Should David Moyes have been fired?

Posted: April 23, 2014 in Football
Tags: ,

There is no simple answer to the question above. And anyone who states either way is only expressing an opinion. Only those in the inner sanctum at Manchester United are privy to what has gone on over the last 11 months and ultimately they are the ones who decided that United and Moyes were better off going their separate ways. But that hasn’t stopped media commentators, past players and fellow managers (admittedly after being asked) expressing an opinion. And opinion is quite divided. One common theme is that had United been any other team then Moyes would probably have lost his job long before. It is a sad fact of football management that managers often have very little time in which to impress and make a difference.

Manchester United are not like Chelsea. Sir Alex Ferguson brought stability to the club and, while undoubtedly a positive, it meant United were inexperienced and ill-equipped to deal with managerial change. It has showed. From the moment Moyes took charge there has been a catalogue of failures from the Club as a whole, starting with the summer transfer season and concluding with news breaking the day before Moyes was officially sacked. Moyes may be the fall guy but he is hardly the only one responsible for the season that has been. Yet, as one astute commentator pointed out, you can’t fire 24 players!

Anyone who sat through United versus Everton on Sunday night could tell from Moyes’ body language that he felt he was on borrowed time. Moyes used to prowl the touchline, cajoling his team and living every moment with them. On his return to Goodison Moyes sat slumped in his chair, rarely venturing up to try and motivate his faltering team. Recently Moyes has looked a ghost of the man he was twelve months ago. Managing one of the biggest teams in world football will take its toll, regardless of the results. And there are few teams with the global profile, and thus scrutiny, of Manchester United. Like the players, Moyes looked lost and defeated.

When United signed Moyes last summer they did so on a six year contract. This was to provide continuity and stability. Moyes’ appointment itself had much to do with Sir Alex Ferguson. Ferguson’s role in his appointment led to Moyes being proclaimed the chosen one by the United faithful. It was a title that he was never truly comfortable with.

Moyes would be the first to admit he has made mistakes. For me his biggest mistake was in his tactics. Rarely did he seem to let the team off the leash and encourage them to play attacking football, with the obvious exceptions being against Swansea on the opening day (how long ago that feels!) and Leverkusen. While 7th would have been difficult to stomach for the board and fans, had United been playing attractive and free flowing football, with signs of progress, then I have no doubt the current position would have been more palatable. A win or two against one of the big teams would have helped as well. Within games Moyes often seemed devoid of ideas on how to turn things around. His substitutions rarely made a difference and even when behind he was slow to bring about change. United became horribly predictable.

I would have been happy to see Moyes given more time. If there weren’t signs of progress three months into next season then think about a change. But I can also understand why the owners and board felt they couldn’t wait that long.

Where to from here? Klopp would be many United supporters choice. And with good reason. He has all the necessary attributes. Bringing Reus with him wouldn’t hurt either. But Klopp has already publicly said he would find it very difficult to leave Dortmund. This doesn’t definitely rule him out but makes it quite unlikely. Van Gaal is a favourite, but he wouldn’t necessarily be my choice. Solskjaer hasn’t had as much success at Cardiff as many had hoped and this makes him unlikely. Giggs lacks experience and would be a huge risk given the circumstances. There are plenty of other names being thrown into the ring. Only time will tell.

All the best David. I have no doubt that in different circumstances you could have been a success at Manchester United and will go on to find another managerial position in which you will excel.

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