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Would Moyes get more time at another club?

Manchester United fans stuck with David Moyes for longer than they probably should for fear of “doing a Chelsea”. The west London club have regularly sacked their manager and this has been widely criticised. I wrote at length about this at the beginning of the month, pointing to the fact Chelsea have hardly struggled for success over the past decade, despite getting rid of the manager at least every couple of years.

Their problem wasn’t sacking the manager but sacking the wrong manager. Nobody could argue with the decisions to get rid of Avram Grant or Luiz Felipe Scolari, but the decisions to get rid of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti were baffling. Even Roberto Di Matteo, who had brought the first ever European Cup to a London club just a few months earlier, was hard done by. Roman Abramovich’s decision to get rid of good managers almost certainly cost Chelsea trophies, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have dismissed the managers who weren’t up to the job.

All clubs have a tipping point though and whilst Chelsea’s criteria for sacking the manager might be much harsher than other clubs, that doesn’t change the fact that owners are more often than not justified when it comes to getting rid of an under-performing manager.

Liverpool fans used to pride themselves on getting behind the manager, through thick and thin, but even they managed to crack over recent years.

Liverpool finished 7th in the league at the end of the 2009-2010 season. Roy Hodgson replaced Rafa Benitez for the following season but was sacked on January 8th after the club had dropped five places and were 12th on goal difference. They were 11 points away from the top four.

Kenny Dalglish replaced Hodgson and guided them to 6th in the table. At the end of the following season he was sacked after they fell to 8th, six points worse off than where they had finished the season before.

Liverpool finished 7th in the league the season before Brednan Rodgers got the job, four points off 6th place and 37 points behind City and United. There was some pressure on him at the end of his first season, but we should remember that they still improved, even if marginally, with them still finishing 7th, two points behind 6th place and 28 points behind United.

United fans have felt they had to remain loyal to Moyes for a few reasons. Firstly, because Sir Alex Ferguson was under the cosh after his first few seasons in charge and the club were massively rewarded by sticking with him. Had Ferguson been a manager working for Abramovich, there’s no doubt he would have been sacked. But for United, the club were content that he was the right man for the club, given the incredible success he had enjoyed with Aberdeen and the progress they had made since Ferguson got the job, climbing up from the relegation zone.

Whilst all wasn’t rosy in Ferguson’s early years, he did enough to justify the board keeping the faith, both at his previous club and at United. This man had won league titles and European trophies, as well as plenty of other cups, suggesting that he had the winning mentality required to take United to the top.

Misguided United fans therefore believe that the two managers are comparable, despite the fact Moyes has done nothing to justify having faith in him. He did a good job at Everton, spending very little money, keeping them just outside the top four. This is an achievement. If I supported a club that had aspirations of finishing just outside the top four and spending next to no money, then Moyes would be a manager I’d think was owed time to come good. As it is, I support the most successful club in England, the third most profitable club in the world, so Moyes’ strengths are fairly irrelevant to me. If we had a manager in charge who had been there and done it all before elsewhere, was struggling initially,  but at least showed signs of improvement, I’d try much harder to be patient.

As it is, United are getting worse. On New Year’s Eve 2013, United were just three points behind Chelsea. Now we’re 18 points behind them. The decline is so huge and so rapid that it surely cannot be ignored.

Not only are performances on the pitch dreadful, Moyes’ behaviour off the field is abysmal. Ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Old Trafford he called them favourites. Following City’s 3-0 victory he said we aspired to be as good as them. Ahead of Newcastle’s visit to Old Trafford, a club floating around in midtable, Moyes said we were going to “make it as hard and as difficult for them as we possibly can.” Moyes just isn’t wired up to be a big club manager.

The second reason United fans feel they should stay loyal is because that is what Ferguson instructed us to do. His parting words to us were to “stick by the new manager”. So that is what we have strived to do. Despite all the failings, we haven’t booed the team, if anything, we’ve sung louder and supported them better.

But like all the other clubs, we have to reach our tipping point. At the start of the season, imagining worst case scenarios, it was something like finishing 4th and winning nothing. That would have been just about acceptable given that we were in transition. But when you look at four of the six teams above us, all of them changed their manager this season, and none of them were champions last season, yet there they are, ahead of us. The most damning of all is Everton’s current position, with the club going from strength to strength since Moyes’ departure and Roberto Martinez’s arrival. The fact that Ross Barkley, the player who had just two starts in the league under Moyes last season, is their star man, just adds insult to injury.

United are 26 points worse off than they were this time last season and there is surely no club in the country that would stand for that sort of decline, particularly after spending £70m on players. Time’s up. Moyes cannot be given another season.

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. Mirainashe says:

    @Repeat of 99

    Sorry,you don’t even have a single point that can be logically attached to reasons why Moyes is good enough for United. I’m not sorry to say this but this is not a fairy tale. This is not the Impossible Dream circa 1999. There is no silver lining here. This is hell as we have never seen or experienced before. David Moyes will never achieve success at Manchester United. All facts and logical analysis proves this. He is a loser of the highest order. There is no reprieve here. Hope and delusion are totally different things. Mr Bean is a likeable and harmless character but he is not good enough to be Britain’s Prime Minister. No matter how decent and likeable. Now he is talking crap about the aging squad he inherited. Now the problem is RVP Vidic,Evra and Rio and Carrick. Amazing. There are all barely a year older than when they last won a commanding title and competed fairly well in the UCL. What rubbish. They are still good enough as Michael Owen rightly pointed out. Martino came into a worse situation than all the new managers of top clubs in Europe. Taking charge of Barcelona is a huge and daunting task for any world class manager. But Martino had never even worked in Europe at all. He came into a team which had actually been defined as one in decline and with major in house problems. His only meaningful addition was Neymar who has been good but very far from game changing. To top it off,he is the first manager since 2008 to have to deal with a Messi-less Barca for much of the season through injury. The media have already called for his head,yet he is right up there at the top in every competition. This is the only top team in ACTUAL transition and Martino has done excellently in his debut season. There are no excuses. DM has been in the PL for most of his career. He has come against MUFC so many times and was given a title winning squad that needed a few changes to fine tune. He has managed to completely dismantle all that in 8 short months,despite all his PL experience. He had easier than Pellegrini when he came in. His dinosaur speed and subtlety in the transfer market cost us dearly last August and yet you still believe in Moyes. To do what exactly? Why is common sense and logic so far away from some fans? I don’t get it. Moyes is not the problem and it’s not his fault he was hired. It’s also not his fault that he is not good enough. He didn’t work hard to achieve this as his sole objective. he just isn’t good enough. Nothing wrong with that. If someone is willing to pay him big bucks for trying his best and still failing,then you surely can’t blame him. But when the inevitable disasters have irretrievably damaged this mighty blockbuster super club,the blame will lie with all you who supported him. The blame will lie chiefly with Ferguson and co. The blame will lie with the Glazer family and the ever passive stadium crowd. It will not lie with those who tried and failed to get Moyes out. Not the hated guys who planned the plane banner. Not the guy who called the emergency line. It’s the passive and comfortable calm folk who thought they were being classy and obedient. You are the people responsible.

  2. UnitedFaithful says:

    What a fantastic comment by Jez.It’s been a while since someone posted a heartfelt comment like that.
    Support for a football club isn’t borne out of logic and reason,we don’t get too choose who we support,at least I never did,it comes to us fortuitously.
    The way people are branded occupying the high moral ground or being delusional as they won’t attack the Club or call the manager every name under the sun because of a season of underachievement is beyond pathetic.
    I am all for logic and I sometimes do not agree what people say about United but that doesn’t mean I accuse them of being paranoid or sanctimonious.Each support the club in their own way and I have no right to judge them because they do not hold the same opinion as me.

    The club have survived far greater adversity than this and this is not the end of United for me.We will be back.

  3. Gary Mitrovic says:

    I’ve only just seen that Moyes claims even Fergie would have struggled this season and the squad is ageing. Sorry but this of all his comments has grated on me more then any.

    The average age of our squad is on a par with our other “former” rivals. How can he day Fergie would have struggled? To what extent? He’s talking about a man that in the last 20 years never finished outside the top 3!

    This is a pure example of a Moyes trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes and make people feel sorry for him. He really shouldn’t be saying things like that and making hollow excuses that Fergie would have struggled when he can’t prove or disprove that. That is hiding behind an excuse.

  4. Mirainashe says:

    One more question to all you Moyes fans. Why exactly do you support him? I mean besides the fact that SAF anointed him. I’m really at a loss here. I have never actually seen anything from the Moyes camp that suggests logical support eg he is a world class manager or he has shown potential in this and that way,he is innovative or his man management skills are excellent. There is nothing pro-Moyes people will tell you ABOUT Moyes himself. They will tell you he inherited a crap squad. They will tell you he deserves at least another two seasons. They will tell you it’s the patriotic thing to do to support one’s manager. But they never offer any convincing argument for retaining Moyes services beyond today. I can tell you why City supporters support their manager. Or why Bayern supporters support Pep etc. But why should I support Moyes. What does HE actually have to offer that history and actual reality have shown us clearly. Forget all the records he has broken or all his shortcomings. I just want a single reason why there is light at the end of the tunnel with Moyes

  5. trevor knightsmith says:

    Gary Mitrovic :

    I agree. and that comment really grates with me as well.

    Moyes can say whatever he wants, but one thing I’m certain of, if SAF was still in charge, there wouldn’t be a plane (or two) flying over oOld Trafford this afternoon pulling a banner !

  6. Mirainashe says:

    Sorry Repeat of 99,post not meant for you. Was typing frantically and had a mind to upvote your post when I came across the usual pro-Moyes stuff and got things mixed up. Sincere apologies.

  7. UnitedFaithful says:

    The squad is in need for performers,i.e players who can perform at a certain standard week in week out.Only DDG Roo fit the bill Van persie have had injury issues his entire career otherwise he would have made the list.Mata hasn’t been here a long time and even he is being played at a position where he is not effective.
    United have lacked the foundation for many years.If we look at the great United teams it consisted players who performed at a high level for many years.As much as I love the great man he squeezed every drop out of our proven players who were getting older so Moyes isn’t completely wrong in saying the core of the squad is ageing,replacements were bought in few positions but they weren’t prepared and given time to stake the place in the team.Jones Smalling come to mind,from a first team perspective they are basically new players.

  8. UnitedFaithful says:

    And before I get tagged a Moyes apologist I never said Moyes is the right man and he will take this team back to greatness but I will not sit here and claim everything is fine with the squad.At the end of the day he will be judged by results but any new Manager coming in will have to deal with some of the problems that Moyes is facing right now.Overhaul or not it’s not easy to find stability when players go from being good to equally bad in a matter of days.

  9. ashtheking says:

    Beforetheseason started I had predicted this from moyes in each competition

    Community shield – Win

    League – 3rd

    Champions League- quarters

    FA Cup – Win

    League cup- semi finals

    So if you look at this moyes has fulfilled three of those task but the way he has missed other two has been pretty bad. To be on 7th has just summed his season and same way to get out from third round In FA Cup was a joke. So overall he has offcourse fallen short of my expectation from moyes.

  10. Ed-the red says:

    Hope the one piloting the plane aren’t kamikaze styled.

  11. Mav19 says:

    If there are any fans out there who support him they are nothing but delusional and have been coaxed by Sir Alex that giving a manager time guarantees success. HE DOES NOT HAVE IT IN HIM TO DO IT. In case you want to waste another season and give our rival who now are Everton, Spurs and 4th place FC i.e. Arse-nal then go ahead support him otherwise there is absolutely no reason as to why he should be given more time. He just isn’t good enough. You want a manager who pushes his forward so high up that the the midfield and fullbacks have no option to pass to. You want a manager who thinks its a good idea to play Cleverley on the right wing. Who does not know how 4-3-3 works. You know who I am. I am a fan who supported him right upto the City match. Who made himself look stupid even when logic dictated that Moyes is destroying everything. And then he goes on to say he aspires to be as good as City. Now he is saying even Sir Alex would have suffered with this squad right before Bayern match. I’ll tell you what will happen. Certain players who obviously don’t want to play for him(hint: Carrick, RVP, Rio, Vida, Evra) will lose all their motivation this time because again Mr Idiot Moyes has decided to demotivate the whole team. . He is delusional and believes that fans still have his back but the reality is that this is a man who knows his time is up.
    The pros of having someone like Klopp:
    1. We might not have to overpay that much because he is a very respected manager and players will want to play for him. He will bring in Gundo and Reus and maybe even Hummels.
    2. He is actually good enough to be a Manchester United manager.
    3. Tactically he defeated the master of tactics Mourinho.
    4. He will do everything that the clubs expects from a United manager i.e. Longevity, loyalty etc

    The pros of having Moyes as manager:

    Nada. None! There is absolutely no evidence making his case. NONE!!!!
    Everton are above us with a set of players who are not better than us. They have a game in hand too.
    Add to this the fact that we will have to pay over the odds to get players good enough to get us back into top 4.
    Oh I see…now I get it….when he said he wanted to be like City he meant he will spend millions of pounds and buy mercenaries who will ask for millions in wages just like City did to get to where they are now. I understand now.
    How can the ones supporting him be so blind now. There is nothing left he has managed to turn this team into a midtable club and if people this it will be easy coming back from this they are mental. If you think Liverpool will let you back in now that they are fighting for the title you are wrong. They can sniff it and next year they will invest and the players will want to play for Rodgers who actually knows what he is doing. Spurs will get Gaal who will proabably make sure they are fighting Arsenal for forth spot. What will happen is simple we will most likely stay midtable because players will prefer these top 5 teams before us. If Everton pull off 4th spot then there is another club we will be competing with. Spanish players will chose Gaal, Martinez, Wenger over Moyes. German players may come considering our history and the fact that in Germany many many people support Man Utd as their second fav team. But why would anyone want to play for United. A team that can’t pass so has to give it back to the keeper who lobs it up-field again and again and again.
    GET HIM OUT. Sacking the wrong manager does not make us Chelsea. He got the job only because he is pals with Fergie.

  12. Mirainashe says:

    When you say overhaul do you mean we need a completely new team and first eleven? OUT with RVP,Carrick,Rooney,Nani,Kagawa,Januzaj the whole defence etc? I don’t see that as necessary. We need to see some changes yes. We need a creative midfielder no doubt,but our attack is completely solid. We need to replace Vidic and Rio not because we have completely useless individuals in their place. But because we need World class players in defence especially with Vidic leaving. Mind you,no one has brought the point of why exactly Vidic is leaving United for an inferior club like Inter who are bona fide mid-table quality even in Serie A. Maybe it’s because the senior players have seen that Moyes is not good enough. I’d go for one world class CB,one world class LB,one world class creative CM and one quality DM or holding mid. That’s a total of four that we need to make us world class. Barca have a below par defence and there’s nothing fancy about Chelsea’s. And how old exactly is Kompany,Mascherano and Pepe or even Thiago Silva. Don’t tell me about aging Moyes.

  13. Paschal Agwunobi says:

    Am still surprised that this clown still has a job. He should be sacked , he’s a mid-table coach and has nothing to offer to a top side. I read this morning where he said even fregie will struggle with the current squad. Isn’t this the same squad that fergie used to win premier league last season by a margin off 11 point. Someone should remind this fool the number of trophy he’s won his whole career, cos he never deserved that job

  14. davidjoneslocker says:

    There is some merit to the notion that given time, Mr Moyes would come good. Manchester United is a juggernaut. Way more powerful than it was when we slipped into relegation back in the days. Inevitably, with time, he will come good. Can we afford him that time? More important is what we term “come good”. 
    Would come good be a top 4 finish next year and another the year after, and maybe the PL title the year after and then another top four finish? That, is the best I can see for Mr Moyes in my most positive viewing of the fellow. Any decent manager should be able to wing this not necessarily a top manager, especially with seeing the club is willing to throw money around this time. There is no way in hell he’d get his own idea of top players and still be languishing in obscurity like we are now. This is assuming everything goes right meaning no pressure from fans or the board and more importantly, other clubs fail to build on our spectacular decline this season. Anyone on here with a little bit of football sense should be able to do this even, I think.
    That’s somewhat of a fairy tale scenario. But let’s assume that happens, I could state quickly what’s going to happen to this beloved club. 650million fans worldwide would quickly dwindle. Sponsors don’t wanna hear that. They’d be looking for the next big thing. We start losing money in the long run and then other clubs around us start amassing from winning trophies and sponsorship and they drive up the market value for players. We start hurting even more. Domino effect which doesn’t spell good for us. Dont underestimate what United fan base brings to this club of ours. Most especially the glory hunters and plastics. They are the ones the sponsors care about not 70,000 match-going fans who majority of are even spectators visiting the entity called Manchester United. Not knocking match-going fans but United would be hardly what it is today because of 70,000 people
    The danger of time though is something that can’t be overlooked- the loss of that winning mentality. Winning is everything. Someone stated this early this season on this blog and it’s clearly becoming apparent. I like to think that’s a major part of what sets us apart from other clubs. SAF was a die-hard winner. He instilled this in the boys but I fear he didn’t instill it enough because in the space of 8months, it’s barely visible anymore. 
    SAF left a squad with holes but any two bit manager should have known you don’t make whole scale changes to a squad especially one that’s a reigning champion, ageing or not. It’s a gradual thing. We as fan have seen this happen a couple of times under the great man. So the excuse for needing more players after two transfer windows doesn’t quite hold water. Tweaking is what the squad needs. SAF alluded to leaving the club in great shape. I’m inclined to believe him. I wouldn’t say great shape but in some shape at least. Mourinho wouldn’t have been clamoring for United job if he thought we were shit. He must know pretty well the board is tight-fisted so for him to have wanted to come, i’m sure he didn’t see this squad as dead.
    Mr Moyes must be pained about his situation. No doubt he would be. Is he pained for Manchester United though? He is a good and decent man? A good and decent man is Ricardo Kaka. He goes to Milan, plays well, ends up injured and ask the club to withhold his wages for the period of his injury lay-off. That’s a decent man. A corporate power house like United cannot be seen to be weak. Your enemies would see that weakness and eat you up. The fans have to wake the board up in anyway possible and it’s why I applaud the fans who are taking action already. The board must do what they have to. We can’t afford to be uncompetitive in the name of standing by our manager. Sad as it may be, we as fans can be romantic about our club but WINNING is everything, trust me.

  15. Oshan Poudyal says:

    Thats right. Time’s up for Moyes. This is the last season for him. Considering the squad we had last season and now we have the same squad plus mata and fellaini and januzaj too. Last season everything was well but what happened now? Maybe Moyes isnt just the right man for the job. We supported our team when we lost to City 4-1 but at home against the two most biggest rivals we lost at home by a margin of 0-3. Thats really unacceptable. With managers like Louis van Gaal considering a move to England, I think the United board should’nt let go of such a ood manager like Gaal and sign him up in summer as quickly as possible.

  16. Chris says:

    @davidjoneslocker: You make a great point about the fan base and what is important to the Glazers; they don’t give a shit about the match going fans because the income from ticket sales is a drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of things, more profitable is the merchandising sales to the foreign fan base – start to lose this support and the board will take notice.

  17. Mark Odeoshe Ajayi says:

    Great post @Davidjoneslocker.
    I think it was about tym to set that record straight. Football is all about winning, and any fan who loves this club, we always want it to win. What is wrong about bein a glory hunting fan. Some fools we come on here calling other fans plastic. What a lame way of thinking. Man utd should just stop playing if it is not all about winning. There are lots of people paying thousands just to see the team perform well and to some extent winning and u trolls expect them to sit and watch? My club is the onlybig club in the planet that attributes the incompetence of a manager to transition and aging players. What the heck is wrong with some of this fans. Are y’all Zombies that just sit and watch and do what u are told just to prove that u are true supporters? It bleeds me that this so called true-fans are brain dead. Kudos to those that are trying to do something. They are the true fans with love and passion for the club. As painful as it is man city sacked until they got one that is making them play well, Chelsea too. I want somebody to tell me why, Bayern, barca and others don’t undergo this transition. And I know obviously that our squad is younger than some of this clubs. What is Moyes smoking? Dog shit?

  18. temitopeaden says:

    I’m tired of people saying Mata is being played at his wrong position and using that to bang Moyes. When mata was playing regularly for chelsea he was usually played on the wing. Dont you remember the mata,oscar,hazard combo in chelsea’s 4231. Hazard and Mata played wide and oscar as the 10. Only on few occassions did oscar go wide and mata play 10. Mata shone even while played on the wing even though he was a 10 and nobody complained of playing him out of position but Moyes plays him there and everyone goes crazy.

  19. Mark Reid says:

    Play some of the younger players then,u trying to tell me he won’t miss Vidic and Evra (both at the ripe old age of 32).

  20. Paschal Agwunobi says:

    Sack this imbecile,pLsssssss, can someone just do that? We fans must revolt

  21. I dont like Welbeck says:

    “All it has done is strengthened my resolve to get the job done right,” a defiant United manager said.

    “I’m more driven to succeed than ever.

    “I want to change the position we’re in just now. I really do believe we can do that.”

  22. temitopeaden says:

    Too late for anyone to revolt or anything. The guys flying the plane are wasting their money. Its too late in the season to sack Moyes. The season is almost over and the board will feel :well,let him finish and he’ll get new players in next season and do better.

  23. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Yeah, hang on to what position mata plays, clearly the only incompetence moyes has exhibited. Isolating incidents and exaggerating whatever little positives within it.. This is how the small minded moyes has,successfully manipulated some people..

  24. I dont like Welbeck says:

    “I understand that results are what really matter. Results are football, the business is results driven. I’m keen to get those results to move up the table.

    “There’s a rebuilding plan under way, anyone who understands the game, understands that has to happen.

    “The people who put me in place in the job here, are top football people who understand the game, know what’s needed at Manchester United and understand the characters we need at Manchester United.”
    “People are aware there is a squad that is a bit more ageing, so I think it would have been a tough season for whoever was in charge of Manchester United this year,” Moyes told national newspapers.

    “And I actually think if Sir Alex was here this year it would be difficult for Sir Alex as well and I’m sure he would be aware of it.

  25. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    “This is the squad that finished 11 points clear at the top of the league last season so I am confident in the squad,”

    “But even without additions this squad will be tough opponents for any team – they will be looking at Manchester United.”


    The man changes his tune with consummate ease according to which one paints him in the most friendly light.

  26. GingerPrince18 says:


    Top top post mate. I am a football romantic myself, can’t help it. Trust me mate, you will still see me in here even if we are playing Championship football. I like to ride and enjoy every moments life has to offer. Be it good or bad.

    As for Mr. David Moyes, please do not compare any manager with SAF. He is one of a kind. If there is a manager who is able to win treble with this aging squad, that will be SAF. So please stop the excuse and start showing some improvement on the field.

  27. Mark Reid says:

    So he basically says we are where we should be and there’s no point in Playing Munich with theses old guys.

  28. Martin Thomas says:

    Ferguson and Charlton not going with Gill’s suggestion of Mourinho could later be seen as the biggest clanger since Dick Rowe (Decca Records) said “Beatles? Guitar groups are on the way out. Please shut the door on your way out, Mr. Epstein..”


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