Just look at the recent images of David Moyes. Ye Gods! I am not sure I have ever seen a man age so fast.
What happened to the consistently fresh faced Moyes of Goodison Park days?
He’s like a man from those ‘before and after’ adverts on TV. The fella who woke up one morning to discover his hair had been attacked while he slept. By someone carrying a tin of grey paint.
His face, which for so long appeared not to age, now looks to have skipped ahead of its birth certificate.
He has more lines on his face than I used to have on my Etch-a-Sketch!
So much for the benefits of managing one of the richest clubs in the world.
The trouble is that, at Manchester United, it’s the rich what get richer and the poor manager what gets the blame!
I’m not about to go soft and say I feel sorry for a man who is paid the salary Moyes enjoys. That would be plain daft.
But he was let down last summer. Let down by his board of directors and let down by those funny looking Glazer people who own Manchester United and use it as if the club were a gigantic ATM.
They go to the cash till and take out. But they pay little or nothing in to the bank of Manchester United. One day this crazy way of running a football club will come back to bite the Red Devils on the bum.
Perhaps that day will arrive sooner than some people thought.
Award winning sports journalist David Walsh says: “Poor performances and bad results lead to criticism and Moyes has been the target. He has made mistakes but they have been nothing compared with the club’s utter incompetence in the handling of the handover.
“An iconic football club with a huge global appeal have managed this transition in the manner of a medium-sized provincial club supporting a new manager. There’s your office, training starts at 10.”
Manchester United will not win a trophy this season. Their name will not be in the hat for the Champions League next season. The once unthinkable has happened.
He had given his bosses a list of players he wanted to sign. It was filed under ‘waste basket.’
David Walsh again: “Moyes was offered the job in May, giving him little time to make key decisions about his own staff and no time to research seriously which new players United needed and how he might go about signing them.
“It was baffling that United’s new chief executive, Ed Woodward, failed to see the obvious need for the club to make the marquee signing that would have told the world that, under Moyes, United would remain as ambitious as ever. Woodward and the board will say they tried: Gareth Bale, Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Ander Herrera, but in the transfer game you get no marks for effort.”
And what was the man who got him the job doing? Sir Alex Ferguson had long looked upon Moyes as his natural successor. In his latter days as manager Fergie almost choked on his words when he said that “everything I asked for from the Glazers, I got.”
Yeah, right, Fergie. I believe you. Thousands wouldn’t.
So once given the keys to the office marked ‘Manager’ what support has Moyes received from those above him? Looking from the outside, the answer would appear to be none.
I confess I was surprised when Moyes made every effort to keep Wayne Rooney from the grip of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. I would have sold him and got every penny possible from the owner of the West London club. After all, he’s not short of a bob or two.
Rooney is, in my opinion at least, past his best before date. He’s had a decent season but is clearly injury prone and lacking the sharpness of old. He’ll still score goals, of course he will. But the reasoning behind Manchester United not selling him to Chelsea was mistaken from the outset.
Manchester United were never going to be in contention for the Premier League this season. Or, very likely, the next one.
Management is about knowing when to get out. Fergie knew when to do so. The spurious reasons he gave for retiring when he did were exactly that. Spurious.
Ferguson got out because a) he knew the next rebuild was a major one b) he knew the manager would not be given the funds required to compete with those “noisy neighbours” on an equal footing and c) he knew old father time was against him.
Do these people think the situation would have been any different had Jose Mourinho been offered the only job he wanted above his old one at Chelsea?
The job that would not be offered him as long as Bobby Charlton is alive and has some of his faculties working. “We don’t want his type here” is how Charlton viewed the prospect of Mourinho taking charge at Old Trafford.
The Glazers wouldn’t want Jose. Quite reasonably, he’d be on the telephone every day asking for money to buy players. That would mean less money for the Glazer family to dip into. They can’t be having that!
Do Manchester United fans think anyone could have done a better job this season than David Moyes? If so, name the man?
I’m not sure the manager was wise to admit to the press that the job was “more difficult” than he’d anticipated. By some that has been labelled a sign of weakness. I think it displays admirable honesty.
David Walsh says: “Honesty is one of Moyes’ defining traits but that isn’t helping him right now. For weeks his body language has suggested he does not believe the current squad are anywhere close to where they should be if United are to be one of the top clubs in European football. He publicly expressed that view when asking: “What if this is as good as we are?” He answered his own question, saying he would deal with it.”
But will David Moyes be given the time to do so?
Whoever took over from Alex Ferguson would have required five years to rebuild. Moyes may have been wrong to dispense with the experienced services of Fergie’s assistants and begin again with Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville on the coaching staff.
David Moyes did a sterling job over many years at Everton. He has not become a bad manager overnight.
He has taken on a mighty challenge at Manchester United and he has had to do so with one hand tied behind his back. Those above him should be ashamed of themselves.
Give Moyes five years and Manchester United will once again be a force to be reckoned with on the European stage.
But I very much doubt that he’ll get three years if United do not win something next season. Memories are short in football. It took Ferguson time to create what he did at Old Trafford.
To my sure and certain knowledge, there were United fans calling for his head back in the late 80’s.
The silverware began to arrive in 1990. Patience is in much shorter supply on the terraces these days than back then.
David Walsh concludes: “Because they mismanaged the transition, the United board will at least give Moyes the chance to do what he says he will do. He will be given the backing and the time to show that Ferguson’s last big call was the right one.”
I hope Walsh is right.
If so, then it’s time David Moyes went out and bought plenty of Grecian 2000 and that restorative face cream those ads are always banging on about.
He’s going to need it.