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Opinion: David Moyes’ greatest mistake as Manchester United manager

by Muhammed Ibrahim Abba


One thing is clear in football: if you’re a good manager, even if you’re with a ‘small’ club, it will show. If you’re not good, it will equally show. David Moyes is good manager but Manchester United is too big for him hence the saying: “never step into a great man’s shoes”.


Manchester United sacked David Moyes – the chosen one after just ten months in charge of the club. This is the first time the club has sacked a manager since November 1986.

His sacking was understandable and to a large extent, it could be reasonably justifiable.

He was sacked following a series of abysmal and shocking performance. He was sacked after breaking many records including turning Old Trafford into an open air theatre where everyone will come and conquer. He was sacked as a result of turning a team that clinched the league with eleven points margin only to find themselves in a frustrating seventh position in the log.

By virtue of the position of Manchester United in the log, this will be their lowest ever points since the inception of the Premier League. It will also be the first time the club will miss out on a Champion’s League football for the first time since 1995.

Should in case the club failed to bag a Europa League spot, it will be the first time the club will miss out on a competitive European competition since 1990.

These and many other reasons signalled a very abysmal future for a club that had just lost their manager to retirement. It was a bad sign for a club wishing to compete in Europe with the aim of trying to add to their trophy cabinet. It was also a bad signal for a club, under transition who is trying to attract world class and established players to sustain the culture of winning trophies.

No player would fancy a move to this current Manchester United side whose chances of making it into European football lies on the balance.

The damage has already been done, it is now left for the new manager to analyse Moyes’ lapses and try to build ahead for the future.

When David Moyes was single-handedly appointed by departing boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, I definitely knew how hectic and demanding such job will be for him. This is a job that requires you to work extra hours to plan ahead of matches. It is a job that will require you to bring result irrespective of whether the team is united or not or whether you’re under tremendous pressure or not.

Results is what made United to appoint David Moyes; and result is what made the club to ditch him. He was unable to deliver the results. He knows what his destiny looks like despite the media hullabaloo and yet he couldn’t work to change it. In the end, he got the sack.

David Moyes’ greatest mistake was the decision to ditch Sir Alex Ferguson’s backroom staff. Of course every manager wants to establish himself in any club he finds himself. But remember, in football, experience is all that matters not familiarity.

The likes of Mike Phelan and Rene Meulensteen had served for a long time under Sir Alex Ferguson. He should have worked with them at least for a season. Instead, he ditched and replaced them with his assistants from Everton. That marked the beginning of his problem.

When the season unfolds everyone expects nothing but if not the league, then a Champions League spot wouldn’t be a bad idea. As expected, results didn’t go the way it’s expected. He worked tirelessly off field; he was always punctual to training; he made a lot of sacrifices. But one thing was missing: results. The inability to replicate his hard work and dedication on the pitch was a big concern.

The fans aren’t patient enough. Not when they’re used to watching a very boisterous Old Trafford Stadium of the Sir Alex era. An Old Trafford that is capable of producing unpredictable results only to turn into a theatre of bad dreams where results have been woeful.

Many clubs including our bitter rivals had travelled to Old Trafford. These clubs came to Old Trafford; they saw the abysmal atmosphere; they saw the negative reactions of the fans despite the raucous chants by the Stretford End stand; in the end, they conquer and leave the stadium victorious.

As a manager of Manchester United, and of course the most successful club in England, one thing is clear: bring home good results. That’s what has kept Sir Alex in the job since 1986 because initially, he would have been sacked as the media then has started taking a swipe at him.

For David Moyes, he didn’t help himself. You can’t be a manager and yet have no constant starting line up since the beginning of the league. With every of his team sheets, there has been a change to the team that had played previously.

Another lesson that needs to be learnt is: always stick to one side. Constant alteration of your squad isn’t going to do you good but harm.

Although many are of the view that David Moyes should have been given at least a season to prove himself, I subscribed to that sentiment especially having realised how Brendan Rodgers had been a revelation for Liverpool this season.

David Moyes inherited a team of champions and even added Fellaini and Mata to it. But Roberto Martinez, his successor at Everton, had dismissed that claim.

One thing is clear in football: if you’re a good manager, even if you’re with a ‘small’ club, it will show. If you’re not good, it will equally show. David Moyes is good manager but Manchester United is too big for him hence the saying: “never step into a great man’s shoes”.

His appointment in the first place was an absolute shocker. Of all his 11-years reign at Everton, he had never won any trophy. He played in the FA Cup final and lost to Chelsea. He once qualified into the Champions league play-off stage and was eventually knocked out by Villarreal. Having known all these facts, it was confounding to believe Sir Alex chose him ahead of other established managers in the world.

For David Moyes, it will be a continuous lesson for him because a manager is always learning irrespective of age or success. As for the fans, this is a transition as well as trial period of which they must live to get themselves accustomed to otherwise managers will keep coming and going.

I wish David Moyes good luck in his feature endeavours. I also wish to thank him for his dedication, hard work, and the respect he had for the club while in charge.


This article was published with permission from Abusudiqu.com

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.


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