David Moyes: The real deal at Old Trafford?

      The last 27 years at Old Trafford have been very exciting, entertaining and adventurous. The number of titles shipped in has been one of the best around the major European football leagues. 38 major trophies won in 27 years of what might not repeat itself  happened and it’s all down to one man: Sir Alex Ferguson. Fergie as he is called at times needs not much of an introduction. When you say someone is the boss, he is the boss. He knows how to fly the plane or sail the ship than any other coach. Even when things are in a mess, he knows how to fix it back and everyone is moving on again. He is the best football manager with discipline. He doesn’t care about whom you are or what your status is. Just ask David Beckham, Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and a host of other Man United ex players. He never cared about the FA and UEFA, that’s why he got touchline bans. I guess he only cares about the Queen of England as every Brit too should. After all she was the one who gave him Knighthood in the treble winning year of 1999 and that makes him a member of the House of Lords. 27 years of Fergie has ended. Fergie is gone and of course will be remembered forever. I’m sure the day he dies, it will be a big event that will glue the whole world to their TVs.

            A new era has now begun and ex-Everton manager David Moyes is now leading this era. He’s a Scot just like Fergie but they are two entirely different people in their managerial careers. Because of Man United’s profile as a top club in the world, Moyes has a lot of pressure, if not the most of top club managers. Moyes has more pressure on him compared to when Fergie landed in 1986. Then Fergie had to slowly rebuild a team that hadn’t won a trophy in 25 years prior to his arrival, but that’s not the case for Moyes. He has a championship winning team at his disposal so it’s more pressure on him to keep the team intact to continue the tradition of winning. Many people have some eyebrows raised on Moyes because of his background as a coach. He has just the Community Shield which is his first trophy in his first official match for Man United which is good. That makes everyone happy a bit. Fergie on the contrary has won nearly 50 major trophies in his managerial career. 38 major trophies at Manchester United alone. He had boasted of European success before coming to Old Trafford at Aberdeen FC in Scotland winning the European Cup Winners Cup beating Real Madrid in the 1983 final. That’s tells you Fergie had experience in Europe. Moyes fairly has experience in Europe. Just a few Europa League appearances and once making it to the Champions League but crushed by Villarreal in the qualifying round. Moyes also has never handled a big budget. Everton have been known to have a tight budget and spend little on players but despite that, they still defile the odds and claim a top five finish in the league or even finish above cross town rivals Liverpool on the league table as they have done for the past two seasons. Moyes has never felt a transfer budget of 80 million pounds at his disposal. The highest fee he has paid is 17 million pounds for Marouane Fellaini compared to 31 million pounds that was spent on Dmitar Berbatov. It’s therefore a new environment for David Moyes.

            His assessment since he arrived on July 1 can be said to be mixed. Pre-season was not good with more loses than wins. Though it’s not entirely right to dwell on pre-season performances because players are meant to get their fitness back, so the games are not competitive and yeah the Community Shield is now in the bag. On the transfers, there’s not a major transfer done except Guillermo Varela who is still young and untested. The attempt to sign Fabregas took too long and has taken a chunk of time in the transfer market. Truth is it would be tough to sign Fabregas so Moyes could have turned his attention to another midfielder like Fellaini which I think he is trying to do currently. It’s good that Moyes wants to go for a good creative midfielder. This is something Fergie stubbornly did not do and it cost him some games. I even thought that Shinji Kagawa can be utilized in that midfield position this time as he was played out of position on occasions last season. The future of Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford is something that needs to be sorted out. If the guy wants to go, he should. Truth is he can’t play the main striker. Robin van Persie is the main striker because he is a better and more reliable goal scorer. Nevertheless, Rooney is still a fantastic player. His physique, strength and versatility are features I can say no player has. He is really valuable and losing him will be a blow to the team. His pain of not being the main striker can be understood, but what can he do? If he going to be transferred to another club, it has to be Manchester United. There can’t be any other better team that will suit him. If he is not happy and unhappiness will cause problems for the club, I guess the team has no choice but to offload him but it would be really sad if that happened. The status of the current squad needs to be assessed. The center backs are all having fitness issues and that needs to be looked. The status of players like Anderson and Fletcher need to be looked at also. The wing which has always been the core of United’s success was disappointing last season. Though fitness issues were partly responsible for Ashley Young and Nani’s performances, Antonio Valencia didn’t not live up to his spectacular season of 2011/2012 that earned him united player of the year and the famous no.7 shirt which has all been worn by legends. It’s the hope that Wilfried Zaha will light up some performances to make the wing strong once again. He really looks promising and hoping to see him become a fantastic player. The English Premier League is now here and the Champions League nearby. The players need to be in the best possible shape to start the season strongly.

            David Moyes has a lot to prove as the new manager of Man United. He must show the EPL title can be retained. The first few fixtures in the league are so tight: Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City all not far from each other. This is where he can prove himself if he can get desired results against them. After all, Everton is known to be a pain in the neck to the big EPL teams. Chelsea could not beat them during a period that spanned over five meetings, Liverpool where made to look silly sometimes in the Merseyside Derby, Man United sometimes wondered how Everton could just pull the strings to do dramatic comebacks such as the 4-4 draw at Old Trafford in the 2011/2012 which dented United’s hopes of getting the title. Despite all the Sheikhs billions that were bankrolled into the Ethiad Stadium, Man City found it hard to defeat Everton. During Roberto Mancini’s tenure as manager, Man City only registered one victory in over five league encounters against Everton. All this happened with David Moyes on the touchline. All these are good records for Moyes and it would be good if he replicated it with Man United. At least Man City won’t feel too important in the Manchester derby and a 6-1 ‘why always me’ won’t happen again. Well it won’t because there’s no Mario Balotelli in England again. The Champions league is the pinnacle of   European football and Man United has its name on it 3 times. This might be Moyes’ biggest task and it’s a concern for some people if he can deliver since he doesn’t have any experience in the competition. He has to get results against the Big guns of Europe like Real Madrid, Barcelona, current defending champions Bayern Munich, last season’s runners-up, Borussia Dortmund and the mega rich Paris-saint-Germain. This is true but I think he should be given a chance. It all starts one day. I just hope Man United don’t have an early exit from the Champions League in the group stage like in 2005 and 2011.

            A lot is at stake for David Moyes. He is now at a stage in his life he might not have imagined, hence the pressure to deliver. It’s all down to how Man United plays this season. It’s all fingers crossed as to how the season unfolds. I hope some series of bad results won’t follow that will make Moyes an early manager sack casualty in the EPL. I really hope that won’t be the case. Fergie put in a lot of belief that Moyes was the man to carry on for him and not Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as many had been predicted. David Moyes has a lot to show the world that he can be a top class manager. Only time will tell if David Moyes can carry on Fergie’s great legacy at Old Trafford or make it a nightmare.



Kunle Fayiga

Writer & Blogger

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1 Comment

  • olabz

    Moyes is under tremendous pressure the season’s end will show us if he’s the real deal or not .

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