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Would any manager be able to retain our status as champions?

David Moyes has been in for plenty of stick already this season, some of it warranted, some of it not so much, but we had to know this was going to happen. Whoever got the job, their every move would be under a microscope, and some managers would be easier to scrutinise than others.

Jose Mourinho got sent to the stands last weekend, suggesting that just eight games in he isn’t quite The Happy One he tried to convince of us he was. His decision not to give Juan Mata a starring role, a player who is superior to most in Europe and all at Chelsea, suggests another flaw in Mourinho’s way of thinking. This isn’t a justification of the decision not to appoint the man, rather acknowledgement that even the managers who are hailed as the best in the world make mistakes.

Moyes isn’t regarded as one of the best in the world, which makes the decision to appoint him as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor a strange one, and we can therefore expect he will get things wrong. Just a couple of months in to the season, an article on RoM this week detailed the top five things Moyes has already struggled with. An article in today’s Guardian criticised Moyes’ decision to replace our world class coaching staff with his own (inferior) staff, and any part he played, however small it might have been, in the embarrassing transfer window. These points are fair. Moyes should have done better.

But when talking about whether Moyes is the right man for the job, whether we should have gone for Mourinho or anyone else, whether another manager would have done a better job than Moyes is doing, it’s hard to tell. Looking at our performances and the teams we’ve played, would even Ferguson have done a better job?

The chances are that yes, he would have done. We would have almost certainly lost to City and Liverpool, like we usually do, with Ferguson’s approaches to these games over the past five years or so fairly painful to watch, but chances are we would have got results against West Brom and Southampton. These are the two games that have really stung. Of course it’s possible that we could have slipped up with Ferguson still in charge, but he inspired a confidence in our players and instilled a fear in our opposition that likely accounted for a ridiculous number of points every season. It must be ten years or more now since people called us “jammy” for all those last minute goals, and have come to the understanding that our winning mentality is just stronger than everyone else’s. Ferguson was the driving force behind that.

But looking at the quality of our squad and the level of performances last season, there’s no way we should have cruised to the title. We were obviously worthy winners, wrapping up the league in April, but it was hardly an enjoyable season for United fans in terms of the football we played. I know that’s a ridiculously spoilt attitude, but one created from growing up watching United play dazzling football and winning a trophy almost every single season since I’ve had a memory of football. I’d take seasons like last every year though, of course, but we hardly set the world alight.

In RoM’s preview of this season, the chapter looking at our rivals read:

Gore Vidal once mused: “It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.” And fortunately, the reverse is also true: Just being terrible won’t be enough to knock us off our perch. Somebody has to be less terrible. In recent years, that simple fact has kept us at the top, and it may well do again.

Had Ferguson brought last season’s squad through to this season, what state would we be in? I’ve heard people arguing that we’d have signed Fabregas, or Ozil, or some other top talent, but it just makes me think they haven’t been paying attention. We’ve been crying out for a quality player in the centre of the park for years, yet Ferguson hasn’t signed one since 2007. We’ve since learnt that Ferguson wasn’t a fan of Owen Hargreaves since day one, if what he’s written in his autobiography is to be believed, yet the manager did nothing to address that obvious hole in midfield. But for whatever reason, there’s a belief that this summer, of all summers, suddenly the manager would have dropped £40m+ on a world beater.

The truth is we have no idea of the extent of the financial restrictions that are in place behind the scenes and how much pressure the manager of United is under to adhere to them. But with Fergie, and now Moyes, bleating on about what supportive owners the Glazers are, we’ll never get to find out. Maybe, as Jon Snow hinted yesterday, we’d have a different account from Ferguson about the last fourteen years if he wasn’t still employed by the club, but as it is, we’ll just have to settle for the insistence of whoever manages our club that the Glazers provide them with all the cash they need. If that’s true, why is our squad inferior to those of our title rivals?

Gary Neville couldn’t understand why last season’s champions didn’t start this season as favourites. Usually very astute, and maybe being purposefully oblivious, Neville is obviously ignoring the investment the teams around us have made. Spurs spent £104m (actually reinvesting the money made on selling a top player, and then some. Fancy that!), City spent £103m, Chelsea spent £63m, Liverpool spent £44m, Arsenal spent £42.5m and we spent £29m. Christ, even West Ham are giving us a run for our money with that kind of outlay.

We weren’t great last season but we were still better than everyone else. We’re still not great this season, but thanks to the fuck ups from Ed Woodward and the penny pinching from the Glazers, the squads of other teams have now easily overtaken us in terms of quality. Looking at the performances this season and last, there isn’t much, if any, difference. But it was painfully apparent that we needed strengthening in midfield, so why was nothing done about this? If United couldn’t attract a big name with Moyes as manager, why didn’t Ferguson ensure we got a superstar or two before he left?

Moyes has made mistakes that could and should have been avoided, but having just played eight games and having no experience of managing a top club, maybe he deserves some slack. After all, it is the club that saw him fit to take over from Ferguson, and who in their right mind would turn down the United job?

With 30 games left to play and Arsenal the only team to look really dangerous so far this season (and habit tends to persuade me they won’t last the course, like usual, with their players all starting to break and their weak mentality allowing them to crumble by February), who knows what will happen. Maybe Woodward will wave his magic wand in January and sign us the world class players we need to compete.

Or maybe we will just have to sit tight and get through this season. And next season. And maybe the one after. Maybe we will have a grim few years ahead. But after inheriting a team even Ferguson would unlikely be able to win the title with this season, how much could we reasonably expect of the new manager this season, whoever got the job?

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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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95 Comments

  1. John says:

    @The Truth..i meant to say, address that pathetic cunt “mancdub”, mate!!

  2. WeAreUnited says:

    @john aka the truth are you still here? after I revealed you are the same person? and you never answered me? I WILL REPEAT:

    @The truth

    YOU GOT TOTALLY OWNED BY JESPER OLSEN ON THAT SIMEONE COMMENT

    AHHAHAHHAHAHhas

    Piece of a worm, trying to put United and Moyes down, now you really are a fool, GOT OWNED, burned!!

    Piece of crap.

    GUYS, The Truth tried to compare Simeone’s success from the beginning of his career as a manager with Atletico Madrid and how he made A.Madrid superior from the start, when the real truth is Simeone had almost the same exact start as Moyes, 4 draws, 3 wins an a defeat to Barca 5-0.

    THE same guy who betted against his won club, this fool and troll, don’t feed him, stop talking to him unless you are his other usernames.

    PIECE OF UTTER CRAP

  3. FletchTHEMAN says:

    No matter the outcome of this season. The squad next year have some major changes.

    Giggs will retire from football side leaving Fletcher the senior player with a year remaining on his contract.

    The following players are all in their final year of contract.
    Some say only Carrick will be renewed from this list:

    Ryan Giggs
    Rio Ferdinand
    Patrice Evra
    Nemanja Vidić
    Michael Carrick
    Federico Macheda

    First choice LB, and 2 very dependable CBs. in that list. Not to mention our club captain and co-captain.

    Another 6 up in 2015.

    Team have some major decisions to make. A major opportunity lost last summer as defending champions. I blame Woodward.

  4. John says:

    @WeAreUnited…”after I revealed”…WHAT A DELUDED CUNT!!

  5. The Truth says:

    @John

    Mate there’s no point. It’s a pitiful argument isn’t it? “Anyone who doesn’t rate Moyes is a plastic gloryhunter or a windup merchant.” You can’t argue with that kind of delusion.

  6. John says:

    @The Truth…spot on mate!!

  7. The Truth says:

    @WeAreUnited you obsessed cunt

    I already answered Jesper’s argument on the other thread. Don’t you have any original material or are you just going to go around every thread re-posting this amazing example of “ownage” by Jesper Olsen?

  8. The Truth says:

    @John

    After he “revealed” that you and I are the same person! Hahahahaha move over Sherlock Holmes, the world’s greatest detective is right here on this blog.

  9. ini says:

    i think we should give moyes some time,he has great plans of taking us to the cocacola championship there we can win trophies.up moyes

  10. Proverb says:

    Fucks still smoking their mom’s pubes
    Bunch of wankers

  11. John says:

    @The Truth…hahahaha, mate, that DUMBASS is reposting your comments from previous threads to show himself in bright spot..doesn’t have any personal reasonable opinions, what a “thick” cunt “WeAreUnited” is!!

  12. zibbie says:

    multiple twats using different names losers

    I see NBI is doing his negative dies

    transition is tough
    pathetic wanks have never won anything have no clue

    David was hand picked by Sir Alex

  13. Jorge Curioso says:

    “By no measure is the current United squad one of the club’s finest, but the fact remains that it secured last season’s title before the end of April and contains a goodly number of players still improving. Consequently, Moyes’s lack of respect for its credentials served only to suggest his own shortcomings, because ultimately, there are only three differences between this season’s United and last: a player signed by David Moyes, men employed by David Moyes and David Moyes.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/oct/23/david-moyes-manchester-united-bad-start

  14. Canada says:

    The Truth says:
    “We would have almost certainly lost to City and Liverpool, like we usually do, with Ferguson’s approaches to these games over the past five years or so fairly painful to watch”

    Ignoring the fact that we deservedly won both these games last season.

    OK – I’ll challenge the notion of “deservedly won both these games”.

    City is a draw until a certain Mr. Nasri very late on decides he likes to be behind his big team mates instead of beside them.
    Liverpool we played the entire second half up one man.

    For the love of all that’s good and holy, if you’re gonna make a blanket statement like that, giving the impression we dominated those games without getting some bounces, please do one.

  15. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Off topic:
    Ferguson v Marko B. Dearie me.

    Bosnich vows to confront Sir Alex Ferguson over comments in book. :lol:

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/oct/23/mark-bosnich-alex-ferguson-manchester-united

  16. WilliamAR says:

    Correct me if i’m wrong here, but isn’t it fair to say that managers in the lower leagues are either managers that have found their level in management or are serving their apprenticeship making their way up the leagues, learning the job of management, and therefore are paid at the level of the clubs they manage? The further up you go the more you get paid, like in any job. so isn’t it right that managers in top clubs should be ready to take the job immediately, especially as we’re talking about their wages being millions of pounds?

    So based on that simple but fair logic why are some people so annoyed that others believe Moyes isn’t up to the task as he shows that this is a level too far for him. but in saying that, having a tactical brain at the very top isn’t an age thing or an experience thing as moyes is 50 and pep is 42 with less years as a manager than moyes. Fergie had a gift at a young age as proved at aberdeen and so has mourinho as he proved at porto. the very top handful of clubs in the world all have gifted managers with excellent tactical minds except us. why? none of us can say moyes is anywhere near Pep, mourinho, Klopp, pellegrini, Conte, ancelotti, hiddink, scholari, benitez, Heynckes, just to name a few.

    So why should fans be happy with moyes earning millions to be below par with the other top managers? I know I can’t think of a good reason.

  17. Jorge Curioso says:

    United now have the worst manager by a fair bit among the top five.

    Utter hubris on the part of Fergie and the board to appoint this mediocrity.

  18. Jorge Curioso says:

    “Looking at our performances and the teams we’ve played, would even Ferguson have done a better job?”

    You’re taking the piss, right, Scott? You wonder if Fergie would have done better than the worst start in United’s Premier League history.

    Are you in the employ of the United PR department?

  19. Raccoon says:

    No I don’t think so. SAF got the absolute most out of this set of players. However I think that’s not really the point, I would have preferred a new manager with a spence of direction and a phylosiphy about how the game should be played. I would then feel a lot more confident about giving that manager 2 or 3 seasons to bring the players he needs to suite this new style. Unfortunately I don’t think DM has a particular philosophy and do not believe he will attract any top players to the club

  20. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Michael Carrick reportedly agrees a new 2 year deal from June 2014-16 with a year option.
    75k/wk is the figure mentioned.

    Metro, MEN and various sources.

    Very good news this.

  21. scholes says:

    the answer to question asked in title of the thread is ‘yes’.

    call me delusional but moyes is (i am purposefully not using was) one of those. moyes one and only flaw is concerned with sacking (or whatever) of previous coaching staff (if he does not bench rooney playing the same way as against southampton that will become his 2nd mistake). if giggs chose himself to play in last match or rio messed up against west brom, how can it entirely be moyes’s fault?

    i applaud moyes for many reasons (haters have already voiced their reasons and some of them are genuine)

    - playing januzaj and more importantly tying him up
    - benching young/limiting playing time of giggs/benching rio
    - giving chance to players like nani/evans/smalling and reposing faith in jones and cleverly
    - trying to change things up especially against shahtar with 3 man midfield (we played well till we scored) and frankly speaking that is the only formation what would work continuously irrespective of opposition
    - he has ‘audacity’ to always acknowledge supporters with a smile which is heartwarming to see as he has enormous pressure which is far from mitigating with each passing day
    - he does not seem like a control freak, gives a damn about reputation of our club and is not self eccentric

    why these qualities have seemingly gone unnoticed is because of lack of results. moyes needs luck especially in the beginning of his term and scrappy goals scored by liverpool, shakhtar, southampton are not helping the matters either (you make your own luck only after you get success).

    i am just pointing the positives here as i feel it is very easy to play blaming game. i, as a supporter (not merely a fan), is as responsible for our plight as moyes as ‘i’ have not backed him, not created an intimidating atmosphere at OT, drooled needlessly over arsenal and ozil (btw where was that guy against borussia) and criticized our own players.

    coming on to subject of SAF’s autobiography release and related media frenzy, i think he is genuinely undervaluing contribution of players like hargreaves (he didn’t purposefully get injured), beckham (legend and a great ‘footballer’) and keane. it will be great to see him come up and say ‘thank you’ to all the players who have played for him. such great things can be expected from great men.

  22. WeAreUnited says:

    in a birght light hahah, of course mate, I support my team and when I see pricks like you two, I will never leave you alone, NEVER!

    THE MOST FUNNY THING IS that you talk with yourself. and also you Compared him to diego simeone when diego simeone started very week hahah, pathetic try. HOWS YOUR SWANSEA?

    when I talk with you two, I will always bash you two. and show everyone that who you are.

    the truth I give it to you though,a rguably the most talented troll there has been here, brilliant! I really appreciate your effort, well done!

    commenting to himself is brilliant! I hope you make a new bet the truth aka john and do one yourself and never show herre again, pathetic haaha make me laugh.

    IGNORE THOSE CUNTS, UNLESS you are him. peace.

  23. The Truth says:

    @Canada

    Okay dipshit, might I remind you that we scored a third goal against City which was wrongly ruled out for offside before they clawed their way back into it. What does it matter if we had a man advantage over Liverpool? Does that make our win any less deserved? Twat. Okay, for the benefit of pedants like you – even though you’re wrong – I’ll revise my original post.

    The Truth says:

    “We would have almost certainly lost to City and Liverpool, like we usually do, with Ferguson’s approaches to these games over the past five years or so fairly painful to watch”

    Ignoring the fact that we won both these games last season.

    Is it a fair comment now? It’s you who should “do one” you arsehole.

  24. WeAreUnited says:

    people talk tha Özil made Arsenal better.. think about this.

    Did RVP make us better? is he still here? what you’re complainingh at.

    I give it for one thing, getting phill neville was a stupid move, with no experience, but for others Rene wanted the anzhi job ( how did that turn out) and for others I have no idea + Giggsy is there Butt is there and Scholesy will be back.

    Moyes has given flair players the chance, Januzaj who is 18!!!!!!!!! when was the last time we saw a superstar in the making playing at such a young age for us, RONALDO! Nani got a 5 year deal! Rooney and RVP are playing! etc

    so the problem is, we just haven’t hit the gear yet, IT WILL HAPPEN.

    COMEBACK KINGS!

  25. King Eric says:

    mancdub – Fucking great post pal.

  26. martin the Nairobian says:

    @mandclub
    You think Coz you come from Manchester or generally england it gives you a divine right to call fans from overseas plastics.wat a fucking wanker you are.Without the abroad support united wouldn’t get a quarter of the commercial deals they manage to sign.we are the ones who give this great club of ours the bargaining Power. How many of the 350 million fans come from Manchester? ?

  27. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Teams:

    Jerrad Peters ‏@jerradpeters 1m
    REAL SOCIEDAD XI v #MUFC: Bravo, C.Martínez, Mikel, Inigo, De la Bella; M.Bergara, Zurutuza, X.Prieto; Vela, Seferovic, Griezmann

    Jerrad Peters ‏@jerradpeters 2m
    #MUFC XI v Real Sociedad: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Evans, Evra; Carrick, Giggs; Valencia, Rooney, Kagawa; Hernandez

  28. billy991 says:

    got bored waiting for the United game so watching a bit of the City and CSKA and i can say for the first time that i want City to win this. The russian fans are absolutely disgusting. making monkey chants when Toure gets the ball. can’t uefa ban this backward bastards? its 2013 not 1953

  29. WilliamAR says:

    @ fletch

    happy kagawa and chicha are getting a game

  30. King Eric says:

    No John why don’t YOU address Mancdub you fucking illiterate scumbag. “Oh please The Truth stick up for me”. Fucking fairy cunt.

  31. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Bench: Lindegaard, Smalling, Buttner, Nani, Young, Fellaini, Januzaj

    No RvP or Zaha

  32. WeAreUnited says:

    crazy line-up

    I never expected that line-up

    BUT CMON YOU REDS!

  33. RedSenna says:

    Biggest problem with Moyes is we don’t score enough goals, SAF could play boring football last couple of years but we scored goals and last season was a great example of that. We played pretty boring football at times and had trouble in the back, but we scored PLENTY of goals. This season we look the same at the back, good sometimes terrible other times, but the most significant problem is the lack of goals. You can just look at how many chances we create, almost nothing at times.

  34. The Truth says:

    Even Everton fans don’t rate Moyes, I think that’s probably the most damning thing you can say about him. Most were glad to see the back of his boring “safety first” football and now they mock him with chants of “are you watching David Moyes?” Now idiots are wasting their time defending the dud they never even wanted out of some fake loyalty to show what good supporters they are. Meanwhile Everton fans are laughing at us! Face it lads you’ve been had.

  35. John says:

    @King Eric..I answered that deluded twat MYSELF as well!!..So, why you come in between you literate DUMBSHIT??

  36. King Eric says:

    John – “Literate”?
    “Dumbass” ?

    Yeah good one pal, you sound not only thick but about 10 years old.

  37. King Eric says:

    Sorry my mistake. “DUMBSHIT”.

  38. The Truth says:

    Looks like good old 4-4-2 to me, Kagawa on the left. Don’t know much about Sociedad but Griezmann is supposed to be good I’ve heard. Who was the person on here the other week talking as if City’s Champions League campaign was hanging by a thread? Oh yes just found the post it was a fella named Dela. Well they just won lad, so over to you Mr. Moyes.

  39. The Truth says:

    “people talk tha Özil made Arsenal better.. think about this.

    Did RVP make us better? is he still here? what you’re complainingh at.”

    Haha what kind of logic is that? Amazing the way this little sperm talks down to me. Condescending little gloryhunter twat.

  40. John says:

    @King Eric…so how old are you Richard Cranium?

  41. WeAreUnited says:

    @the truth and john twats

    You complain that they got özil but forget that we have also did get rvp but people like you always will complain ans forget what we got. I would have sold rooney snd got özil but Insupport my players

    Me gloryhunter? Hahha. Because I show you where you and your girlfriend john should stuff yourself and how stand, then I am a gloryhunter haha

    Peace, you piece of troll.

  42. Canada says:

    @The Truth

    Deary me, touched a nerve did we?

    I indicated your assumption of “deservedly” was unfounded, something shown in the facts.

    So aside from being completely wrong in your original assertion, the rest was pretty good.
    Entertaining even.

  43. Canada says:

    @ The Truth

    To be fair, your post with the quotes about style of football was pretty good. Actually made a coherent point in there.

  44. The Truth says:

    I was “completely” wrong in my original assertion that we deservedly won the games against Liverpool and City last year? The “facts” back this up? I’d say it was a matter of opinion how well deserved those victories were. I’ll bet if I dug up the matchday threads from here for those games I wouldn’t find too many cunts like yourself pompously asserting as fact that we did not deserve to win those games! Haha you’d have been told to fuck off, and rightly so.

  45. ofentse says:

    Read this: http://www.soccerreport.com/toure-calls-for-racism-action-2/

    Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure says it is ‘unbelievable’ that he was on the receiving end of racist chants against CSKA Moscow.

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