8th May 2013 will always stick in my memory. It was the end of an era, the day Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement (for the 2nd time) as Manchester United manager. This time though he meant it and wasn’t going to back track. 26yrs, 6mths, 2days & 38 trophies later that shocking 2-0 defeat to Oxford doesn’t look too bad.
As soon as the announcement was made the search was on for a replacement, Pep was already at Bayern, Klopp wasn’t leaving & Jose was destined for Chelsea. It then emerged that Moyes was handpicked by SAF to take charge. This was quite a surprise to most fans & pundits alike. Personally I think SAF stayed on a year too long, if Aguero hadn’t popped up with that winner I think he would’ve stepped down then & Pep would be in charge now.
Of course as soon as Moyes was announced many fans were turning against him, not good enough for Utd, no big team experience etc etc. I for one said to myself ‘Lets give the guy a chance, SAF clearly has seen something in him’.
I knew this season would be a struggle and didn’t expect to win the league, but hoped for a top 4 finish (still not out of the equation as I type).
The transfer window set the stall out for what is turning out to be a very long season for Utd. Not helped by the fact that Gill also stepped down, so we went into a transfer window with a new Chief Exec (Ed Woodward), and a new manager. This was fully taken advantage of as United’s transfer dealings became so public it was crazy. Never had I come across such a ridiculous way of doing business and can only put it down to other clubs realising the Fergie Factor had gone, they could now have the upper hand on Utd.
So the season started with Fellaini the only notable signing (a player Fergie tried to sign 2 season’s previous). Aspirations were still the same (top 4 finish). 2 months in and we had already lost to Man City, Liverpool, & West Brom. United’s aura had clearly gone.
Things haven’t really improved over the season with defeats against Swansea, Spurs, Chelsea, and most recently Olympiakos hitting home that the team just isn’t good enough at the moment.
The knives are well and truly sharpened with many United fans calling for Moyes to go. Are these fans that have only supported the club over the last 20yrs or those that have been there through the good times & the bad.
Just because we’re Manchester United does not give us a right to win every trophy that we are in, yes we should be competing but who is to blame for the performances, is it Moyes or the players? Perhaps its both.
Personally I’m saddened that our style of play has become predictable of late and that can be put down to a mixture of players lacking confidence, teams not fearing us, and Moyes wanting to play safe to try and stop our slide.
Yes this is a team that won the league last season, but a team that all the pundits didn’t think were capable of winning the league (it was a combination of Fergie Factor & other teams failings that gifted us the league. 3 of the top 4 changed their managers during the summer, 2 of those teams do so on a regular basis so the players are used to the merry go round.
This current team reminds me of AVB’s Chelsea. There are a number of players that clearly don’t respect Moyes & won’t play for him. Lets see what happens over the summer when the dead wood is gotten rid of. Mata being brought in & Rooney signing a new contract give me hope that this is just 1 bad season.
For now though I still believe Moyes can do the job. I’m more than happy to revisit this post in a years’ time and hopefully be proved right. I understand why there are those calling for Moyes to go, its sad to see the club how it is, but lets stick by the club and this difficult transitional season and look forward to 2014/15.