After 2 years as co-manager and 6 years as the full manager of the reserve team, Warren Joyce called an end to his time at the club after taking up the role of Wigan Athletic manager.
There are no hard feelings seeing Joyce leave, after all, managing at youth level is a tricky and ever-changing job. Forever losing his greatest talents out on loan or up to the first-team, Joyce’s resources have always been plucked from his grasp.
As much as he will be pleased to see his players progress, he then has the task to replace them from within the club and continue the cycle. Warren did this fantastically well, churning out the best from his player and always getting results; winning 104 of his 176 matches in charge. Resulting in; 4 Lancashire Senior Cups, 5 Manchester Senior Cups and 5 Reserve Premier League titles.
However, this season things are a lot different. This is one of the weakest squads Joyce has had to work with and his frustrations have shown, most notably his angry outburst after losing 2-0 down at Southampton, calling some of his players “deluded” as to where they are at. He has been starved of a striker and the results have shown just that.
Previously Joyce had turned down the Hull job in 2011 and was also linked to Blackburn this summer, however Wigan seems to be a good fit for Warren and despite struggling in the Championship this season, they have a good platform for him to build from.
Joyce’s assertiveness and resolve could always be heard from the touchline at reserve games. No matter how big the name or the ego of the player, they would always obey the man in the shorts as he instilled respect and belief into his teams.
His greatest asset was how grounded he kept his players. Producing 40 first-team debuts for the club he made sure each player kept their heads in check and assured them they had not ‘made it’. A job which grows far more difficult in the modern day.
One of the prime examples of this is Marcus Rashford who takes everything in his stride and always has a humble aura. Joyce’s coaching and influence would have been the main reason for this, as shown in others such as Borthwick-Jackson, Michael Keane and Jesse Lingard etc. Down to earth hard working footballers who embody Joyce’s ethos.
Looking ahead, Nicky Butt is now in temporary charge as well as maintaining his role of head of Academy. He may take the role permanently but will most likely recruit someone new, McKenna is doing exceptionally well with the under-18s but he will not want to disrupt their progress, so he may yet turn to his fellow Class of 92 members.
You can almost certainly expect to see a few reserve team players go out on loan to Wigan in January, with Axel Tuanzebe and Joe Riley most likely top of Warren’s wishlist. Some older players who have worked with Joyce for the whole of their careers may even follow him on a more permanent basis, Josh Harrop or El Fitouri may yet follow Joyce to the DW.
Joyce’s finest season at the club was last year and will be remembered well, winning the title so dramatically. If the reserves side pick up a new head coach with half the amount of coaching nouse and man management skills as Joyce then they will do just fine. Good luck Warren.
Last Matches: Tottenham 1-1 United (Riley, Harrison)
United hold out for a point in an early kick off at Enfield training centre which saw Sean Goss return to the side and assist Joe Riley for the opening goal. But the side were pegged back later on by Shayon Harrison as the points were shared.
Line up: Henderson, Williams, Tuanzebe, Poole, Riley, Goss, El Fitouri, Olosunde, Willock, Harrop, Redmond
Subs: O’Hara, Scott, Warren (Olosunde), Kehinde (Goss), Mitchell (Harrop)
Brentford 3-2 United (Alves, Mepham 2, Riley, Goss)
United began life without Warren Joyce going down 3-2 at Griffin Park in a friendly with Brentford. A poor first hour saw the side 3-0 down, despite goals from Riley and Goss they could not find an equaliser. The reds next face Sunderland on the 21st November.
Line up: O’Hara, El Fitouri, Williams, Poole, Riley, Goss, Olasunde, Willock, Redmond, Kehinde, Mitchell
Subs: Johnstone, Doughty (Mitchell), Scott (Olasunde), Roberts (El Fitouri), Bohui (Kehinde)
Sunderland [H] / Mon 21st November / Leigh Sports Village / 7pm