David Moyes had it coming, didn’t he? Seriously, his tenure was painfully ridiculous, lacking in charisma, mostly betraying a lack of ideas, and sadly a quick evolution of a league winning team into a hapless ship without radar or anchor; he came, he saw, he destroyed! Now he is gone. Gone but not forgotten. His sad legacy will be told with a sigh, an epitome of a square peg in a round hole. Some are celebrating, few are sad, I am worried.
Manchester United was faced with two related, but incoherent inconsistencies; a brand that is used to success and one that boasts managerial stability. In Moyes’ case, he drowned the former and the latter was consequently deactivated. In an increasingly impatient world, where football enacts a shameless managerial merry-go-round, United was positioned to be different (along with Arsenal, which is another story for another day). Today, the club betrayed this position, for the security of another position, success. Good decision? I don’t know. Would Moyes have been successful if he had been given time? We can only imagine what could have been. Will the next manager be successful? There is no guarantee.
Let’s face it, replacing Ferguson was always going to be a gargantuan ask. But that is the illusion of stability, isn’t it? Many brands have similarly failed. After having a long-serving leader depart, the herculean task of finding a successor is almost impossible as it is hazardous. The task of unfriending the heritage of the former leader, his style, the culture he created, the charm of his personality on his peers, subordinates and rivals; Ferguson’s reputation alone was a fear factor. Sometimes you could see that the players were reluctant to play for Moyes; they only played when they wanted to play. If you watched some of the games closely, you could see the tactical ideas, but no passion in the players to see it through. Moyes was no Ferguson, and somehow it looked like the players were not accepting his leadership. Perhaps we all knew that, evidently no one was willing to sign for him in the summer, except his ex-player at Everton whose performance mirrors Moyes’ United career at best.
Honestly, Moyes should not have been given the job in the first place. No, he is not a bad manager, but he is not a great one either. The global void left behind by Ferguson was too huge for Moyes’ small town abilities to fill. His appointment was a disaster at birth, and to think that he was hand-picked by Ferguson himself is a dent to the legendary Scot’s legacy as it is to his countryman’s current managerial demise. Maybe he saw something in Moyes that we will sadly never get to see. However as it stands now, Ferguson’s deathbed choice of Moyes as his successor is no different from Zidane’s head-butt of Materazzi – a disastrous end to an illustrious career. Let it be learned that a successful leader is no kingmaker!
What next for Manchester United? The brand will suffer for sure. How bad will depend on how quick the club returns to winning ways, next season that is. I don’t see any quick return to the apex of things, but they will get there. There is a bright side to this, though. Ferguson built a lot, and finding it hard to build on that, Moyes unwittingly destroyed a lot of that. For the next manager, there will be a lot to re-build, and he will have only Moyes’ tiny shoes to fill; that will make life easier. So you see, Moyes played a symbolic role; he came to lower the bar so highly set by Ferguson so that United could find a new purpose to motivate them – rebuilding the ruins of a battered legacy!
What more is left to be said? Alas, poor David Moyes! A moyesing career that moyesed in moyesis!