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Should Moyes have had more time?

Had David Moyes showed signs of progress during his first season as Manchester United manager it is likely that the board and fans would have shown more patience.

The club were determined not to become a “sacking club” so persevered with Moyes longer than any other club would. To drop six places after spending £60m is an awful return and despite Moyes’ claims today that the squad needed “fundamental rebuilding”, these players were good enough to win the league weeks before the end of the season last year.

There were some mitigating factors, of course. Robin van Persie was United’s star man last season and has been injured for large chunks of this season. It would be foolish to claim this didn’t have an impact and would have hampered whichever manager was in charge.

Also, other teams spent wisely in the summer and brought in quality players to strengthen, so the sides United finished 11 points above last season don’t exist anymore.

Still, whilst this was a “transitional” period for United, something else Moyes was keen to emphasise in his statement today, it’s important to remember that four of the six teams above us changed their manager this season. Of course, the manager before them hadn’t been in post for almost three decades before them though. But still, none of these teams have gone backwards, with the exception of Spurs, who are two points worse off than at this stage last year, after replacing Andre Villas-Boas with Tim Sherwood. You know, Sherwood, the fella who had zero managerial experience, but is still six points clear of where Moyes left last year’s champions.

At the end of February, Gianluca Vialli said that “David Moyes, in Italy, would have been sacked three times now.” At the time, United were on 45 points, which is 23 points behind where they were at the same point last season. We’re not in Italy though and United wanted to set themselves away from the culture of sacking, and weren’t our fans proud of that. We didn’t want to associate ourselves with that sort of behaviour and the fan that circled a few weeks ago, with a ‘Moyes Out’ banner, was jeered by some sections of the crowd and met with chants for Moyes.

But just how determined can someone be to stick to not sacking an under-performing manager? Where is the cut off point? For the fans and sections of the media, like Gary Neville, who claim Moyes needed more time, could the same be said if we were 10th now? 15th? Relegation zone? If we were about to go down to the Championship after a season of Moyes, would it then be acceptable for him to keep his job, just so we can say we’re not a sacking club? Where do you draw the line?

Since I first became resigned to the fact Moyes was not ever going to be good enough to be United manager, as I left the home game against Fulham, I have repeatedly been asked what the club should do if this time next year, under a new manager, we are struggling again.

‘Do you want us to become like Chelsea?’ is something I get asked a lot too. Well, if over the next decade we win three league titles, a European Cup, four FA Cups and two League Cups, I probably won’t be complaining, no. But their short-sighted approach with managers costs money that United don’t have. There’s no forward thinking there but they don’t need to have it, as Roman Abramovich is happy to shell out the dosh. When you’re in as much debt as we are, thanks to the Glazers, you can’t afford to splash £100m every year without any consideration for five years down the line.

But even with their numerous sackings, were Chelsea wrong to bin Scolari? Grant? Villas-Boas? Sometimes managers just aren’t cut out for the job. If United were to sack the manager the season after winning the double, as Chelsea disgracefully did with Carlo Ancelotti, then I’d be disgusted. If United sacked the manager because he finished 2nd after winning the title in the two consecutive seasons before that, as Chelsea did with Jose Mourinho, I’d be embarrassed. But there’s no shame is sacking someone like Moyes, like Scolari, like Villas-Boas, when they show no signs of being able to turn things around.

If next season United have a manager who has experienced success in the past, proving that they are capable of creating a title winning team, then they will be afforded more patience than Moyes. Our former manager should have been at least one club away from being on United’s radar. His CV was nowhere near impressive enough.

When Ferguson was given the job, he’d won three league titles, six domestic trophies and two European trophies (one after beating Real Madrid, the other after beating European champions Hamburg), in the space of six years. As champions of England, that is the calibre of manager we should have demanded when Ferguson left, but instead we took a gamble and it didn’t pay off. The next manager needs to have been there and done it before, and if he has, that means he deserves time to settle, just like Fergie did.

If the next manager stabilises the club, brings in a few quality players, and gets the team playing good football regularly enough, then I’d be happy enough with a top four finish. As long as the club is heading in the right direction, then what we actually win or where abouts we finish isn’t of ultimate importance to me, as long as we’ve got Champions League football waiting for us.

The sooner we can put this nightmare behind us, the better.

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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170 Comments

  1. Blacksocks says:

    How about RVP for captain next season?

  2. Sparkz says:

    @Jose – spot on.

    I said yesterday that Smalling and Evans, provided they stay fit and get a consistent run, will be our future partnership at the back. Need an experienced head alongside them atm but long-term I still see them as the combination. That’s why I’d like us to sign a centre back in his late 20’s or even early 30’s…….someone who can provide experience, stability and a commanding presence for a couple of years while the younger guys develop.

    I also think Evans, as well as being a top defender, is our future captain. Would personally give him the armband next season if he can be trusted to stay fit.

  3. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Blacksocks, it’s a tough one to call. I dismiss players like Rooney and Evans and then with our longest serving defensive trio probably all on the way out you start thinking who’s left to make captain. I really don’t know. I’m resigned to it being Rooney, but I hate the thought of him leading us out every game.

  4. Trafford_Lord says:

    Gary

    Mate, no worries…He’s not many peoples cuppa. My beef with him is his sicknote sheet, he spends more time on the table than on the pitch. That can’t be good for anybody’s development. Captain? Bah, who knows! As far as I am concerned only Giggs has the stuff of being captain but he can’t play all the games and really should be transitioning into a coaching staff role.

    It’s not Rooney…not captain material. I still have the picture of him bellowing nonsense to Welbeck at Bayern.

    If Evra stays…you don’t want him to be captain. It would be embarrassing that teams will mostly attack captains side of the field as a weak point.

    Fletcher…No for me. He did a lot of talking during Moyes reign, not enough on the pitch. I am glad he is back but captain can’t be squad member..must be 1st team

    If its Van Gaal…it will probably be RVP.

  5. Jose says:

    im ok with RVP too as captain.anyone else but rooney im content.
    I had my fears tht moyes was going to give it to rooney but now the chances of tht happening are slim esp if its going to be lvg as our next manager

  6. The_red_devils says:

    For captain, mata would be a good option too, though a bit quiet guy but oozes class.

    Personally i don’t understand the hype around the captain thing, you don’t need a arm band to lead a team.

  7. Mark Reid says:

    Giggs all the way the chaps a winner.

  8. WeAreUnitedd says:

    @ash I will go piece to piece, but the beauty of this is that we both want the same thing and support the club, so I am enjoying the debate, although it is a heated one haha. anyway

    I HOPE and wish you read my comment.

    “Dude you said Ibra would die for mournho , all I said is the same Ibra badmouthed pep when he was in Ac Milan. Ibra was never comfortable with pep now does that mean pep also cannot handle big players.”

    He badmouthed because Pep did not play him but builded it around Messi and Ibra was shut on cold, he did not even say hello anymore, so YES Pep can handle big names, but that time, he handled it differently since he just did not respect Ibra for a reason aor another,
    Let me ask you a question.
    WHAT DID Moyes do with Rooney? he gave him 300k and got sacked. WHAT DID Pep do? He sold Ibra and made Barcelona the all time best team there has been. point made.

    “You are beating the same drum that players could not play for moyes as he was shit, now by this logic players look more bad.” NO, it tells us that Moyes did not have what it takes.

    “What is he use of being a. Champion if you can’t adjust when situation is against. It’s like as line as you were winning you were all happy and ready to play but the moment a incompetent manager comes players also decided ok let’s fuck this”
    HOW do you know they said lets fuck this? didn’t we have the best away record with Moyes?

    “And let me tell you when I am talking about players I am talking about our senior player,”
    To be honest mate, I somehow ignored it, And you know what? Senior palyers have been for a long time here. so they smelled something, ALSO there is no evidence that they did what all are saying, it is paper talk, until it’s proven different, AND if GIGGSY did it, I respetc Giggsy more than Moyes. ALSO wich senior? Carrick RVP Rooney -> INjured Rio -> played 10 games? Vidic?-> left, Evra as shit as always btu brilliant.

    ” you are doing is giving certain players a free pass, buddy they are 30+ champion players you are talking about ”

    Exactly, I feel you, YEs the yshould have respected it more, but once again it’s onyl paper talk and our senior players well the ydid not play that much bar Rooney Evra and Vidic.

    “Let me tell you , my whole point of this debate with you is I do t want us to feel that just because sacking moyes will take us to the top of Europe. We need rebuilding. ”

    IT WILL, why? because we never really were a team outside of top 4 Europe, but this wrong one Moyes made us midtable. SO YES Van Gaal Klopp SImeone whoever it is, it will bring us straight to europe. ALSO yes we need building, take the deadwood and etc, we knwo the drill.

    “We need change and it must happen soon.”

    spot on son, and with Moyes the change was negative, if it was mourinho or whoever else betetr than moyes, we still would be top 4-5 fighting for CL, this is my idea, that without Moyes we would have been top 4 at least!

    peace

  9. UtdSenna says:

    No he should’ve gone earlier. The Glazer fuck was so greedy they couldn’t kick him earlier. If Utd changed manager earlier in the season they might have improved and got 4th place. I’m glad he didn’t have time to fuck up our youth system and drain the whole club in his shit views on football. Thank fuck he is gone. Only bright spot in this terrbile season is watching Giggs coaching in the last few games.

  10. MrC says:

    @NBI Red , 21April 24, 2014 at 10:45. An absolutely stellar, thoughtful comment, well said. Covers everything that needs to be said about Moyes. The man simply cannot face up to his own shortcomings and is a serial blame shifter.

  11. ashtheking says:

    Weareunited

    Cheers for the reply. Always liked your passion about our team that’s why having a debate ith you , nothing heated or personal buddy :)

    Now there are hating that you say I agree and there are thing I absolutely don’t agree. But I won’t mention each thing I don’t agree but will highlight the thing that I want to correct you the is that when I say top In Europe I mean being the best in the world. Yes with better manager we will again be in top 4 with ease but that’s not what I was saying, I want to see our team compete with the bayern a and madrids. You can’t deny this buddy in last 4 years we have been second best while facing a top European club. Last time we were really the best In Europe was in 2007-2009, that’s the united I want to see. So if you look at that matter yes we need rebuilding. Can’t compete with this side. Yes we almost knocked Madrid out last year and did really well against bayern is year but the truth is we have not dominated them.

    Yes the process of rebuilding has started by sacking moyes as we couldn’t have reached at that level with moyes, but we can’t ratchet here even with the same squad. Need some changes, not whole sole changes but like you yourself said in other post that we need to ship 8-9 players, so yes we need rebuilding. It will be a gradual process but I believing in our club and we wild omi ate the world football but first let’s appoint a strong manager. I would have take a. Klopp but I will prefer van gaal or ancelotti

  12. ashtheking says:

    There are points that I agree

    Ipadd

  13. WeAreUnitedd says:

    @Ash

    cheers and I am not a knobhead so I won’t go jus tfor the sake of it and now because yo uexplained the top of europe and I misunderstood it I agree 100% with this

    ” last 4 years we have been second best while facing a top European club. Last time we were really the best In Europe was in 2007-2009, that’s the united I want to see. So if you look at that matter yes we need rebuilding. Can’t compete with this side.”

    And my idea is to ship those 9 players, bring 2 CM 1 LB maybe 1 LM/Rm/RB and then5-6 youngster.

    And to be honest, the best way to get to that top is getting Van Gaal, who is good in making foundation and getting youth in and getting great players is that give him 2-3 years and then bring Klopp or Pep (who won’t be 10 years at bayern so after Barca and Bayerm the only logical way is ManUtd)

    anyway, yo usee we agree in this point, the onyl point where we agree to disagree is the fault, but the best part of it is that we got rid of the nice man and now it’s a fresh point

    AND CHeers that you agreed on some points, as you could see, there were alot of points that made my point and you could realise why I don’t fault the players that much and give them the benefit of the doubt

    anyway! it was nice having a chat and we certainly will continue it later, hopefull on who to buy Kroos or Carvalho :P haha meaning that we are in the op and competingagainst the best.

  14. Dev says:

    Haven’t seen you around in a while now Costas. Good to see you back.

  15. Big Vex says:

    No, and I’m tired of all this sympathy he is getting, for what? He made us look like an embarrassing club for game after game and I’m so glad he’s gone.

  16. NBI Red 21 says:

    I genuinely hate Maureen now for planning to play a weak team against Liverpool and bascially give the scouse bastards the title. SOB.

  17. oohahhrom says:

    @wayne barker

    “The champions to 7th argument doesn’t work with me i’m not going to argue the point because I don’t care what anyone says,if Utd had been missing RVP for most of last season along with Rooney and Carrick missing for a big chunk added to all the other injuries Moyes has had to deal with no fucking way Utd would’ve won the league last year.”

    WE’VE WON FIVE OUT OF THE LAST SEVEN TITLES. The other two were lost ON GOAL DIFFERENCE and by ONE POINT. Most of those seasons WE DID NOT HAVE VAN PERSIE.

    To go from champions to un-champions isn’t the problem. TO GO TO SEVENTH FROM SUCH CONSISTENT HEIGHTS is the problem. You really think an injury can explain it? Simpleton logic.

    ALL TEAMS HAVE INJURIES. All teams have setbacks and bad decisions and bad luck. NONE OF THAT COMES CLOSE TO EXPLAINING THE DECLINE.

    And if wayne wants Giggs as manager, why are people agreeing? Wayne called Moyes the most underrated manager in football!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And rated Fellaini above Thiago. The guy is a clown. No troll could dream of being as wrong.

    Giggs is qualified because he’s wanted to be a manager for years and learnt from the best. Why hasn’t Hughes succeeded? Or Keane, who leant from both Ferguson and Clough?

    United tried the continuity game with Moyes. It failed spectacularly, yet wayne barker wants to try it again, but with someone who hasn’t managed. Maybe a lot of Moyes’ failings would be rectified by Giggs, but the guy has no managerial experience. Sure he’s achieved more than, say Van Gaal, but NOT AS A MANAGER.

    Do you just not want a foreigner managing United? Just glad Klopp has ruled himself out, cause we don’t want to see hardman wayne barker beat him up, like he said he wanted to. On the internet. What a tough guy.

  18. Martin Thomas says:

    Anyone else notice Mourinho’s manner at the post Athletico press conference?
    Saying he was ‘The manager… Nothing more…’ and that he had to take orders about his own team from others within Chelsea FC (ie: The Russian Sugar Daddy). Definitely not the Jose of old. I wonder is he trying to provoke Abramovich in some way? Does Mourinho want out already for some reason?

    Just supposing Liverpool or City win the title, and eiher Real or Bayern win the CL… Where does that leave Mourinho? Will Chelsea sack him? Does he still want the job at Old Trafford?

  19. Tommy says:

    I support the club in whatever stance they chose, they chose to get rid so thats what happens, I fail to see why you keep taking pot shots, you got what you wanted so just leave it alone!

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