In David Moyes’ Defence…

Last Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 - 20:35

Dattaraj Thaly

What would a day in the life of David Moyes be like? He finds himself in the enviable position of being able to sit in the home manager’s dug out chair at Old Trafford – which some say was the dream job of the “Special One” – Jose Mourinho. Yet there is nothing enviable about replacing the most successful football manager in Britain for all the obvious reasons. David Moyes does not want to be compared to his predecessor. Neither does he have the ability nor the aura of his predecessor. David Moyes has won nothing. Yet there he is – Manager of Manchester United having been handpicked by the Boss himself.

Despite making all the right noises with regards to addressing the problems in United’s midfield, the summer ended up with major embarrassment for David Moyes. The club representatives haplessly chased players across Europe only to have been rejected each time. United were unprofessional, incompetent and clueless. So much so that some folks decided to take matters into their own hands by turning up as imposters in the La Liga offices to sign Ander Herrera. Most fans were quick in laying the blame squarely on David Moyes when in reality the buck should have stopped at Ed Woodward’s desk. Even the deadline day debacle of having to pay £4m extra for Fellaini could have been avoided had Woodward been decisive in bidding for the Everton duo despite Moyes having disclosed his desire to sign them fairly early. If England legend, Gary Linekar is to be believed, Fellani, Baines and Fabregas were the only three summer targets outlines by Moyes. Which leaves a big question mark over what actually transpired in the boardroom.

Transfer window tribulation had finally passed when United began embarking on their worst start to a season in 24 years. The sudden meltdown in form of key players didn’t help either while some trigger happy Twitter fanatics even trended #moyesout for a day or two. But if we observe closely, barring the home defeat to West Brom, other results aren’t something United fans have not been accustomed to during Ferguson’s time - being massacred in a Manchester Derby or struggling to beat Liverpool at Anfield. That’s happened before, maybe not in the same month, but it has happened before. Even the fixture list had no favors to offer Moyes as string of poor results appeared to have come thick and fast. His tenure has been defined by one word – crisis, which is hugely inappropriate and inaccurate.

David Moyes has done a lot of things right at Old Trafford for which he hasn’t got the credit he deserves. Keeping hold off Wayne Rooney is one such thing. Moyes has been quick and decisive in slamming the door shut on Chelsea in their attempts to lure Rooney. Losing Rooney to Chelsea would have been a knock out blow to United even as early as September. As things stand today, the importance of a healthy and happy Wayne Rooney to United is evident. He has been their best player by far having found his energy and purpose back. Moyes surely deserves a pat on the back.

Despite being a vulnerable position, Moyes (who previously has handed Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley their Premier League debuts) has reposed his faith young and promising Adnan Januzaj who in fact with a dream debut suddenly blew away all the gloom and doom surrounding United. This gamble on Januzaj could have backfired when there is such a strong clamor over Kagawa’s repeated exclusion from the starting eleven. However Moyes has stuck to his guns and Januzaj is beginning to blossom and everybody suddenly seems to have pinned their hopes on this new hero which wasn’t the case when United failed to sign a midfielder.

Crucially, Moyes has not let the Premier League form affect the teams morale in other competitions – United are unbeaten and top of the table in the Champions League with a comfortable win over a very good Bayer Leverkusen side and a tactically solid performance against Shaktar, a team that had previously beaten every English club at the Donbass Arena. United have safely progressed to the next round of the Capital One cup beating Liverpool and earning a home game against Norwich that can be considered to be a relatively easy tie. United are now six points behind Arsenal and Liverpool, four behind Chelsea and three behind City – having been the only team to have faced all the traditional big teams except Arsenal. That’s surely not a crisis!

Managing Manchester United is like managing the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Yankees – you need to be prepared for the whole shebang, nothing but winning is considered as a failure and the weight of expectation from fans is like an albatross around a manager’s neck. When David Moyes signed the dotted line, he had full knowledge of this fact and so did Sir Alex. To treat the appointment of Moyes as a mistake or an error in judgment would do huge disservice to the wisdom of Sir Alex, who is a living testament to what it takes to be United manager.

David Moyes’ career at Old Trafford is still in its embryonic stages. Yet he has come across as a man who is willing to gamble despite being aware of his position and the repercussions. David Moyes wants to run this football club the way he thinks is right. He wants complete control and in no way wants to ape the management methods of Sir Alex. Be it either axing the entire staff of Ferguson which included Mike Phelan, Rene Meulensteen and Eric Steele and replacing them with his own staff or preventing Ezequiel Garay`s move to Old Trafford, a move that was initiated during Ferguson’s tenure. David Moyes has already shown enough evidence that he isn’t going to be cornered into making decisions based on popular sentiment – even if that sentiment was permeated down from Sir Alex himself.

The appointment of Moyes as United’s manager is the apotheosis of his career. What he does now matters, the rest is inconsequential. David Moyes is his own man and probably the right man to manage Manchester United.



First Published: Monday, October 21, 2013 - 20:31

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