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What do the fans make of Moyes’ appointment?

Daniel HarrisThe Guardian and On the Road: A Journey Through a Season

Seems odd to admit to it now, but I’d always kind of looked forward to the post-Fergie era. New stuff is exciting, United are exciting, and I was interested in whether a fresh perspective could retain what was best about the old regime and introduce a few new bits. Now, not so much.

David Moyes is a good manager, but does not, in any remote way, merit the job. That’s not to say he can’t be brilliant at it – of course he can – and being hard, Glaswegian, and apparently decent, are decent characteristics. But under him, Everton consistently bottled big games and never won away to United, Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea, realities that are not mitigated by a few excellent signings and runs. Consider that for Fergie to prove himself worthy, he needed to smash the Old Firm and win in Europe, with Aberdeen – when United were shit.

My choice to replace him was Solskjaer as manager with Neville as coach, all the more so now we know that previous achievements wasn’t necessary, and given that I’ve no financial imperative riding on its success. And in that context, it’s amazing that they’ve not picked Mourinho, who, from a purely financial perspective, is the outstanding candidate. Perhaps he was deemed too expensive, an economy so false that even George Osborne might understand it, or perhaps the wily old so-and-so we’re told recommended the appointment didn’t fancy being usurped quite yet. Would anyone have been all that shocked to see Mourinho dominate Old Trafford and equal Ferg’s European Cup tally within five seasons?

Either way, the rest are relieved. They may be wrong to be, but where Mourinho would have inherited the fear factor and augmented it with his own, for the moment, the very notion of it makes Moyes look a little silly. No one is expecting him to extract victories from players who look like they’re trying to lose on purpose, and no one is signing for United for the privilege of playing for him. In a way that’s ok, because they’re not, but it’s unlikely to help to begin with.

I really hope it works – it could, and the existing squad and infrastructure mean he has a chance – but it’s an almighty punt. It’s not hard to see Moyes as Ferg, minus the genius and charisma, and very hard to pick the places in which he might compensate for what’s missing. Though he’d better, because the alternative is not pretty.

Terry ChristianImagine FM

My biggest fear was that United might go for Mourinho – and I’m quite shocked at the number of United fans who seemed to really want him. I’ve no doubt that Mourinho would have won maybe the league next year with United , but I’m not sure he’s got the staying power and the understanding of what football means to grass roots United fans who’ve been following the club for a long time through thick and thin.

The amazing 20 years of success under Ferguson has changed the mindset of our fans , but that 20 years of success was built on the foundations of continuity and pragmatism and the reality that no player or manager – not even Sir Alex himself is bigger than Manchester United. Mourinho would have loved to manage at Old Trafford and I’ll sometimes wonder if it might not have been a whole new era of glory at Old Trafford – but would it have been an era of glory for Mourinho or for Manchester United and how much would it cost us as a club in the long run, how much of our soul would have gone.

Even a few years back when people asked me who I’d like to see replace Sir Alex my automatic two choices were always Martin O’Neill and David Moyes (still can’t quite believe what’s happened to O’Neill ). David Moyes has worked miracles at Everton and I’m surprised other clubs like Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and especially Liverpool haven’t been in for him already. There is a fixation with Europe and this idea of dominating Europe for years, but to do that you need a side with a Messi, an Iniesta a Xavi and those players are extremely thin on the ground and I think Moyes will crack that particular nut once he’s had a season to settle in.

Moyes will have the bit between his teeth and will pull out all the stops to make United a success – what he achieved at Preston was amazing and he was unfortunate not to get them in the Premier League. Again at Everton, although he’s spent money and wheelered and dealered, they still on paper had no right to do as well as they have.

Moyes is at United for the long haul and I believe he will shock everyone. He’s no stranger to hard work and he’s got the guts to take on an impossible job after Ferguson, that itself speaks volumes for his character and the fact that he was first and foremost in Ferguson’s mind as his successor says a lot for him. I think in appointing Moyes Manchester United have shown some real class and also proved that they really are planning for the long term.

I look forward to him proving the doubters and they’ll be plenty wrong. I’m confident that we have got the only real candidate who ticks every box – in two or three years we’ll forget he ever managed anyone else, there’s something about him that’s United through and through.

Sam Pilger – FourFour Two and Manchester United Best XI

How do I feel about David Moyes’s appointment? Distinctly underwhelmed and more than a little nervous. He hasn’t done enough to deserve this job. He’s never managed in the Champions League, never managed a genuinely big name player, and you know, never actually won anything major in football.

I always assumed whoever succeeded Ferguson would have won more than promotion with Preston North End.

“Cut from the same cloth” is the cliche used to compare Moyes with Ferguson, but aside from being Scottish, what is this cloth? Ferguson is a winner, and Moyes hasn’t proved he is yet.

Barney ChiltonRed News fanzine

What a 24 hours. What a week. What a year.

We joke that Manchester United is a soap opera, but this seemed almost too frenzied even for us; where Wayne Rooney’s second alleged transfer request could be downgraded to a ‘mere’ glance away from the main events. Where in the space of 55 weeks or so we have had a league in our hands, lost it, won it again, had it snatched away in circumstances akin to when your bollocks get the full force of a football struck right at them and in true Govanor fashion, immediately responded by reclaiming it back.

However much May 2012 haunted, and will leave a scar, to be at this point where it already seems so much less of a dull ache is incredible. And we know who we have to thank for that. Who we have to thank for so many things. If we started our eulogies, we’d never stop. We all know what he means, what he did. He changed our lives, it’s the most simple but apt thing I can say.

The Red News lad who does our gossip has impeccable sources and got the nod last November that this was no drill; it looked like Fergie was off in May, and he tipped Moyes, at a time when everyone was talking just Guardiola and ‘Jose’, or nothing at all, and Moyes be his replacement. It was quite some scoop and uncanny – a few lads lumped on, I didn’t. I’d like to say because I refused to believe it. Probably because I’m a crap gambler as well.

But all along I just didn’t want to believe it. Even when ‘it’ happened. Like a startled rabbit when speculation grew and United refused to answer the phones signifying something was amiss, I wanted to regress to a kid and hide under the duvet. Make it all go away. But that’s selfish. This was inevitable. He had to go at some time, and better for him, and us, that it’s this time, as good and as right time as any. Because there was never going to be a completely perfect time – carry on and there was only the completely wrong time as life could come along and play its tricks on him.

So who next? We all partly buzzed off the Mourinho impact – what he could do, how he could do it. Some said he was born for United – didn’t we think that about Dimi?- and whilst I’m not quite so sure of that, he would have given us as great a chance of winning the European Cup in the next two years as any. But he’s a short burning – though dramatic to watch – fuse. Some think he’d change his habits, suddenly find his home like Eric and stay here. We do not know. And it was a risk. It could start the procession if he got itchy feet.

So we sided with stability, and the hope that an impressive CV steps up to become a United CV. If Fergie is happy with his choice – and the key thing is, it is his choice – then so am I. I’m not skipping in the street, dancing at his arrival, but I’m not crestfallen, but the stoicism upon his arrival might just have something to do with the fact that I’m still trying to digest the events of this past remarkable year, let alone the shock of this week.

United never stands still. So we’re expected to recover from this huge departure – with so many of our fans knowing nothing but him in charge (and that is a concern for the patience that David Moyes must be afforded) – and then immediately restart the engine for the next one. We will do. We do never stop still. Too right, but whilst life at United is never dull, there are occasions when you wish it was.

I still feel gutted about Fergie’s departure. That will pass. I do actually think all things considered that David Moyes is the best man for the job. Time will tell. But he needs our time now.

Musa OkwongaThe Independent and A Cultured Left Foot

Eek. That was my first thought at the appointment of David Moyes as Manchester United manager. But the message from Old Trafford is clear, and perhaps compelling: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. After all, it’s not as though the current squad aren’t used to a Glaswegian disciplinarian itching to ridicule his doubters.

Continuity is the watchword here, and maybe it should be. After all, long after Mourinho’s departure from Stamford Bridge in the 2007-09 season, his core of Chelsea players were still challenging for titles. This squad of players have all had their first taste of a Premier League title, and there’s nothing – least of all
a manager with a whole new coaching team and outlook – that will get in the way of the conveyor belt that will bear another. At least, that seems to be the club’s philosophy.

Nooruddean Choudry

The objective view of Moyes’ appointment is that it defies reasonable logic. The most successful manager in British football history is to be replaced by a man whose solitary trinket in a 15 year career is a Second Division title. Perhaps more damning, there’s a strong possibility that the new manager of Manchester United will be replaced at Everton by someone with a more impressive CV. Consider that for a moment. Let it sink in.

Thing is though, I don’t much care about all that. I’m happy with the choice. It’s pleasingly unfashionable and appeals to the footballing romantic in me. I watch bad video footage of Alex Ferguson’s first day at Old Trafford and it feels like an appointment of that era. The kind of news I could see Elton Welsby announcing on local television. In an age of global sporting franchises, it seems ridiculously parochial. We’ve tirelessly scoured the whole of the Granada region for days and found David Moyes. He wouldn’t even need to move house.

I should be dismayed. I should feel cheated and infuriated that the global superpower and Glazer cash cow that’s the club I love is settling for a man with everything to prove. The cheap option chosen to navigate us through an age of austerity. But to me it doesn’t feel like a Tampa Bay call or an appointment by committee. It feels like a football decision by a football man. The greatest football man. There are many reasons why appointing Mourinho or a young star on the rise like Laudrup or Klopp would make more sense. But after 26 years and 38 trophies, we should trust in Fergie one last time.

Moyes’ appointment means the nationalities of every single manager in our history still fit neatly into an Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman joke. Let’s hope Sir Alex has the last laugh with his very final wish.


I’m pretty positive about David Moyes, more than many reds I’ve spoken to. Only a good manager gets his team to consistently outperform their financial resources. I like having a manager who sees that the club is bigger than him and someone whose career shows a willingness to become immersed in a football club, to commit for the long term. One of the best aspects of English football is the role of manager as opposed to just “coach” and Moyes fits that bill. Perhaps he’s a bit old school and that’s what appeals, but then so is SAF.

Can he continue Fergie’s success? It’s impossible to say, but he can clearly build a team, get good things out of players and operate on a limited transfer budget (and for all our riches that’s all the Glazers will give him). People say he’s won nothing, but sadly that’s modern English football. Financially weaker clubs can’t really expect to win trophies, except an occasional cup (and he came close to one of those in 2009). So my glass is half full.

Ed BarkerUnited Rant

David Meh. I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by Moyes’ appointment as United manager. Sure, he had stabilised Everton at as time when when the club has been eclipsed by those with greater wealth. Yes, he’s a tactical innovator and modern thinker. True, he is the safe PR choice, especially compared to Jose Mourinho. But it is impossible to argue that Moyes is the most qualified man for the job. In fact the so – called over achievement at Everton looks less impressive when put in the context of money. Moyes’ average Premier League finishing position is 8th. Everton’s average financial position in the ‘Money League’ is also 8th. Improvement on that League position in recent years has come at the expense of debt. He should get on with well with the Glazers then.

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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  1. everydayislikesunday says:

    If we look at it in big black and white terms(which is probably not the right thing to do, but heh?) Moyes represents tradition and continuity, and Jose represents naked success. We went for the continuity in the hope that it will translate ino success, rather than go for the trophies and hope to God the egotist doesn’t start rattling cages and causing ructions (which he’s done everywere else he’s been). Choudry’s comment above about Moyes coming from an Elton Welsby age is spot on. We’ve made a FOOTBALL CLUB appointment, not hired another celebrity to judge Pop Idol

  2. Trydent says:

    @Harris-you should be delivering the papers as you are not qualified to write in them.Why on earth would you suggest the boss is only concerned with his own records. Do you seriously suggest that the decision to ignore maureen is down to your inane comment about the Boss being usurped in European competition?Cunts like you make me puke!

  3. Austin Anthony says:

    Moyes is indeed a good coach which we all knows.But can he assume the position of fergie?

  4. FletchTHEMAN says:

    If am fairly happy about Moyes but really do wonder what we were looking for.

    1. Manager that Glazers/Woodward can control
    2. Manager who will value youth products and build on our already advanced development network.
    3. Understand the club line, ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED as a CEO of a fortune 500 type company.

    1. Might have enough to get us to 21 or an FA Cup.

    1. Have a prayer in hell of ever winning a Champions league.

    The reality is that CLs are just too fickle to bank on. If the CL was the major target, then we would not have gone for Moyes. In this light, we can see EXACTLY what the Glazers are about. CL knockout stages are worth 40-50M. The prem will be worth 100M next year.

    Champions of England >>>>> Champions of Europe, is the business model we are in lads. Like it or not.

    Funny, but I am fine with that!

    So what would be success for Moyes
    1. He could win us a Shield in his first game with the club (it will be either v Wigan or City as winners of the FA Cup)
    2. Depending, we might focus on FA Cup next year.
    3. A top 3 finish in the EPL
    4. CL knockouts would be viewed as keeping in the Fergie mold.

    Think there is lots of room for optimism that one of these 4 goals would be achieved. We will see.

    Another major question is whether Moyes and Woodward can actually close a major deal this year.

    I say Woodward, because loosing Fergie doesn’t say half of what Gill also brings to the table.

    I would actually wager that a major signing this summer (Falcao, Strootman etc) or next is AS big a TEST, as achieving success on the pitch. Wonder if any of you agree. Fergies 1st signing was Viv Anderson, who had been with Nottingham Forest and Arsenal (Viv had won the league and 2 European cups). As big as signing Rio if he was prized away from us right now. Wonder who will be Moyes 1st signing.

  5. FletchTHEMAN says:

    *** I am fairly happy about Moyes ****

  6. BerbaGod says:

    Moyes and next season really excites me, can see it being a bit of roller coaster – full of highs, lows and near misses! It’s the beginning of a new era with Moyesy and Woodward taking over from Fergie and Gill. Think we need to be patient and not expect everything straight away but thats not to say we should not expect to be challenging.

  7. everydayislikesunday says:


    If Moyes isn’t competing for the league within the first two years he’s gone. He will be expected to step up to the United plate. We’re not turning into Everton; the transformation requirement is that he turn into a winning manager

  8. BerbaGod says:

    Just as long as he doesn’t bring Fellaini anywhere near Old Trafford, it would kill me a little bit to see him in a United shirt.

    United have to be challenging for honours both domestically and in Europe – it’s the minimum expectation.

  9. FletchTHEMAN says:


    I don’t agree. I think very similar criteria will be used to measure Moyes as were used to measure Fergie over his first 4 years at the club.

    If the club sees Moyes busting a gut in every aspect of the business like Fergie was, they will not cut him at 2 years unless there was something else. A media disaster like Ron Atkinson for example.

    To ask why the Glazers/Woodward chose Moyes, you also have to ask why they did not choose someone like Mourinho.

    I imagine THAT question will lead you to many more interesting insights into the Glazers/Woodward than you will find asking about Moyes.

    For me, it is pretty obvious. Woodward did not feel he could control Mourinho! Our business plan is not about CL success. It is about a business plan that grows steadily

    6year contract says alot. Sure he could be gone in 2, but I’ll wager that won’t happen with Moyes.

  10. Jay says:

    Moyes is not going to get an easy ride, Manchester United are expecting to win the league next season and that should not change because Moyes has been appointed. People saying a top four finish will be a reasonable achievement need to get that kind of thinking out of their mind, we are not Everton, Spurs or Arsenal, do you think Robin van Persie would of signed for us if he thought our ambitions were to make the top four he might as well have stayed at Arsenal or sign for Manchester City. I’ll only accept second place in the league as reasonable for Moyes and CL quarter final.

  11. NBI Red Onion says:

    Moyes won the second division with preston north end yes. Cup competitions are always a bit of a gamble.

    People forget though that Everton was near relegation when he took over and that he got the into a Champions league place as well and into Europa league places. So he did break into the top 4 and does have some European experience though not year in. Could a better manager have beaten cash rich, Chelsea, us, Arsenal and new rich City, I think this league is too strong for that with too many good teams even at the bottom they can play. Everton has a small but good first team squad who play every game and are usually dead on their feet by the end of the season. Also if Everton had been able to keep players like Rooney and Arteta and buy and keep a few world class ones they would be much more competitive, don’t forget the difference and RVP Bale, Messi or Ronnie makes. Do not forget how quickly mid table Clubs and even Arse and Spurs get stripped of their best players.

    How will Moyes help United?

    (1) Midfield Focus – with players he bought like Arteta and Fellani, and some of his other CMF, he is very much a manager who likes a creative mid with a tough tackling but ball playing box to box partner, this will suit United to the ground. He knows this is a weakness we have, he set up to maul us in MF with Everton and we could not handle it, so he is tactically astute and he likes a good MF and we need someone who can put the right pieces together here and make the tough decisions on our MF, would I trust him to that, yes, also he has no sentimentality for our players, he will be able to be more ruthless and objective

    (2) Settled Roles – Moyes does not rotate much, his squads have not been strong or deep enough, he will have to rotate more at United but I think he will decide on players best positions and generally that is where they play, I think Jones, Buttner and Smalling will get runs in one position and this will help them nail it down, defensively he has turned Bains into a great LB, he likes good set piece takers and dead ball hitters in his team, United do not have enough talent there, he will look to bring that in or develop it

    (3) Striker, Moyes encourages his players to shoot more from distance if they have a chance, we will see a bit more of that, I think Pea will be a player he likes, he liked Saha, he likes good box players

    (4) Wingers, I don’t think Moyes would have bought Young or necessarily want him. Valenicia he will take a good look at, as an opposing manager, he knows our weaknesses, however, I think he is more likely to keep Nani and play him regularly and to work closely with him to build consistency, one of Moyes great strengths is taking players that were inconsistent or showed flashes and improving them but also bringing consistency to their games, he has done this over years

    (5) Passing and Possession – Moyes has always admired and bought good passers and dribblers, but the one question for me is how he will be able to build on United’s one touch passing, improve our possession and dribbling skills, too few present players even try to beat a man, I want to see him do something about this and this is my question mark for him.

    (6) Fitness – he is ruthless on fitness, Ando and Rooney will find he takes no prisoners here, his training sessions are known as probably the most brutal in the league

  12. King Eric says:

    Spot on Terry Christian as I keep saying why anyone would want that wanker Jose is beyond me. I can see this being another Fergie masterstroke.

  13. Tasty Geezer says:

    If Fergie says he’s right for the job . . . . then that’ll do for me!!!

  14. King Eric says:

    Not appointing Jose is fuck all to do with Glazers. It’s because he is a self centred wanker.SSimeone Fergie and Sir Bobby clearly don’t trust.

  15. King Eric says:

    NBI. Good post mate. Regards one touch passing etc Carrick isn’t suddenly gonna change his style. Kagawa etc.

  16. Andromeda says:

    loved reading your last post, appreciate your effort.

  17. scoreboard paddock says:

    why anyone would say ”why anyone would want that wanker Jose is beyond me” is actually beyond me .Like him /loathe him ,whatever else he is ,Mourinho is clearly a winner; different clubs , different countries , different competitions – Remember the guff about Cantona in the beginning- trouble , glory hunter , gone in 2 years … becoming a red made him .Portsmouth, Birmingham and Swansea have all won more than Moyes in the last 10 yrs with no cash / no fanbase

  18. sixfeetunder says:

    Hey. The old boss says he is fit for the job then I believe him. Although now that I am aware of his lack of…errr… “success” has often made me ponder. Can he bring United to glory just like SAF? Like some of you said, let’s hope that Moyes doesn’t try to change United into Everton. Plus, Moyes’ probation by United fans won’t be long. I’m guessing 2 years, 3 max.

    However, this has also left me with excitement for the next season. What does Moyes have to offer that will make United players and fans put their full trust in him. We’ll see…we’ll see..

  19. Ruks says:

    Pple never understand that moyes had an average squad. Get ova it pple! Theres önly 1 SAF. I believe in moyes

  20. Costas says:

    Very interesting by Ed Barker. Addressed the issue with facts.

  21. marcred says:

    incredibly fickle. how many articles have you written about mourinho not being suitable for our club?? guardiola has just signed for bayern so which other manager would you deem suitable? solskjaer??? are you mad??? he has extremely little managerial experience with zero experience in the prem so judging by your thought process why would you doubt moyes? he has shown loyalty, committment and most importantly he understands what a long term project is all about investing time into youth which is what united are about. sometimes you contradict yourself so much and it’s quite painful to read. moyes is the only option we have and would ever have. whether you like it or not, he fits the bill but to say ole solskjaer with g neville as his assistant…. it’s almost bordering on being pathetic. also, if you’re looking at away games, before this season, how many times had united won away at chelsea and liverpool in the last few years? how many big games have we bottled? how many fa cup finals/semi finals have we lost? fergie was never the best at winning the big important cup final games, instead he was extremely consistent over a season utilising his squad very well. if 5th place to 10th is a mini league, moyes almost won it every year and thats good enough for me. he will step up with the necessary resources in place.

  22. Nags The Man says:

    Well Said MACRED. Moyes has come to Old Trafford to win trophies, to prove to himself that he is a good manager, that he can manage good players and yes, improve a team. Touch of class from united offering him a 6 year contract – here for the future – gives him the dressing room -longer contract than any player. First job is to get rid of Rooney – Class player, love him to bits – but if you ask to leave united twice- his bags should be packed for him.

  23. mmmansuy united says:

    Thrilled with the appointment. Fergie’s youth policy is all about taking risks on promising young players. This appointment screams more of the same. I can’t wait to watch him grow into the club, then watch the club grow around him.

    Too much pessimism. As Choudry said, the romantic in me is excited to watch the fairy tale unfold.

  24. need to feel he love says:

    DM OVER JM both alphabetically and substance the man has done a great job at Everton the one thing we have to give the man is time woe be tide if any clowns start barracking him when he starts those of us fans who were around when SAF commenced his journey will remember we didn’t know where we would end up JM courts to much controversy so he will be welcomed back at Chelski and the calamity will continue good luck David give us attacking football and show passion and I will defend you all the way

  25. rohan_19 says:

    If moyes kept everton 8th with they spending being 8th highest in the league, why can’t he keep united in the top 3 over a period with our squad and resources being what they are??

  26. RedDevilSupporter says:

    I believe Moyes is a good choice and he needs all our support now.Lets hope he wins the Charity Shield for starters and then goes on and wins the league and a cup maybe in his first season.
    I also feel Moaninho would have been a disaster and would have spoiled the our great insitution’s name.

  27. Fraser Muir says:

    Those who think Moyes is the wrong choice of manager will be proven wrong in the long term…

    Hasn’t proven it? Hasn’t won the Champions League & blah, blah, blah…..

    You know nothing.

    He’ll probably end up winning the title his first season.

    That would be something, wouldn’t it? Fergie winning arguably the strongest league in the world at the moment & rather emphatically considering its strength, retiring & then making a complete tool of himself by referring a manager that’s just going to take the club backwards….


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