Could the end be nigh for David Moyes?
A question I never expected to consider when Alex Ferguson annointed David Moyes to be his successor. Although I was hardly head over heels at the appointment it seemed to make sense. Half a year on and I regret to say that it seems a mistake.
My biggest fear with David Moyes was whether he would be out of his depth. A lack of success against superior opposition and a reputation for negative tactics were cause for concern but by and large the positives seemed to outweigh the negatives. His achievements on meagre resources were impressive and crucially he seemed more likely than some more illustrious candidates to promote youth from within. In addition, he came across as a dignified, hard working man who would buy into the values of the club rather than his own hype.
The uncomfortable truth on the evidence so far is that he simply isn’t up to the job. Football might be a results business but at Manchester United I like to think that style counts for something. Six months on the job and we have seen neither. The Fulham performance was a grim caricature of all I have increasingly feared as the months have ticked by. Agricultural football, devoid of intelligence and flying in the face of logic. I have listened, and even agreed in the past, to claims that he deserves a certain number of transfer windows to put ‘his stamp’ on the squad. I don’t agree with this assessment any longer.
The argument goes that our squad is weak and in certain areas I would agree. Yet this can no longer be used as a defence of the manager given his tactical approach completely bypasses our strengths and gives even the most limited of opposition ample opportunity to exploit our vulnerabilities. A two man midfield that is easily outrun, out thought and overpowered offers little protection for a creaking backline. A sole attacking routine which ignores the intricate creative talents of Mata, van Persie et al is a criminal misuse of the talent at his disposal. £37 million for the finest central playmaker in the country and our manager uses him either to deliver crosses onto the head of 6ft6 centre back or to linger around in hope of getting on the end of an Ashley Young knock down. It makes you shudder to think what he had in mind for Cesc Fabregas or Ander Herrera had those pursuits been successful. I fail to see the logic in bringing in high quality talent if the man in charge has no idea how to make the best use of them.
Much has been made of cryptic tweets and Instagram posts from players who might have reason to dislike the manager. These should be taken with a pinch of salt given neither Hernandez nor Ferdinand have excelled this season and don’t merit a place in the side. Yet the same could be said of the vast majority of our players. Perhaps Moyes is the victim of a cowardly campaign by petulant, disgruntled footballers but the sad reality is that Moyes is employed to motivate those same players. For all the faults of our current crop, they are far , far better than our performances suggest and like all managers Moyes must take the blame for that. It might not seem fair but modern sport at the highest level rarely is.
I have already read several references to Einstein’s famous quote about insanity being repeating the same pattern and expecting a different result. It has been consistently applied in reference to Moyes’ tactics but it could soon be starting to apply to the repeated mantra of Moyes ‘deserving time’ whilst he makes no discernible progress with each passing month. In reality despite a brief December resurgence (in no small part down to playing a midfield three) the team have regressed into a shadow of last season’s champions. Unless there are real signs of positive change between now and the end of the season it would be insanity not to seriously contemplate a change.