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Wednesday 17th of September 2014 04:28:52 AM
 

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David Moyes at Old Trafford

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Why Manchester United should fire its new manager to avert a disaster of epic proportions

Last week, Manchester United was knocked out of the UEFA Champions League. The club is also trailing on the English Premier League (EPL) table at seventh position. This means the most successful football club in England will not qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League, the most competitive football league in the world. These failures have powerful implications on the club’s future financial position but equally on its ability to retain some of its best players.

Manchester United’s woes began with the hiring of David Moyes as club manager, ironically on the recommendation of Sir Alex Ferguson, the club’s most successful manager. Since Moyes took over, the club’s performance has gone to the dogs. His sympathizers claim he took over a club with a weak team; that he has been given little money to buy new players, and that he should be given time to reorganise and build his own team. These arguments are actually excuses for Moyes’ incompetence.

The claim that Moyes inherited a weak team is ridiculous. The team he took over had just won the EPL title – the most competitive national league in Europe. Therefore, even if the team Moyes inherited had weaknesses, its last season’s performance would predict that by now it should be number three or four on the league table and able to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the next season. As I write this article (Monday morning on April 14th), Manchester United is number seven, 20 points behind leaders Liverpool.

The claims that Moyes needs time to build his own team are not born of objective measure. The new manager at Everton, Robert Martinez, has taken the club to fourth position on the league table with 66 points and five games to go – ahead of Manchester United by nine points. He has not bought any new players worth mentioning here; he has had the same time “to build his own team” as Moyes has had at Manchester United and actually is using the same squad that Moyes left behind and which finished sixth on the league table last season. Spurs and Chelsea too have new managers but their performance has not collapsed.

The point is that both Moyes and the team he inherited at Old Trafford have a record. As already argued, the team had won the EPL last season with 89 points – the maximum points this season’s high-flying Liverpool, can get. And they took the title after playing 34 games. This same team lost the title on goal difference in 2011/12 with 89 points and had won it the previous season, 2010/11. Therefore, the team’s record is clear. Now let us examine Moyes’ eleven-year record at Everton.

In 2003/04 season, Everton under Moyes finished 17th (on the verge of relegation) with 39 points. In the 2004/05 season, Everton finished 4th with 61 points – the best performance on the EPL table that Moyes ever recorded at that club. From then, he proceeded to prove that he is a mediocre mid-table manager for the rest of his career at Everton – finishing 11th with 50 points in 2005/06 season; 6th with 58 points in the 2006/07; 5th with 65 points in 2007/08; again 5th with 63 points in the 2008/09; 8th with 61 points in the 2009/10; 7th with 54 points in the 2010/11; 7th with 56 points in the 2011/12 and 6th with 63 points in the 2012/13. He never won any trophy at Everton.

Therefore, in his career, the best position on the table Moyes ever got was 4th and only once; and the highest points he ever earned were 65 and again only once. If Manchester United finishes this season at Number Seven or Six on the table with 60 or 65 points, this has little reflection on the quality of the players but the competences of its new manager. To expect that Moyes would therefore perform wonders at Old Trafford cannot be found in his record at Everton. His only achievement as a manager of a club was to have stayed there for eleven years.

Defenders of Moyes also argue that even Ferguson took some years at Manchester United before he began to win titles. They also bring forth evidence of the English press calling upon Ferguson to be fired for these failures. But these arguments compare mangoes and oranges. Ferguson inherited a club in 1986 that had not won a major league titlein 19 years.

Ferguson had had an excellent record as a manager before coming to Manchester United. He had managed Aberdeen and helped them win the Scottish Cup in the 1981-82 Season – the first time the club had won this title in 15 years and again in 1982-83, 1983-84 and 1985-86. He had won the Scottish League Cup in 1985-86 and the Scottish Premier Division title in 1979-80, 1983-84 and in 1984-85. He led Aberdeen to the European Cup Winners’ Cup 1982-83 season beating Bayern Munich in the quarter final and then defeating Real Madrid in the final. Later that December he led Aberdeen to win the European Super Cup. By the time he left Aberdeen, Ferguson had a lot of silverware to boast of – 10 trophies in all.

Thus, when he joined Manchester United, there was a clear record of success by Ferguson to give hope to fans that he can turn things around. That is why, even when Manchester United was performing badly in the English league in the late 1980s, there was a basis to give its new manager the benefit of the doubt. Even when the press called for his sacking saying three years of excuses must come to an end, any reasonable observer would have retained confidence in Ferguson.

Moyes record above also speaks for itself. Hence there is no reason to believe that he can do better at Old Trafford.His current performance is consistent with his record of eleven years at Everton. Even if he were given the best players in the world, there is no evidence that Moyes can win anything. Indeed, it is now clear that he was the problem at Everton given that the club’s performance has significantly improved since he left. With 66 points in the bag already and five games to play, Everton has earned the highest points ever in the EPL. Therefore to save Manchester United from disaster, the club should fire Moyes immediately.

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Comments (20)Add Comment
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written by utdfan, April 20, 2014
Totally Agree, actually mentioned this when he was first appointed BUT received a lot of stick for saying it.....guess now these Moyes lovers are beginning to see the damage this poser has brought to our club.......Moyes is like the Black Plague!!!
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written by Rajab Kakyama, April 21, 2014
SIR ALEX FERGUSON A "MESSIAH" AT LAST!
Manchester United fans must acquaint themselves with a lot of Nigerian movies, if they are to keep their faith in God alive. I find it rather a simplistic thought that whenever a Premier league club is not performing well, then the problem must be with the manager. For the last three years, Chelsea has had a different manager in each of the seasons and yet it has not been able to win the premiership. Tottenham, has had eight managers in as many seasons and it is still a mediocre team. So, is the "magic" with the man who only stands on the touch-line or is football a game played on a 90m x 120m pitch?
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written by Rajab Kakyama, April 21, 2014
Di Mateo, a man with no known coaching record won the champions league where Mourinho "the chosen one" and Anchelloti had failed. Is football then, a game of chance? Football is "teamwork", where everyone has to do his bit to earn a good result. This includes the players, the managers, the referees, the fans and sometimes, the man upstairs. With a bigger purse now than what Goodison park could offer, Moyes can buy the players that he so needs- those that will pay allegiance to him and play their hearts out like it were with Ferguson. But this will take more time than what the club fanatics are willing to offer.
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written by Rajab Kakyama, April 21, 2014
What these fanatics are so willing to forget is the fact that, out of the bottom five Premiership clubs, four have changed their managers in the last four months. West Bromwich Albion (16th) replaced Steve Clarke with Pepe Mel, Norwich (17th) replaced Chris Hughton with Neil Adams, Cardiff (18th) replaced Malky Mackay with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Fulham (19th) replaced Rene Meulensteen with Felix Magath. What is consistent though, is the continued poor performances of these clubs. Much as Moyes could be considered the "devil" at Old Trafford but what if a "bigger devil" walks in next?
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written by Rajab Kakyama, April 21, 2014
Whether Moyes leaves or stays, it is all smiles at Anfield. And as a Liverpool supporter, it has been a long 25yrs wait. It was Liverpool that Sir Alex Ferguson dethroned and it is Liverpool at the top again. If the trophy is to come to Anfield this season, then Moyes would be a "welcome message" and his anointer, Sir Alex Ferguson, an automatic "Messiah" at Anfield. I would put it then, that, at long last "sanity" has been "restored" in the Premiership.
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written by Rigondeau Ortiz, April 21, 2014
Nice article that properly analyses and puts Moyes in context. It's the Barclays Premier League, not the English Premier League, though.
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written by Winnie, April 21, 2014
1.1st of all we should thank M7 for bringing DSTV gone are the days when we would only watch football made in Germany only.
2. England has had world class players like john banns,Parker,Paul Gascoine,Beckham,Seaman,Owen couldn't Ferguson recommend one of these former players of England as Man U coach?
3.I thought football was a talent/gift what happened to the legs of Rooney i hope they are just not indisciplined and just despising their new coach.
4. Ferguson has refused to give some tips to moyes so that the world thinks he is the best coach .
5.Germany's coach was a former player so Man should also appoint a former player as its coach.Thank you
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written by Omeros, April 21, 2014
Andrew, as a Gooner, watching all you United spoiled brats fans whine this season has been one of the most satisfying reversals of sporting fate! Haha! Anyway, I write not (only) to gloat but to repeat what Sir Alex Ferguson told a journalist who asked him what the most important attribute was in a successful manager: "I would say luck. Especially in the first two years. Because you have to get over that doubting phase, when people are saying: 'Who the hell is this that's come in?'". Who am I to disagree with the great man?
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written by Omeros, April 21, 2014
Over the many years that Ferguson presided over United, he moulded the club into an image of his ideals and values. He tolerated no director of football. His word went. In his first years, in an unpopular move he cleared out from the club influential cult figures such as Paul Magrath and Norman Whiteside. The players he brought in had to conform to his philosophy and expectations or else ship out - and no one was too big for him: not Ruud van Nistelrooy, not Jaap Stam, not Peter Schmeichel (whom Ferguson fired for insubordination, but took back only when he had received an abject apology from the player) and not Roy Keane (arguably the best midfielder in the world when Ferguson moved him on).
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written by Omeros, April 21, 2014
It is not an exaggeration to say that, by the time he left, Man United had become in many important ways his club. The players had been recruited by him, schooled under his tutelage, trained according to his regimen and disciplined by his hand. They executed his tactics and, in short, they played for him. United was the club he built. They named a stand after him. It would have been nigh on impossible for anyone to sustain the club's fortunes in the mould of Ferguson without actually being Ferguson.
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written by Omeros, April 21, 2014
No managerial transition at United was ever going to be seamless given how thoroughgoing was the personal influence of Ferguson at the club. A number of players would inevitably have their noses put out of joint. The players' reactions to new methods, new approaches and new personnel was never going to be unanimously positive. And it is by no means obvious that a 'star' manager with a track record of success from a famous European rival would have fared any better.
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written by Omeros, April 21, 2014
A number of studies from across the professions indicate that continued success is highly contingent upon context. Star equity analysts who make their name at one financial institution rarely maintain their level of performance when, invariably, they are poached by another institution. The skill of a star surgeon is seldom found to be portable to another hospital. The same, it must be said, goes for football. The Special One, who had twice conquered Europe with Porto and Inter was unable to bring la Decima to the Bernabeu and is now considered a failure and a nuisance by the fans and management of Real Madrid.
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written by Omeros, April 21, 2014
Chelsea fans don't think especially highly of Luiz Felipe Scolari who, when he joined their club, had won multiple titles with Gremio and Palmeiras (including two Copa Libedatores titles) and a World Cup with Brazil. We will never know if Ferguson would have been able to repeat his many successes at another great European club. But what we do know is that luck and the institutional patience of Man United provided the context for his long and fruitful career. It is a shame that the values of our age of instant gratification would deny to David Moyes the same opportunities afforded to Sir Alex Ferguson. But not that much of a shame!
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written by Omeros, April 21, 2014
Mind the gap! Haha!
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written by Ocheto, April 21, 2014
Too many superlatives, seasoning without stake, and no substance -- obviously a soccer Anglophile. But if English Premier League (he even got its name wrong) was that good how come in soccer, the game the English invented, they have won only one miserable world cup (and way back 50 years ago), while soccer powerhouses like Brazil, Germany and Brazil have won several times, essentially owning soccer world. As to what factors determine the success of a team, managerial skills come way down the list. The number one determinative is the product on the field. Having players with superior talent, not a manger with good managerial skills, is more import. Sometimes even dumb luck is more operative.
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written by Rajab Kakyama, April 22, 2014
Moyes out!!! Man U headed for interesting times. Could be battling relegation next season.
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written by Marvin ya Kuku, April 22, 2014
Football teams go with the times - especially in England. There was Liverpool in the 80s, Man U in the 90s and 00s, Arsenal late 90s till about 2005 and then Chelsea and Man U the newcomer money boys. Football has changed considerably and Man U have to realise it. Moyes may be sacked but then what next? The era of having Ferguson cross the line first every year or so is finished. The faster they realise that the better.
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written by Diane Kenneth, April 22, 2014
This is refreshing Andrew. Good news is, he has finally been sacked. The board must have read your article!
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written by Bob, April 23, 2014
Very true, and suprised Mwenda can also analyse soccer with perfection.
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written by winnie, April 26, 2014
You see my idea on Man U was spot on it was as if i was at their management Board meeting.On the National ID i heard some opposition leaders as usual decampaigning the great project .every one should have an ID after all its for free but i don't know why Ugandans get offended when they ask for their marriage certificates each time i visit a Ugandan family there is a bible verse hanged in their homes i dont why they don't follow the biblical teachings but still there should have been a provision in the ID form for those who are just cohabiting since they are the majority.

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