Theatre of Nightmares
April 3, 2014 9:57 PM   Subscribe

Who is to blame for Manchester United's Collapse?

David Moyes’ account of the day he got the Manchester United job foreshadowed so much that was to follow, in a way that seldom happens in real life.

Moyes says that last April he was out shopping with his wife, Pamela, when his phone rang.

“Where are you?” said Sir Alex Ferguson.

“I’m out with my wife,” said Moyes.

“Can you drop over to the house?” said Sir Alex.

Moyes, the longtime manager for Everton, wondered what Ferguson wanted. He told Pamela: “It’s either he wants me to take somebody on loan, or he’s come to buy one of my players.”

Moyes left Pamela at a local shopping center and drove to Sir Alex Ferguson’s mansion. He was nervous because he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. “I’d never ever go to a meeting with Sir Alex with a pair of jeans on. ... I can’t do this!” he remembers thinking.

Sir Alex ignored Moyes’ casual outfit and got straight to business: “I’m retiring. Next week. You’re the next Man United manager.”

“So I didn’t get the chance to say yes or no,” Moyes later said. “As you can imagine, the blood drained from my face.”

Two things strike you about Moyes’ story: At no point was he in control of what was happening. And when he sought to describe his feelings when he learned he had been handed the biggest job in English football, he reached for a cliché that signifies terror.
posted by modernnomad (72 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

'Blame'? They make it sound like a bad thing.
posted by pompomtom at 10:13 PM on April 3 [9 favorites]

posted by modernnomad at 10:13 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]

This thread is not about Thomas Ligotti, is it.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:34 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Moyes was pretty much set up to fail from the start. Mourinho is probably the only person who could have really replaced Ferguson, but that doesn't fit take into account the Manchester United squad. They needed midfielders even before Fellaini and Mata.

Of course as a somewhat Evertonian, this has sort of turned into a happy ending. Martinez has been refreshing and they're having a great season. (I hope against all that is holy that Martinez is not poached by Manchester, Barcelona, or maybe Arsenal.)
posted by kendrak at 10:38 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

There are pages and pages of articles from right after the hiring that explained why Moyes might have a rough start, and now the assholes are all in huff, like this wasn't going to be a bye season, no matter who the manager was outside of Ferguson. The tentative employment stature of managers in Europe is disgusting. You can't win every trophy every year, for fuck's sake. I'm a Manchester United fan, and somehow I've managed to not rage about Moyes. Also, it's worth noting that there was a tremendous display of fan support when they laid waste to Villa a last weekend. And now Arjen Robben has the arrogance to talk shit about the defense, when Bayern barely escaped with a point and the bulk of the shot taking. Gah!
posted by Brocktoon at 10:42 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

The article makes it sound like Moyes was a surprise, but in reality he and Mourinho were widely seen as the two possible alternatives as soon as Fergie announced his retirement. It basically came down to a choice of stability over loose-cannon genius.

Then it's worth digging a bit deeper into what's going on: United's three best players (RvP, Rooney and Carrick) have all played a lot fewer games this season than last. Give Moyes' United RvP's goals and the table would look a lot different.

And speaking of the table - United have the best away record in the league. The article rightly points up the terrible home form but doesn't mention the away form. So my optimistic side says that rumours of our decline have been exaggerated.

If we are to allocate blame, then Fergie's failure to overhaul the squad (or hang on to Pogba) might come into it, as kendrak says. So might the money taken out of the club by the owners. We can even go back to what happened when our last great manager left: Sir Matt Busby retired, but helped choose his successor and hung around the club, overshadowing the new guy, who stumbled and failed. Sound familiar?

TL;DR: United aren't doing great, but blaming Moyes alone is simplistic.
posted by Pink Frost at 11:02 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

The tentative employment stature of managers in Europe is disgusting. You can't win every trophy every year, for fuck's sake.

I totally agree with you, but Moyes still deserves all sorts of criticism. There's no excuse for the boring, predictable game plan, and why the fuck would you shell out for Mata if you don't plan on using him in his best position?
posted by asterix at 11:02 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]

United's three best players (RvP, Rooney and Carrick) have all played a lot fewer games this season than last.

Yes, who could have predicted that van Persie would have injury issues? Oh wait, any Arsenal fan. And RvP/Rooney's time out should have been an opportunity for Kagawa; instead that playing time went to... Ashley Young?
posted by asterix at 11:06 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

A further damning indictment of Moyes is his performance in two transfer windows -- he bought Fellaini at a price over his 'release clause' (which he surely knew about from his time at Everton), and then has tried to re-invent him with no success as a holding midfielder. Then he buys Mata, a gem of a player, but farms him out the right where he has no influence, doing the same thing to him that he did to Kagawa. He's properly over-stocked on #10s and his two purchases both look like panic buys to show that they're doing "something", rather than actually address the needs of the squad.

As a Liverpool supporter, I say "welcome to your version of the Souness years".
posted by modernnomad at 11:10 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]

Ferguson was very predictable. If trying to polish Fletcher for so freaking long isn't boring, then giving Januzaj minutes is more exciting than the moon landing. Ferguson is giving Moyes so many lectures daily that it's like he lives under his bed.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:10 PM on April 3

modenrnnomand: Some would say United's tranfer debacle isn't Moyes fault but that of fellow new hire Lee Woodward (Man Utd Director of Football) who is in charge of going out and getting the players that Moyes wants. Felliani was supposedly their 4th choice during that window and by the time he realised he was all that was left United ended up overpaying.
posted by PenDevil at 11:19 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Yes, who could have predicted that van Persie would have injury issues?

True, but he was injury-free last season and played a huge part in United's title. Fergie was lucky that he didn't get injured; Moyes didn't have the same luck. That luck doesn't reflect on Moyes' skills.

(A further question is why Fergie, with Rooney, Welbeck and Chicarito in his squad, bought RvP in the first place, rather than a CM).
posted by Pink Frost at 11:20 PM on April 3

I think Moyes probably made a mistake clearing out all of Fergie's backroom staff. A smarter proposition would have been to keep them on for at least one year, adding in some of his own team and seeing how it went. Wiping the slate clean on a title-winning coaching staff, when Moyes himself has never won a thing, probably wasn't the best way to endear himself to the players. I get that adding Giggs to his coaching staff and bringing in Neville was probably a way to fix that, but (at least from the outside) it really doesn't seem to have worked.
posted by modernnomad at 11:26 PM on April 3 [5 favorites]

Long time Everton fan here who has read huge amounts and discussed this very topic extensively with my friends & family. There has been a tonne of stuff written about David Moyes and his appointment and the mood of the writing in question largely depends on the most recent run of results. This article was written before the Bayern Munich game on Tuesday, and after the game (in which United earned a creditable 1-1 draw while sticking with the cautious approach) some of the latest columns have conceded that Moyes deserves some credit for the result.

Anyway, I'll offer my thoughts here, in defence of the appointment of Moyes.

I am a huge admirer of Moyes, for all his managerial qualities while at Everton as well as the personality that emerged through the media narrative. He was regarded as one of the rising stars of British football management when he joined Everton at a time when the club was very broken, on and off the pitch. Not only did he keep the club in the Premier League, but within just 3 seasons had rebuilt the club into a strong unit capable of challenging for Champions League football and without resorting to big financial gambles a la Leeds.

So Moyes is a strong capable manager who, in June 2013, was definitely considered to have the potential to manage a really top club. Ferguson retires, Moyes gets the appointment. As the article says:

"No. What was needed was a loyal custodian who could be trusted to keep the United machine ticking over. A man who respected the values that had brought so much success. A man who understood what it meant to serve something greater than himself. That man—how the scales have fallen from our eyes!—was David William Moyes."

It was a very sound choice. Given the history of how Manchester United play, if one had to go away and design from scratch a manager for Man United, I think you'd come up with someone very similar to David Moyes. He's fierce, he has a superhuman work ethic, he believes in youth promotion, he plays with wingers, he inspires loyalty and fight from everybody around him.

So what has gone wrong?

To start with, Moyes has handled the intense scrutiny of the job badly, which has gotten him to literally show no interest in the press conferences and how his words would be spun around. But the circumstances, I contend, are extenuating -

"It’s clear now that the squad and the youth setup was only the hardware of the United system. The software that made it work was all in Ferguson’s head. How do you hand over the keys to a kingdom of the mind?"

I think that this point is extremely important. Everything around Manchester United for 26 years was organized and built at the behest of one man - Ferguson. Who was an exceptional managerial genius. Moyes, for all his qualities, is not Ferguson. How could Manchester United make a transition from having had one brain for so long, to a new brain?

My theory is that the people who championed the appointment of Moyes - Ferguson and his backers on the board - knew that such a sluggish first season could happen, and that Moyes, more than other managers who could have been appointed, would need time. Especially given that there was hardly any major investment in the playing staff for a long time while Ferguson was getting extraordinary levels of achievement out of the players he had. It seems to me that they consciously wanted the club to be rebuilt -- the scale of which many football fans have underestimated and most journalists have over-simplified -- and hired a man who would have be given the mandate to rebuild the entire club in his own way, that is, given the opportunity to influence the club at the same scale of extensiveness that Ferguson had. They gave him a 6 year contract, (which is extremely long for a contemporary manager, most get 3 years and hardly last that long) and they have largely continued to back him as the team stumbles from one bad match to the next.

"The arguments in favor of retaining Moyes have dwindled to one based on club precedent. Ferguson didn’t win a trophy until his fourth year in the job. Given time, this reasoning says, Moyes, too, will get it right."

Personally, I want Moyes to both get the time he needs and succeed. Because I fully admire the thinking behind the appointment which goes against the prevailing orthodoxy of what a contemporary manager/head coach is expected to contribute. Rather than the manager-as-CEO whose job is to simply get the best results out of his players (and sacked when he is determined to have failed), Moyes' appointment is more akin to a talented musician being invited to a monarch's palace as the court musician, with the mandate to re-tool the entire orchestra to fulfill his vision for the music. Hardly any other football manager has had an appointment of this nature for some time. (Probably Oscar Tabarez influencing the Uruguay national teams of all levels and age groups comes closest).

"The question now is whether the Glazer family decides to stick with Moyes for at least the start of the coming season, or relieve him of his duties in the summer."

This is the most interesting question that remains - Did the owners disagree with Ferguson in the first place and will they overrule Ferguson's decision at some point?
posted by all the versus at 11:37 PM on April 3 [7 favorites]

I think Moyes probably made a mistake clearing out all of Fergie's backroom staff. A smarter proposition would have been to keep them on for at least one year, adding in some of his own team and seeing how it went. Wiping the slate clean on a title-winning coaching staff, when Moyes himself has never won a thing, probably wasn't the best way to endear himself to the players.

I agree, especially given Ferguson's habit of extensively delegating. I think that Meulensteen & Steele were asked to stay on in some capacity and they chose not to, as Moyes was bringing in his own staff anyway.
posted by all the versus at 11:44 PM on April 3

As a fan, I'm hoping ManU do give Moyes the time to bring them to his level.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:57 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

I love this thread because I understand only about 20% of the actual pertinent details, and yet feel that I understand the sentiments completely. Which I imagine some of the commenters would feel if I wrote a comment on the LA Lakers in the Mike D'antoni era.
posted by chaz at 12:24 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]

For all sorts of reasons, it's a great season to be a Liverpool fan. Which hasn't been true since Xabi Alonso left.

You know how Republicans used to say Obama made the downturn worse ? Yeah, well that made no fucking sense, of course. But here, here Moyes has made it worse.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 12:32 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

But seriously, ManU was always going to struggle after SAF's retirement and of course the timing of his retirement wasn't a coincidence either. ManU bascially won the Premier League thanks to van Persie last year, but much of the rest of the squad was already clapped out and over the hill.

This year was always going to be a struggle, as the competition was also strengthening and a Moyes of course was never going to have the respect and dominance SAF had over the squad, so could never spur them on to the same achievements he got out of an aging squad.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:55 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]




" Moyes' appointment is more akin to a talented musician being invited to a monarch's palace as the court musician, with the mandate to re-tool the entire orchestra to fulfill his vision for the music"

So what would that make BR at LFC?

Funniest article I've read all decade, and what a fabulous thread. Bye bye manu.
posted by marienbad at 12:59 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Who is to blame for Manchester United's Collapse? A Scouser with a magic lamp.
posted by fullerine at 1:36 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

I love these Eve Online threads!
posted by asok at 1:58 AM on April 4 [9 favorites]

So what would that make BR at LFC?

Talented manager with a good squad who hasn't actually won anything and probably won't, and whose success this season was arguably due to his team not playing in Europe?

I do like Rogers as a manager, but it's worth remembering that last season people were calling him David Brent for the way he talked in press conferences, and he was getting many of the same criticisms that Moyes is now....

Bye bye manu.

Always dangerous, that sort of thing. Remember Au revoir Cantona and United. Come back when you've won 18? (Or United fans chanting 'we'll never play you again' at City a while back).

Sorry this one is a bit out of date.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:12 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

What a, uh, ludicrous display.
posted by codswallop at 2:33 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]

And let's not talk about AVB shall we...
posted by PenDevil at 2:34 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

And let's not talk about AVB shall we...

Oh but can we please talk about Sherwood? As an Arsenal fan, as I wait for us to somehow conspire to lose to Hull in the FA Cup final (if we make it at all), and get pipped to a Champions League spot by Everton, Spurs' continued hilarity is basically the only thing that keeps me going these days. It is the last straw I can clutch.

He wears a gilet! He sits in the stands! He looks and acts like the first guy your mum dates after a divorce!

I really hope they keep him into next season.

Oh god anything to distract me from another needlessly frustrating season at the Emirates
posted by garius at 2:42 AM on April 4 [5 favorites]

hahah 'Tactics Tim' is a continual source of comedy. Last week before LFC-Spurs he actually admitted to not having watched the 5-0 from earlier in the season because he was "too scared". No way will Spurs stick with him for next season. Isn't LVG the current favourite to replace him?
posted by modernnomad at 2:47 AM on April 4

Of course as a somewhat Evertonian, this has sort of turned into a happy ending

Come on, Kendrak, you must be like a dog with two dicks.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 3:02 AM on April 4

Hello ManuFilter, is Mourinho, special one to talk now. Every day people say to me, "Hey Jose, why are you managing such a tiny team with no strikers who surely can't win the league, you poor guy, when you are so special?"

I say - yes, you are right, I am a humble man in a team with no players.

Then people say, "Hey Jose, why didn't you go to Manchester United and win another of your special Champions league trophies, of which you have so many because you are a special one?"

I say: I like to have challenge, and that is why I let Man U reject to have me. At Man U, they have strikers, they have much money, but at Chelsea we have no money or players or referees who are fair. But maybe next year we will play OK, because I am special at such challenges. But Moyes has no Champions league trophy, no La Liga, no Scudetti, no sexy coat, no chaming foreign misuse of preposition or plural. I feel sorry for him. Every day I wake up laughing with sorrow. Here, have Juan Mata. So sorry.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:37 AM on April 4 [24 favorites]

You can always gauge the level of fan support in ManU by the number of green and gold scarves in the stands.

The heat has been out in my library for a few weeks now. Even with the space heaters, it gets pretty cold so we wear jackets at the desk. I was wearing my LFC jacket when a patron came in wearing, of all things, a Norwich jacket. We're in Danvers, MA so this is like seeing someone with a Houston Astros jersey walking around London. So we get to talking (he was a chaplain in the USAF and was stationed in England for awhile and that was the team that picked him) and when it comes time for him to check out his books, I find he has a six buck fine on his account. I mention it to him and he admits that he has no cash on him, but can do something better.

"What?" I ask.

"I can pray for Moyes to stay in his job for years to come."

I waived the fine.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:12 AM on April 4 [22 favorites]

Here, have Juan Mata. So sorry.

That's actually been one of my favourite moments of the season as it lead to this brief conversation with a particularly annoying United fan at work.

Annoying Fan: Ha! We've just signed Mata! He's way better than Ozil! What do you think about that!

Me: I think it means that Mourinho no believes you're a threat.

AF: *silence*
posted by garius at 4:14 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]

Give Moyes credit, he's finally found a way to have Everton win at Old Trafford.
posted by jaduncan at 4:17 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]

My theory is that after years of scrimping and saving at Everton, wringing the best out of a budget consisting of pocket change, a few buttons, and a case of promotional crisps that his wife brought home from work one day, Moyes is at a loss with what to do with a team of United's resources.

That and he misses Leighton Baines' indie rock sets in the dressing room. Big fan of shoegaze, that Moyesie.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:24 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

He's great at setting up defensive teams to be hard to beat, which is why the Bayern Munich game went well. He just isn't good at putting a team out to break teams down and attack like a United team should.
posted by jaduncan at 4:26 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]

I'm going to go with hubris.

Also, shouldn't Sir Alex be out wandering around some sort of moor or heath by now?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:36 AM on April 4

What does a guy have to do to get fired from Chelsea though? Win the Champions League or something?
posted by PenDevil at 5:58 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Not only did MU replace their manager, they replaced their training staff, and their Chief Executive. From an organizational perspective, that seems a bit nuts. I'm not sure how you can replace most of your key leadership and expect any organization to continue working the same way, if for no other reason than the loss of continuity and organizational memory.
posted by idb at 6:31 AM on April 4

Rhetorical question - In the United States who has the largest amount of bandwagon fans, Man U., Dallas Cowboys, NY Yankeees?
posted by incandissonance at 6:56 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Fergie: red Scotsman, great manager, Harvard educator.
posted by jaduncan at 7:09 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Man U. Arsenal, Dallas Cowboys, NY Yankeees?

posted by PenDevil at 7:10 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]

I can only assume that Naismith comes not to praise Moyes, but to bury him:
"He has such good charisma and is such a good man-manager that you want to work for him. This season is the most I have learned football-wise in my whole career. David Moyes is a British-mentality manager, which I have seen a lot of. He was only tweaking and giving you a more advanced lesson on what you already knew. With the manager now, it is a totally new way of playing football. It opens your eyes to the fact football can be played in such a different way."

Not that Naismith would ever contemplate joining in the criticism of Moyes, which has reached deafening levels since his switch to Manchester United. "He believed in me. I was just coming back from a knee injury and he brought me to England. I loved the way David Moyes worked. He was the most thorough I have ever seen in preparing for anything. David Moyes was the first manager I had seen who was so hands-on, he took the majority of training every day.

"His standards were so high. I think my standards are high; if someone isn't pulling their weight in training then it annoys me. David Moyes would nail somebody for that and I liked it.

"Probably at the moment, a lot of Everton fans don't appreciate what he did for the club because the new manager has come in and hit the ground running, probably playing a more attractive brand of football. We have taken some big scalps this season but I'm sure in 10-15 years' time we'll look at where the club was when he came in, where he left them, and nobody will argue how good a job he had done."
posted by jaduncan at 7:40 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

I think it's pretty absurd that it matters how a manager behaves during press conferences. I guess the key is to be mostly incomprehensible like Ferguson. Is he Albanian?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:41 AM on April 4

As a loyal Gooner, seeing Man United in such dire straits fills my heart with waves upon waves of joy.
posted by RedShrek at 8:26 AM on April 4

Brocktoon: The press conferences were initially shocking to me when I started playing the game Football Manager. If you haven't played it, they actually simulate press conferences where you get to decide if you want to respond calmly, proudly, aggressively, or some other adverbily. My very first press conference, I (or my character rather) was bombarded with questions about what it's like to be the only female manager in the EPL. Within the first few minutes, the game had approached the uncanny valley for me and I felt a little queasy.

Reading the summary of Moyes' press conferences, I couldn't figure out if the author was describing them through the lens of someone who had played Football Manager, or if press conferences are really that procedural and important and FM merely replicated that?
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:36 AM on April 4

I think Moyes probably made a mistake clearing out all of Fergie's backroom staff.

David Gill was a huge loss too.

Moyes isn't going anywhere, surely. That six year contract, Fergie on the board unlikely to admit to the rest of the directors he made a mistake and who would they hire anyway? Neville and Scholes? Carlos Queiroz? The latest "plays the right way" footie hipster's choice like Laudrup or Pocchettino? Van Gaal?

I'm no Man U supporter but I kind of hope they come from nowhere to win the European Championships to be honest, it's been that kind of season and the supporters of other clubs desperate to show they're not like those bandwagon-jumpers, dammit, are becoming as obnoxious and repetitive about the whole situation as the ManU crowd were a few years ago. If I never see or hear "Moyes in!" again it'll be too soon.

The ManU saga has been part of it but overall this has been the most enjoyable/interesting/unpredictable premiership or old first div season I've observed in years, at both ends of the table and even in the turmoil and hilarity of my club's (Spurs') season. The balance in my gambling account reflects that but I've loved every minute of it.
posted by jamesonandwater at 8:47 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

They're in 7th place. What did people think, that Man U was just gonna win the Premier League every single year? A lot of ink over a thing that happens all the time.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:58 AM on April 4

Come on, Kendrak, you must be like a dog with two dicks.

Not really. It's more confusion - is this what success is like? I wasn't around for Everton's heyday in the mid 80s, so this kind of season is relatively new territory. Also, I think Moyes did well with Kenwright's limited budget, but he's in that resigned rut of survival which won't fly at Old Trafford. (The act was getting old at Goodison.)

United's situation started off as a good laugh but now it's getting kind of sad. It's not surprising how short the memory is - what did Ferguson inherit? They can't win them all and they really need to buy a new squad. Problem is the youth system is not what is was 20 years ago and the prices have gone up.

As much as I really don't care for Kopites, they've earned their day in the sun and Rodgers has been phenomenal. It doesn't hurt that of the current Top 4 teams, they are the plucky underdogs. (Though financially that's not the case...)

I agree that this has been one of the most exciting seasons in the Premier League in recent memory. Mainly though, my worries and energy are in the Championship where I feel somewhat safe that my beloved Sheffield Wednesday are not going to drop after a disastrous start of the season.
posted by kendrak at 9:06 AM on April 4

As another Gooner, the collapse of United is nice. Completely predictable given the lack of investment in the defense and midfield in recent years. The simple fact of the matter is that United was running on fumes the last couple of years and Fergie managed to keep them functional with baling wire and duct tape.

The truth of the matter is that no matter who got the United job they were doomed, the Glazers don't seem to be willing to pay what Chelsea and City are and the market is really overheated. There was always going to be a collapse after Fergie and the person who will eventually want to be the long term replacement won't want to always be compared to Fergie. You want to have someone come in a fail before you stage the return to glory.

Unfortunately Man U makes so much money that even with the Glazers being somewhat stingy they should be able to recover somewhat quickly and get back to the top of the table in a few more years. I was just hoping that Arsenal would make up more of the ground on Chelsea and City in terms of quality this year.
posted by vuron at 9:11 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Firing AVB seems like a bad idea at this point considering how Sherwood has handled things.
posted by josher71 at 9:59 AM on April 4

They're in 7th place. What did people think, that Man U was just gonna win the Premier League every single year? A lot of ink over a thing that happens all the time.

a) No, but it's surprising that they aren't competitive. Fergie hadn't been out of the top 4 for donkey's years.

b) We don't have a draft system. It is thus surprising when a team that is rich and benefits further from the Champions League payments drops out of contention to teams that do not have the same TV or marketing revenue. It does not happen all the time, and indeed barely happens at all. It's a big deal, and if I was a United fan I'd be turning up in green and gold.
posted by jaduncan at 9:59 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Finally we address the most burning issue of the day! (It's all Kagawa's fault, but there's too little space in this box to explain.)
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:05 AM on April 4

I read the Independent's article on Tuesday morning about Moyes having a chair installed in the ManU dugout with a phone line and speakers so he can receive instructions directly from Fergie during matches.

It was eminently believable to this Chelsea fan, so it took a few minutes for me to realize it was April Fool's Day.
posted by zakur at 11:15 AM on April 4

I really like what I've seen of Kagawa, but he, Mata and Rooney are all excellent number tens aren't they?

Fellaini was abject the other night. I thought he was pretty good at Everton. A bit too physical for my tastes, but still.
posted by idb at 12:07 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]

I'm willing to endure a few years of mediocrity if it convinces the Glazers to offload the club to someone less parasitic.

But watching matches this year has been so much more compelling, never knowing what kind of performance the team will put in, with Fergie you pretty much knew what you were going to get, with Moyes every match is an adventure.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:48 PM on April 4

Oh but can we please talk about Sherwood?

I feel for him, he's so obviously out of his depth, much more so than Moyes and he has no idea what to do about it. In theory he's got a great squad, with some truly talented players, but his bosses bought a shedload of them from the money they got for Bale and the owner is a feckwit with no patience to let any manager have the time to actually develop a good squad.

AVB meanwhile isn't coming back.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:16 PM on April 4

Mainly though, my worries and energy are in the Championship where I feel somewhat safe that my beloved Sheffield Wednesday are not going to drop after a disastrous start of the season.

Yeah, my own hopes are in League two and seeing Plymouth finally after seasons of slump edging into the promotion playoff places and thinking maybe, just maybe this year...
posted by MartinWisse at 1:21 PM on April 4

Liverpool fan here. Anyway, the Telegraph had an excellent article titled "31 reasons David Moyes should leave Manchester United". It is pretty damming and I can't see how Moyes can stay on, as much as I would really, really, love him too.

posted by vac2003 at 2:22 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]

SAF has taken up a teaching position at Harvard Business School.
posted by modernnomad at 8:20 PM on April 4

Which is going to be awkward when Liverpool come to the US this summer and train right across the street from him. Man, I wish I still worked at the HBS library. Not only could I stalk my team, I could add nutting SAF via heavy brass library entry bar to the list along with Michael Bloomberg.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:56 AM on April 5

I really like what I've seen of Kagawa,...

Agree. I was just messin'.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:56 AM on April 5

Reports seem to be suggesting Moyes has been sacked.
To be replaced by Giggs and Neville (P).

All good things must come to an end.
posted by fullerine at 7:50 AM on April 21

Who will take his place, though? Klopp? Surely not Giggs.
posted by josher71 at 10:00 AM on April 21

This must be the biggest summer in Man Utd's recent history. If they're really getting rid of Moyes (which would be kind of hard to argue against, as a non MU supporter, and would indicate he's made no headway on transfer targets thus far, which is alarming) trusting the likes of Giggs and Neville with that task and its massive bankroll would be insanity, surely? Van Gaal or Klopp or someone of that calibre would have to be on deck.
posted by jamesonandwater at 10:28 AM on April 21

And he's gone.

Giggs will surely only be a caretaker manager. It's pretty standard when a manager is sacked to replace him temporarily with a coach or the reserve team manager. No idea who will come in, but it surely won't be Giggs.
posted by Pink Frost at 12:44 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]

Juan Mata is now on his 6th manager in English football. He only arrived in August 2011.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:09 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]

BBC on Moyes' sacking.

This was all over the internet yesterday, all the papers were saying the same thing, and that it was the Glazer's decision. I am surprised they did it now, but there are reports of a £200m transfer fund to be spent this summer, and they just didn't trust Moyes with the money I guess.

Ryan Giggs is caretaker manager. Wonder how that will work out. LVG is cited as most likely new boss, although reports of manu enquiring about Guardiola are around - can't see that one, but you never know.

Re: Tim Sherwood - Another one who took over an almost impossible job (as mentioned upthread) so I think he deserves some credit.
posted by marienbad at 8:25 AM on April 22

Spurs should never have sacked AVB, in my opinion.

Giggs will be fine with the last few games. Season was disaster, he can't really screw it up anymore.
posted by josher71 at 8:33 AM on April 22

More interestingly, Scholes is straight back in coaching. As of right now, the staff includes Giggs, Scholes, Butt, and Phil Neville. It's basically being run by the class of 92 advised by SAF. I can't be the only one glad they are slowly getting their soul back, even as a Gunner.

LVG also generally likes a senior assistant from inside the club, so even if he gets De Boer as actual AM the 92 boys are likely to be there or thereabouts.
posted by jaduncan at 12:00 AM on April 24

I can't be the only one glad they are slowly getting their soul back, even as a Gunner.

The time in wilderness has taught the United fans I know a little humility, finally. That's got to be good for the soul.
posted by josher71 at 5:45 AM on April 24

Sorry its the Daily Mail, but they have an amazing article on Moyes time at Manu:

David Moyes was openly sneered and sniggered at by Manchester United stars

and from the Mirror:

Manchester United stars knew David Moyes was for the chop before Everton stinker
posted by marienbad at 9:58 AM on April 24

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