The chosen one is gone. Only ten months after Alex Ferguson whipped Old Trafford into a frenzy, asking them to stand behind their new manager, there will soon be another new manager in the dugout. David Moyes is clearly a man of integrity and class, but in hindsight, he was never really suited to the job. Now, as fans and writers everywhere start their inquests into Moyes reign, and why exactly Manchester United are seventh in the league, my answer would be that it all started with Moyes, and Everton.
United lost twice to Everton this season, as Moyes was outwitted by his replacement at Goodison Park, Roberto Martinez. For me, it was a different game against Everton that signaled the start of a crumbling empire at Old Trafford though. Let’s rewind the clock back to April 2012. David Moyes was sat in the away dugout at the Theatre of Dreams, while only 30 feet away, Alex Ferguson, the man he would succeed was looking to close out yet another league title.
In a frantic, back and forth game, United seemed to have come through a stiff challenge from the visitors, and with ten minutes remaining, they led 4-2. What happened next was an uncharacteristic collapse that, at the time, was completely foreign to the spectators at Old Trafford. Everton stunned the champions in waiting with two late goals, that left United with a three point lead, instead of what should have been five. After that game, history speaks for itself. Sergio Aguero’s last gasp heroics gave Manchester City the title, but really it was lost against Moyes’ Everton.
That 4-4 draw is a defining moment in the history of Manchester United. Although the Ferguson era wouldn’t come to an end for another twelve months, I’d bet the seeds of doubt were planted on that day. Manchester United as a club, and more specifically Ferguson’s teams, were renowned for fighting right until the final whistle, but that day complacency set in.
The current squad, comprised of the same core from that game, is lacking in talent compared to previous great United squads, but more importantly it seems to be mentally fragile. Ferguson knew it, there was no coincidence in the timing of his decision to leave. In fact, if it wasn’t for an incredible season from Robin Van Persie last year, there may not have been an opportunity for Ferguson to bow out on a high for quite a while.
The job that David Moyes took over last summer may well have been dubbed as the biggest job in football, but in truth it was a poisoned chalice. Ferguson, the master rebuilder, was unable to seamlessly transform this group into his next great team, because they simply aren’t good enough. He couldn’t add sufficient quality either, as the Glazer family have failed to invest in the club for a number of years. Instead, the Glazers continue to utilize the revenue generated by the Manchester United brand, to sustain their struggling investments in the US.
For years they’ve hidden behind Ferguson. From transfer budgets to the appointment of Moyes, Ferguson has been the club’s sole voice. That game in 2012, two years ago to the day, showed up the problems of the Glazer’s making at Old Trafford, and until the direction from the top of the club changes, men like Ferguson, Moyes, and possibly even his successor, will have their hands tied.
With the search for a new manager underway, it’s vital that United appoint the right man this time around. If he doesn’t get the necessary financial backing to rebuild a distinctly average squad, it may not matter though. The dismissal of Moyes may have been necessary, but the Glazer’s remain the beast, and it’s head is intact.
What do you think was the turning point for United’s fortunes? Let me know in the comments below.
On the hunt for International Champions Cup tickets? Always check TiqIQ.com