David Moyes can be a success at Manchester United
Sir Alex Ferguson left United in a heap. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES
Despite the howls and overreactions from doomsayers, David Moyes definitely has what it takes to succeed at Manchester United.
It didn’t take long for scores of United fans to voice their disappointment in the decision to replace the retiring Sir Alex Ferguson with the Everton boss.
The hashtag #Moyesout became a trending Twitter topic in the Manchester region in the hours after the announcement of his appointment.
United’s supporters have been unwavering with their faith in Fergie’s judgement over the years. And rightly so – the man is a genius.
Yet they have widely criticised his choice to handpick Moyes as his successor instead of Real Madrid supremo Jose Mourinho.
It has been baffling to see them all of a sudden abandon their faith in Ferguson’s judgement, particularly as this decision would have undoubtedly been the most keenly considered of his career.
The fans have been quick to point out Moyes’ inability to win trophies at Everton and his lack of Champions League experience.
But Fergie would have looked far beyond these two factors in anointing his fellow Scot.
In fact, Sir Alex has been closely following the career of Moyes for 15 years.
In 1998 he approached the young, then-Preston North End manager with the offer to come to Old Trafford as his assistant.
Moyes turned down the proposal, but this didn’t turn off Fergie.
Rumours started about five years ago that Ferguson liked the idea of Moyes taking over from him at United.
In the years since, Moyes continued to go without silverware or any Champions League appearances, while Mourinho confirmed his status as one of the world’s greatest managers.
Yet this did nothing to shake Fergie’s faith in Moyes.
Following the announcement of Sir Alex’s retirement, United had two clear options: the stability and possible success offered by Moyes, versus the almost certain success and possible instability offered by Mourinho.
After spending 27 years building his legendary story at Old Trafford, Ferguson knows the value of stability and loyalty in football management.
In fact, he is the very embodiment of stability and loyalty in football management.
Moyes, too, has clearly proved his aptitude in these areas during his 11 years at Everton.
Mourinho, however, has never stayed at a club as manager for more than three years.
His ability to bring further success to the Red Devils if chosen as the new manager was never questioned, but Ferguson and the Manchester United board would have had real concerns over the ‘Special One’s’ ability to keep his ego in check and the dressing room onside over multiple seasons.
After almost three decades of having the same man at the helm, it is now not in the fabric of Manchester United to rely on a series of managers that only last up to three seasons each.
Other attributes of Moyes’ that make him well suited to his new job are his ability to confidently deal with the press, his nature as a firm but not overbearing disciplinarian, his record in unearthing and nurturing young talent, and his meticulous approach to almost every aspect of modern day management.
Perhaps the only real concern with Moyes is whether he is only at his best when considered an underdog.
The 50-year-old’s Everton sides have become known for digging deep against more fancied sides (just look at his impressive record against Roberto Mancini’s star-studded Manchester City teams).
Yet they have consistently failed to find the same spark when facing lesser sides.
But the most important factor in any success for Moyes at Old Trafford will be his relationship with Ferguson, who will stay on to become a director of the club.
Despite a few tough first years at Manchester United, Fergie was backed by the board and allowed time to succeed.
He will surely be aiming to see this same support is offered to Moyes in what will be a testing transitional period.
Moyes also went through some tough times in the beginning of his time at Goodison Park, but the cornerstone of Moyes’ success at Everton was the unflinching faith he had from club chairman and owner Bill Kenwright.
Seldom does such a close bond exist in professional football, and it was on full display overnight as Moyes gave a press conference to discuss his upcoming departure.
“The chairman’s asked me about a successor and if there’s anything I can do to help I will do,” Moyes said.
It’s a rare thing for a club to seek such advice from an outgoing manager, and it’s even more exceptional for an outgoing manager to so willingly want to be involved.
Only one other modern instance of this comes to mind – Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
It’s no wonder Fergie sees Moyes as his ideal successor.