Overnight, David Moyes was appointed the successor of Sir Alex Ferguson, but is it the right decision for Manchester United?
The departure of Sir Alex Ferguson from the helm of footballing heavyweights Manchester United marks the end of one of football’s greatest dynasties. Winning 38 trophies in 26 seasons with the Red Devils, Ferguson, the rich man’s Wenger and arguably the most iconic manager in the history of the ‘World Game’ leaves a hole not just in the heart of the Manchester faithful, but in the English Premier League.
The man charged with his replacement doesn’t just have the unfairly high expectations of the club’s fans to appease, but must fill a void at the helm of what many consider the greatest domestic league in the world. However with Spain, Italy and England all embarrassed on the continental stage this season and the all-German Champions League final to be held at Wembley possibly the greatest insult to British sports fans since the 5-0 Ashes whitewash of 2007, Fergie’s successor has a monumental task ahead of them.
Very few expect United’s next boss to cultivate a legacy worthy of their predecessor, nor does anyone expect their career to span four decades, but it is important that in the few seasons between now and the next time this discussion is had, the consistency and trophies engrained into the Manchester United identity continue. In what would have been one of the strangest yet most prophesized moves in sports history, the only man capable of this was Jose Mourinho.
The former Chelsea boss was and is an unashamed fan of Fergie with his feelings publically reciprocated on more than one occasion. The self-proclaimed ‘chosen one’ has done very little to undermine his stellar managerial reputation in his recent stint with Real Madrid, even if his personality and temperament remain questionable at best. With 2 Champions League trophies, domestic titles in 7 of the past 10 seasons and just one season without silverware since 2002, Mourinho seemed the best suited of all candidates, including the impressive Jurgen Klopp, to fill Sir Alex’s large boots.
Just as importantly, his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo – another prodigal son destined to return to the Premier League at some point in the future – and ability to successfully manage large personalities puts Jose in the best possible position to ensure the Manchester faithful have their cravings for the world’s best players thoroughly satisfied.
Whilst Klopp’s name was been thrown around as a potential successor to Fergie, the resurgence of domestic managers in England since the Fabio Capello tenure as England boss has led to the making of a calamitous decision. Unfortunately, that decision’s name is David Moyes.
Sir Alex’s fellow Scotsman has been touted as the gaffer’s successor since he was nearly appointed assistant manager back in 1999, and whilst a tremendous manager and seemingly terrific individual in his own right, the demands, style, expectations and class of Manchester United is simply too much for a man accustomed to atrocious financial backing and making the best of what he has. As much as it pains me to agree with the often agonizing football punditry of former Soceroo David Zdrilic, Moyes is simply not the man for the job.
There is no better example of the potential disaster that awaits the Everton manager than Roy Hodgson’s 2010 move from Fulham to Liverpool. Hodgson in the opinion of many, including myself, is one of the great managers in the game to date with his guidance of Fulham from relegation certainties in 2007 to Europa League finalists in 2010 an incredible feat. His ability to unify a side and bring joy to supporters with limited expectations are rightfully considered incredible traits. After all, what is football if you can’t take pride from the success of your own team?
When you are praised for managing in a certain manner however, any change in tactics, expectations or strategy can be hard to comprehend, let alone implement. Considered a genius for the signing of Schwarzer, Johnson and Hangeland – three consummate professions –, Hodgson’s procuring of Jovanovic, Cole, Konchesky, Poulsen and Meireles in his opening months at Anfield would have been fine additions to a Cottager outfit but represented nothing more than bench-fodder to the Reds.
Whilst Fulham are far from a poor team, they are to Liverpool what Everton is to United. In all, whilst Moyes’ appointment is a deserved promotion for a long-suffering manager of a team deprived of Champions League football, it’s a move more likely to witness the Red Devils’ first slump in the Premier League era than it is a decision to lead the Premier League back to the heights of the World Game. Fortunately for Roman Abramovich, such a move opens the door for Mourinho to move back to Chelsea. In many ways that would be the most romantic potential managerial appointment with a Champions League title poised to elevate the Portuguese coach into the stratosphere of football management, but one can’t help wonder what could have been at United.
Only time will tell, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.