“Your job is to stand by your new manager”
It’s funny. As I stood in the stands at Old Trafford after that game against Swansea, cheering the words of our departing manager, I also heard a roar of appreciation synonym to “We will, Sir Alex, we promise”.
7 months later, here we are: 7th in the league & knocked out of in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. No one said it would be easy, but no one said it would be this hard. Those words are probably going round and round in David Moyes’ head right now.
As Manchester United collapsed to a, let’s be perfectly honest, abject Swansea performance, David Moyes sat in the dugout, head in hands, looking bereft of confidence. Who can blame him? 4 losses in the last 6 home games. Such a run is bound to strip any manager from their self-belief.
At the tender age of 23, all I’ve known as a Manchester United fan is success. As a Manchester United fan, all I want is success. Sadly, this isn’t happening at the moment. Why? No one really knows, but the “blame game” has well and truly started. Some will point to the tactics board and tell us that Moyes’ choices are at fault. Some will blame the players and their lack of motivation on the pitch. Some will take a look and curse at the injury table. Some will simply point at Moyes and blame absolutely everything on him. Who is right? I don’t have the answer, but if you want an answer from me, I think it’s a little bit of everything.
Yes, United lack Sir Alex Ferguson, who seemed to have been given a God given gift in motivating good players and making them feel like they were capable of everything. Yes, the players sometimes look half-arsed, showing little to no movement off the ball. Yes, Manchester United have had terrible luck with injuries, and yes, Moyes looking distraught on the sidelines doesn’t help.
The fact that Moyes was offered a 6 year contract in the summer suggests that no matter what happens this season, Moyes will still be there in August 2014 when next season starts. There have been some positives this season. The introduction of Januzaj has given many something to smile about, although this growing reliance on him to make something happen in games has become somewhat worrying. A half-decent cup run in the League Cup and hopeful performances (+ a qualification from the group stage & a kind draw in the 1st knockout round) in the Champions League show that all is not lost.
Manchester United appointed Moyes in hope of long-term success. Long-term success comes with time, but time is something many managers aren’t given enough of. People calling for Moyes to be sacked lack patience, but can they really be blamed? As I’ve stated previously, success is something we’ve all become accustomed to as Manchester United fans. Football is a game of opinions and that is theirs.
It’s refreshing to see that a lot of fans are accepting that this season is one of transition. Some managers like Rudi Garcia at AS Roma have managed to find the perfect solution with the players handed to them. Moyes seems to be needing a bit more time, and it seems he will be given it.
As for transfers, the summer was rather frustrating. I think Moyes was wrong to make certain bids public and the signing of Fellaini, despite being one we all expected, did seem to have been made in panic after many other deals failed to (some rather embarrassingly) materialise. The call to sign players in January is an expected one, but as we have said many times on the podcast on this very site, it’s bad luck that these signings need to be made in a World Cup year. Players will feel that moving clubs could affect their chances of appearing for their respective national teams in Brazil. Had this all happened in 2015, maybe targets would be more willing to move. Performances of their current clubs also come into account. It’s hard to believe that Koke, currently a regular starter in a team posing a serious challenge for La Liga, would want to move to a club in 7th position. Certain targets, like Coentrao, do need a move to play first team football and appear more realistic, but at the end of the day, the responsibility of signing players falls to Edward Woodward and David Moyes. Talking about it on here or on Twitter won’t make them move any faster nor will it influence their decisions.
All we can do as supporters is exactly what is stated in the label given to followers of a certain team: support. This isn’t a piece to call out those that want Moyes out. That is their opinion and I feel obliged to respect it. This isn’t even a piece. It’s just a bunch of thoughts typed on a Word document.
Moyes will be given time, whether fans like it or not. Sir Alex Ferguson’s statement back in May made that extremely clear. The roar I heard when those now famous words were uttered suggested that 70 odd thousand people promised him that they would do exactly that: stand by their new manager.
The problem with that is that it needs to be done for better or for worse, not just for better.