The Dirty Dozen Who Need to Go
I think most would agree by now that David Moyes and Manchester United is not a marriage made in heaven. It’s an arranged matrimony, in which the partners have always appeared to be curiously miss-matched. One of those couples that people stare at in restaurants and question ‘how has he done that?!’ United are an underwear model, Moyes is a below-average looking man, who lacks social skills. Neither appears comfortable, and whilst one is eager to give it another try, the other is seemingly desperate to get away. Move on David. Find somebody at your own level who’ll love you back, and be happy. You’re batting way above your average, and United is looking around for more attractive suitors.
To his credit, the manager has in the past proven adept at making average teams difficult to beat. But we’re not looking to be an average team, and I’m afraid he doesn’t have the tactical nouse or positive mentality to progress to winning things. I’m not convinced that’s something you can learn – certainly not quickly. And whilst I’m no doctor of psychology, I’m sure the mentality of the man in charge is reflected in the performances of the players he leads. Where once they had the belief instilled in them that belied their quality, they are now totally devoid of even the belief they’re entitled to have.
But enough about the manager, its well-trodden ground. What of the players, for it is they that I planned to focus on here? Amongst Moyes’ many complaints, is that the squad simply isn’t good enough to compete. Quite how comments such as that are meant to motivate the dressing room I have no idea, but does he have a point? I think he does. When I look at the squad now, there are probably fewer players in it that I’d be sorry to lose, than at any time in the last 20 years.
It seems evident that there are members of the squad that are struggling to buy into Moyes’ philosophy. But I’m not interested in any players that simply don’t like the manager. I’m worried about the amount of them that wouldn’t perform well enough even if they adored him, his coaches and their prehistoric methods. My concern is that there are as many as a dozen players within our first team squad that simply aren’t good enough – that could be allowed to leave the club without any fear we’d regret it later.
So who are this ‘dirty dozen’, and how can we have arrived at a stage where we have so many players that have simultaneously exceeded their use-by date?
- Vidic – Who we already know is off leaving, and it’s not even a disappointment
- Evra –It pains me to say it but time has caught up with him, and right-wingers keep going past him
- Ferdinand – Deteriorating at an alarming rate and increasingly error prone
- Buttner – Not nearly good enough. One competent performance doesn’t disguise it
- Fletcher – No longer a force at the level we’re striving to achieve
- Carrick – A shadow of his former self, probably the biggest let down to the manager
- Cleverley – A complete enigma to me – I have no idea what anyone even thinks they can see in him
- Anderson – We’ve waited long enough for him to show us something. Anything.
- Young – Not a United player. Poor attitude, poor player
- Valencia – Never going to be the player he almost threatened to become
- Nani – Has plenty of talent but after this long I don’t think he’ll ever find consistency
- Macheda – How is he still here? Absolutely stealing a living – a career built on 2 goals
12 Players. Defenders that are old or simply incapable. Midfielders that aren’t comfortable on the ball, and offer neither protection to the defence or create for the attack. Wide men that don’t beat a man, cross consistently, or threaten the opposition goal. Oh, and a striker that hasn’t developed from the player he was 5 years ago. We have them all. And clubs that want to challenge for trophies have no need for such players.
And that’s not to mention Ryan Giggs. Logic would suggest that this will finally be his last season as a player and that will come as a relief to many. But he merits a role somewhere within the set-up and deserves better than to be grouped in with the rest of the under-performers named above.
I digress. Would any of those listed be missed at all? It’s damning to say it, but I really don’t think they would. These are no longer Man Utd players. If any of them left, I honestly don’t think I’d care at this stage. If they were dispensed with en masse, and were adequately replaced, we’d be far better placed going forward.
Of course the draw-back of widespread squad annihilation is that the victims have to be replaced. I reckon we’d need 8 new players to adequately replace that little lot, which would make a grand total of 20 transfers. A ridiculous and unrealistic figure I’m sure you’ll agree, but I fear that’s the extent of the business we’d need to undertake, to get back where we belong. The idea that we’ll attract 8 players of the requisite quality, without the lure of Champions League football is hard to comprehend. The notion that David Moyes could be the man to tempt them stretches the fantasy still further. He shouldn’t be given the opportunity to try.
So how did we get here? I’m loathe to say it, but our highly esteemed former manager must take much of the blame for allowing a situation to arise where we need rid of so many and simultaneously such an influx of new blood. It’s been evident for some time that many of these players were in terminal decline, but it was never addressed. Half the squad has become redundant and that is pretty unforgiveable. I guess when the threat from City emerged, Fergie became too focussed on the present, and lost sight of the future. He perhaps didn’t leave the club in the healthy position he intended after all, and for that Moyes possibly does deserve a little sympathy. But only a little.
I suppose it might seem unkind to claim we need a new manager, having highlighted all these deficiencies within the squad. But they are separate issues. I don’t believe the current squad has the quality to compete with the best. The problem is, even if it did, this manager couldn’t lead it to do so. I think it was probably by Fergie’s determination alone that we won the title last season. And whilst I doubt he’d have come near to repeating it this year, we’d have been a great deal closer than this. There is no way a team that won the league last year should be finishing mid-table 12 months later, despite the short-comings identified here.
If we want to be challenging at the very top of the league again anytime soon, we’ll need a new manager. But that’s not all we need.
Do you think Moyes and the Dirty Dozen should go in the summer?