As a Manchester United fan, this has been the toughest season I've ever known. Not just because we are playing appallingly, or that we aren't going to win a trophy, it's because Liverpool are doing so bloody well in our place, and are so bloody smug about it.
They may be playing well, they may be playing beautiful football, they may be scoring goal after goal. But tell me...who wants to see Luis Suarez lift the PL trophy? Who thinks that Daniel Sturridge is deserving of a winner's medal? Who thinks they have the right attitude to be champions? Let's be honest, they have so many players with so many different reasons to hate them.
This may sound like the jealous ramblings of a bitter United fan, but look back on the previous two decades of football, which team is omnipresent a top of the tree?
The main reason for United's incredibly long-lasting winning power, is the power of Sir Alex Ferguson. Fergie is the best manager in history and will go down in legend as probably the greatest manager ever. He built team after wonderful team, and won trophy after wonderful trophy, and accolade after wonderful accolade. He divided opinion but won untold respect. So who would want to take over from such a man?
That always poisoned chalice fell to David Moyes. The now beleaguered Scotsman was chosen, personally, by Ferguson. And with the blessing of the greatest manager ever, he had to lead a team of largely overrated talent to follow in the footsteps of Fergie. Cynically, I think Ferguson looked at his title winning side of last season, realised that he had gotten a bit lucky, realised that they were short in so many areas (defence, midfield, youth, desire), and wanted out.
Moyes came in knowing that he needed to do a lot of work. But with a team still in awe of its previous leader, that was always going to be tough. The first mistake of the former Everton gaffer was to fail to bring in any good signings in his first transfer window. Fellaini was a great player at Everton, but he was a panic buy when he knew that nothing else was coming up. Fabregas would've been the perfect signing, and Baines was needed so badly. When neither came to fruition Moyes lost his first battle as the fans seemed to lose faith slowly from that point onwards.
Results didn't start too badly with a 4-0 victory at Swansea, but from then on in things just fell away. Having his predecessor sat 30 rows behind him, looking quizzically at every decision he made, and critically at every performance, Moyes was walking the tight rope between a transitional season and a disaster zone.
The Champions League brought hope for the fans, with a quarter-final well reached and an admirable performance against the favourites. But after performances that were like the United of old against Norwich and Newcastle, Moyes was undone by his former team. The irony and the harshness of that fact won't be remembered by many, with his former successes and recognition now tempered by his failure at Old Trafford.
I belive that the sacking of him this morning was based solely on peer pressure from the fans and the media. Pre-social media culture would've seen Moyes still in a job and preparing for the most important transfer window in the club's history. Maybe the big names they want to bring in don't fancy working with Moyes, maybe he was too rigid in his transfer policy, maybe Fergie is going to come back. But the truth is that this decision comes at a poor time, with poor reasoning and defeats the object of bringing in a manager to rebuild the side after Ferguson. The team needed to go through a period of change and a period where it could reinvent itself. Doing that under one manager is much easier than doing it under a string of short-term fixes.
“All my staff stood by me, the players stood by me, you stood by me - and your job now is to stand by our new manager. That’s important." - Sir Alex Ferguson (May 2013)
Ryan Giggs will take temporary charge at Old Trafford.
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