Like it or not, he was let down by a select fraction of those around him in the MUFC hierarchy every bit as much as he harmed his own chances with some of his decisions.
Some of those bad results were unfortunate. Others were down to more than that, obviously. The unfortunate ones are all a part of football, something any good boss must deal with.
But it was the very beginning and the very end of Moyes’ ill-fated spell in charge at Old Trafford that leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
Sir Alex Ferguson did his best to help Moysie out. He handpicked him as his replacement and urged the fans to give him all the support he needed.
Unfortunately, the hiring process should not have been left down to Fergie in the first place.
When any other company needs to recruit someone new to an integral leadership position within the firm, the final decision usually comes down to the CEO.
Ed Woodward, though, appears to have bottled that crucial aspect of his job. Just like he bottled the transfer market.
Just like that, Moyes was sabotaged from the start.
If I was to suggest one thing David could and should have done differently himself, however, it’s his choice of staff.
Of all the advice Ferguson offered him, he did tell Moyes to keep the incumbent backroom employees on. It’s a tried and tested practice in a period of transition – you keep hold of people who understand your new surroundings, and then move them on once you’ve completely adjusted to the climate.
That’s not the opinion of one person, either. That is a fact of corporate practice. You see it used successfully absolutely everywhere, because it is how these things work. Ferguson was in charge for almost three decades, so it was particularly crucial here.
But not only did Moyes opt against that transition, he brought in Everton guys and Everton types.
Steve Round replacing Mike Phelan and the sudden promotion of retired player Phil Neville were huge mistakes. In fact, the only staff member I think was a wise move to have around was Chris Woods, the goalkeeping coach – David De Gea’s excellent season in a sea of mediocrity validates this.
I know Phil Neville has a Manchester United background, but let’s be honest here: he was a bit part player at Old Trafford. He was a far bigger cog in the Everton machine.
As for Ryan Giggs, who is now the caretaker manager for the final few fixtures of the season, he should never have been made a player-coach in the first place.
I discussed at length in a previous blog that while some people have managed to juggle both of those roles, very few do. Nobody wants to have to work with someone on the pitch that beforehand is giving them direct orders, and afterwards potentially whispering into the manager’s ear about what this player did wrong and why that player should be dropped. Especially when a 40-year-old Giggs cannot lead by example twice a week like he used to.
Giggs and Neville, albeit great servants of Manchester United football club, are unfortunately a damning indictment of the state of coaching in England.
Where else on the planet would you find so many players stroll right into a prominent coaching job near the top of the food chain? The Dutch don’t do that. Look at the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, who are currently working their way up having started at the bottom coaching schoolkids in their club’s academy.
Nobody graduates from University and immediately lands a job as a company chairman. There’s a reason for this.
It’s no wonder Dutch coaches are so highly-regarded. It’s no wonder they produce more talent. It’s no wonder Louis van Gaal is one of the front-runners to succeed Moyes. It looks like some people at the top of the club have finally seen the error of their ways.
And I sincerely hope they have. Because this can easily be written off as a poor season. One poor season. Liverpool were out of the title picture for 20 years. United have been gone for less than one. And look at Liverpool now. This can be fixed, as soon as next season.
But, we just have to hope that the United powers that be do not repeat their errors. Just because Moyes has been removed, doesn’t mean the problem itself has too.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- Phil Neville
- David Moyes
- Sir Alex Ferguson
- Ryan Giggs