Sir Alex Ferguson left one hell of legacy behind him when he finally retired. Months of speculation as to who would replace him did nothing to help who ever got the job in the short term. Sir Alex did absolutely no favours to his successor whatsoever, even if he did choose him personally.
The list of potential candidates was long but the rumours that David Moyes was Sir Alex’s favoured choice hung around Old Trafford like a bad smell. So it was no surprise when it was announced that Everton manager was to be the next Red Devils chief, even if Bill Kenwright was a little put out. Talking of the Everton supremo, he wasted no time in appointing a successor to David Moyes; and what a good choice he made. Roberto Martinez,the former Wigan manager, had taken the club to the FA Cup Final and despite seeing his team relegated in the final games of the season was held in high regard by a number of club chairman.
The irony is of course that his Everton team finished above David Moyes Manchester United. However, I digress, back to being appointed Manchester United manager. You would think that when you take over a club like United you would not even contemplate finishing outside the top four, let alone finishing seventh. Globally when a successful manager leaves a successful club and is replaced by the next bright young manger, things can go one of two ways. The club can either have continued success or it all goes disastrously wrong, ending up in a sacking.
It won’t have escaped David Moyes attention that fan expectation at Manchester United was through the roof. Also, who will forget Blackburn Rovers demise after winning the league title in ’95 and then replacing the manger shortly after?
I feel really sorry for David Moyes, I mean who could turn down the opportunity to manage Manchester United? Especially after ten years of dogged determination and success on a modest budget at Everton and before that in the bowels of the championship with Preston. He must have felt that he had done his apprenticeship. So, rightly or wrongly he must have assumed he was due the big club opportunity… wasn’t he?
To be honest, I am not sure, hindsight is always 20/20 and it is easy to say someone was out of their depth after they have failed and been fired. Failed is such a harsh word. However, I must admit to thinking prior to his appointment that he was not ready for such a big job. Not when you consider the credentials usually required to get a big club managers job, in that regard David Moyes was seriously lacking. Think about it, would Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Juventus or Bayern Munich have considered David Moyes for the job of manager at their club? I doubt they would have given him a second glance, maybe as an assistant or perhaps one for the future, but not right now. Where are his trophies, where are the big egos managed in the dressing room, where are the big time, celebrity transfer dealings… all missing! David Moyes had none of these.
Whist I am not doubting the man’s undeniable talent as a coach the United Job was probably too early in his career. He may have benefited from taking on a contender for European places, such as the Spurs job, for instance. Talking of Tottenham, I hear that Tim Sherwood has been dismissed today, another example of a club stalwart helping the club out when they sack another manager but ending up getting sacked themselves only a few months down the line. The managerial merry-go-round continues.
Where was I , oh yes, David Moyes was clearly a manger of the future but maybe a few more years at a bigger club, a club that could challenge for Europe on a regular basis would have helped develop him further. Clearly no football manager is the finished article as soon as they finish playing, and ten years rising from the lower leagues to mid table scraps in the Premier league will not prepare you for Manchester United.
That said, I can already hear the grumbling sounds of Liverpool fans pointing out the success of Brenden Rodgers whose own apprenticeship was successful stint at lower league minnows Swansea. Nevertheless, in his first year he was very close to the sack himself and the Liverpool board are now reaping the benefits of sticking with their man despite early setbacks on the pitch. In fact, at one point Brenden Rodgers could not win a game for love nor money. Unfortunately, United were just not going to back their man as well as the Liverpool board did with Rodgers. On the other hand, the comparison is not a fair one as Liverpool were expecting a rebuilding year, they were not the champions and subsequently expectation was not as high. Whereas Manchester United were the reigning champions and as usual they expected another dominant year, as did the expectant fans.
I would like to see if anyone put money on Liverpool challenging for the title, Everton finishing fifth and United down in seventh. Someone could have cleaned up at the bookmakers had they known that little snippet of information, back in September.
Either way, I can’t help feel sorry for David Moyes, he was unqualified for the job in the first place and the weight of expectation after so many trophy laden years would crush all but the most experienced coaches, furthermore the egos in the dressing room appeared to overrule the manager which is always a dangerous situation for any newcomer to be in. Conversely, now he is out of the lime light his experience at the top might just make him an ideal candidate for the Tottenham job now that it is vacant.