticket – but more than anything I want to see us with 2 wingers bombing down the wings, a midfield that goes forward at every opportunity and strikers that aren’t afraid to take a chance. Here’s to the future….and the reds go marching on, on, on.
    (Can’t wait for Sunday to come around – it was going to be special with the 20th Title an RVP’s first – but Sir Alex’s last game in charge at OT – going to be one heck of a party.)

  15. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Jorge Curioso says:

    Since when does a board let the outgoing manager pick his successor? Would love for Moyes to succeed, but I fear the worst, especially with Fergie lingering around, which has *never* proven to be a good idea in managerial succession.”

    Since when did you become a fan of united let alone concerned about the stratergy the club embarks on. Another A.B.U boy scout thinking he’s clever, he was only a while ago mocking the club now he’s suddenly as emotional as the canteen ladies serving their last crumble pie

  16. DJScouseinDaHouse says:

    Super! Two birds with one shot! Both the scum and the dogs will be bowing to Brenda’s mighty scousers come next season! mouhaha

  17. d_arblay says:

    I think people make a little too much out of the “no major European experience”/”no trophies” thing. Neil Lennon has won trophies and had a good run in Europe with Celtic. Would they rather him? Steve McClaren has more top level managerial experience, has won trophies, a league title, and had runs in Europe. Would they rather him? Wenger has only won 2 trophies in the time Moyes has had full seasons at Everton (one of them they fluked verses us in the FA Cup). There aren’t too many who would doubt HIS status as a great manager. I’m almost relieved Moyes hasn’t won a trophy. If he had, the likes of Chelsea or City might have tried to hire him. As it turned out, they didn’t have the insight or more importantly, the balls. We did. And I think we’ll be rewarded for that.

    The biggest problem Moyes will have, and the saddest thing about Ferguson’s exit – the thing I’ll miss most as a fan for at least a good while – is that there will now be a general sense of unease any time anything goes wrong. Every time we go out of a cup (which we will), or lose a game or two (which we will), sit 5-7 points behind the league leaders at Christmas/New Year or sell a seemingly vital player (which we’ve done before and still recovered), in the past we have been afforded a taken-for-granted reassurance because we know and have the faith that Ferguson understands exactly how to manage and rectify such setbacks… we knew that, no matter what, everything was going to be okay, because it always was – that it must be some temporary blip and normal service would soon be resumed. That trust can’t be earned overnight. Moyes won’t have it to rely on. Doubts will come and go for a good while, even if we hit the ground running (people still doubted Ferguson in ’89, ’92, ’95 and ’05, even after he’d been established as a legend). But we’d have had to deal with that no matter who came in, I suppose. Even if it was Mourinho. We should at least take comfort in the fact that, as the article states, Ferguson will still be at the club and available to Moyes should he be needed. What better mentor could you have?

  18. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Norman – the days of wide men being important are vanishing, not entirely but they’re not the main platforms for attack in the game anymore, the midfield must be controlled and it’s essential that top quality players in that position are brought in. 442 should be a plan b, a more flexible tactic must be employed by moyes, time will tell if he’s capable regardless of the fairytale endorsement made by people for the former everton manager, he’s a massive gamble but let’s be honest, anyone after fergie is a downstep but we must kick on and hopefully moyes is the right man.

  19. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Dj scouser – another uninvited visit, haven’t you got stereos to steal or have you retired?

  20. Yorke, Cole, Sheri, Solks says:

    Still feel quite jaded from Ferguson retiring and Moyes taking over.

    Not seeing Fergie at the helm is like not seeing your dad greet you in the morning when you walk in the kitchen for some cereal. United is my home. I’m sorry but United is not just another football club to be run well with good infrastructure, stadium, etc. We are the most romantic side in history, drama, players that have gone in folklore and we play in the Theatre of Dreams, for crying out aloud.

    Moyes for all his credit, has not been associated with anything that has made United so endearing to the planet. Having said that, I do, like many, wish him the best. May this new era bring many more smiles and spilled beers. I hope the new manager does his utmost to continue the irreplaceable story of Man Utd.

  21. kel says:

    After thorough thoughts of it, I knew why Fergie quit now. He saw Moyes contract finishing, Fergie age is not getting younger too, so he plans to retire and command/ teaches Moyes if he needed in a few years. This way Fergie is still around. Rather than retiring a few years later and by then its a bit too late due to Fergie age to help the club goes on.

    This is masterplan. Although im sad to see Fergie leave, but he has United in his heart even when he retired. Thank you fergie, thank you for helping the club and wants the best even when you retire.

    Sir Alex Ferguson=Manchester United.

  22. NBI Red Onion says:

    People are fools – do you not know most player are mercenaries, a few take both money and prestige into account, but bottom line is this if United competes financially players will come – its money fools – look at the city player signed under Mark Hughes – you think they gave a fck who he was?

    United will sign players if:

    - they have the money, money, money – and looking the increasing commercial revenue deals they will
    - in ADDITION to money money money, a FEW players we sign will want to play for a famous top club

    Anyone who thinks the manager matters other than as an afterthought after money and fame of Club is a fool.

  23. NBI Red Onion says:

    are people seriously suggesting we went for moyes over maureen the bitch as he wasa cheaper – as you completely fcking stupid?

    Under Glazers we bought Berba for 30mn, RVP for 25mn, we even bought bloody Ashley Young for 17mn – we made Rooney highest paid player in England are you bloody stupid or just delusional.


    Get that through your thick heads.

  24. NBI Red Onion says:

    Also wasn’t Maureen at one time saying the virus was the biggest and best club in the world, oh yes many times and he’s come to United, say the same insincere shit, go to Chelsea and say how he wants love, makes me puke, he has done shit all with RM other than destroy morale and fracture the Club, it’s all about him, he would come here and in 10 mins he would be playing his stupid divide and rule dressing room games, Maureen expects worship, if he does not get it he is a very nasty man

    I have never once heard SAF go on about himself and how many titles he has won, he always talks about the club success, the teams success, Maureen here would not say United won the title, it would be HE won it, the cunt

  25. NBI Red Onion says:

    ok, I am done now, cup of tea

  26. NBI Red Onion says:

    No I’m not done – hold the tea,

    People forget Maureen FAILED In his last two years at Chelsea, we beat him and got our title back in his second last season, in his last season he left Chelsea mid table and bloody Avram Grant got them to the final and into the top 4.

    The way RM have been playing, in a stronger league they would be struggling for a CL place, RM are going backwards, the gap between them and a weaker Barca team is growing when it should be shrinking

    Any good motivator can inspire a team for one year, but only a genuine manager who players respect as a man, can get the best out of players year after year, that is what SAF and Moyes can do, Maureen is a one year glamour puss, he has also been luckier than people give credit for, yes he did well at Porto but that was an odd year where he won the CL, would his then Porto beat Barca or Bayern or even us now.

    Also, look at some of the players Ranieri had bought and the core of the Chelsea team and the budget he had, he had Terry, Lampard, Cole, Drogba, Robben, these are world class players

    Maureen is a good coach in one off games, he is not that impressive in the leagues, his teams tend to drain away over time as he does not know how to rebuild and maintain other than winge about buying players

    Also I can see why Roman hated him at the end, the guy acted like a victim and pretended he had delivered all the success

    Porto, Chelsea, Inter, RM, were already teams at the top of the leagues – when Maureen takes a team from mid table or bottom to the top, like Klopp or Benitez or SAF – then we will see what he can do, but a guy who walks into the top teams in a country does not have that much to do, Avram Grant showed that, and look who won the CL at Chelsea

  27. SP14 says:

    I think some of the views are short sighted, Mourinho is not a United man. Yes, he wins you champions leagues, but he doesn’t immerse himself in the culture of a club. We are a football family, and due to that we need a man who can come in and be the head of that family. Sir Alex was never glamorous, and I think any fan who thinks Mourinho is right for us, perhaps doesn’t understand the culture of our football club. Yes we must win trophies and be competing at the top, but we do it with class, hard work and steely determination. This differentiates us from other football clubs. This is the reason David Moyes is the man for the job.

  28. Norman-85 says:

    @NBI Red Onion

    …….and breathe……. :-)

  29. Canada says:

    Great article, sums up a lot of what I’ve been thinking about the new gaffer and who’s still got a hand in pulling the strings.

    Good god the hand wringing on here is abysmal!
    Are you really holding it against Moyes that he hasn’t won the league yet? Who has? Utd, Arsenal, Moneybags 1(Blackburn), Moneybags 2(Chelsea) and Moneybags 3(City). Wow, if this Moyes guy couldn’t beat that lot on limited funds he must be crap.

    Well he hasn’t been perennially in the Champions League………… know, qualifying up against the above lot and the other Scouse’s, minus the one year wonders.

    Cmon, get a grip people.

  30. King Eric says:

    SP14 – Absolutely nail on the head pal.


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