If you had not already heard David Moyes has been fired then you probably already assumed it was inevitable. This Manchester United season has been historic, historically bad. In fact it was so bad that Manchester United put up these clubs records:
- United are guaranteed to finish the season with their lowest ever Premier League points tally
- United fail to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1995
- United’s worst home league form for over a decade
- Suffered three defeats in a row for the first time since 2001 this season
- Eliminated in the FA Cup third round – something which happened just once under Ferguson
- First ever home defeat to Swansea this term
- First home defeat to Newcastle since 1972
- First home defeat to West Brom since 1978
- First league defeat to Stoke since 1984
- First time Man City & Liverpool have beaten United home & away since Premier League’s inception
- First time United have conceded a first minute goal at home in the Premier League
- First time Everton have beaten United home and away since 1969-70
- First time Everton & Liverpool have ever done a league double over United in the same season
After perusing those stats it is no wonder that there have been calls for his head (and not just figurative calls for his head as many hot-headed Manchester United fans probably think he deserves the same fate as Robespierre). This Manchester United team has looked nothing like the teams Sir Alex Ferguson coached. They played boring soccer, they looked unprepared for many of their games, and they lacked the cutting edge they had last year that had allowed them win all their close games. To many casual observers of Manchester United and the Premier League it comes as a huge surprise that the reigning champions could have fallen from grace so quickly. However, their fall from grace isn’t as unexpected as some may have expected. The core of the team has gotten older and sluggish and management has been to slow to replace their aging core with new signings this past summer. Also, a large part of their run last year was owed in part to Robin Van Persie who has had a career plagued by injury problems and has never finished a complete season, which he failed to do yet again this season. Lastly, there is always a “hangover” when switching coaches, especially when switching from a a club coaching legend to a newer coach from outside the organization.
This is not to say David Moyes was the right man for the job. He has some success at Everton but success at Everton is measured differently than it is at Manchester United. At Everton, David Moyes showed he was was capable of keeping Everton competitive while being hamstrung by small funds for player transfers. A Champions League place was seen as a lofty goal and not an essential requirement necessary for Moyes continuing his tenure at Goodison Park. Because of this David Moyes enjoyed a comfortable career at Everton. Although David Moyes’ Everton did not play the type of soccer that soccer fans prefer to watch, they did win games and gave fans hope that they were capable of winning trophies. The coaching job at Manchester United came with a lot of high expectations, none of which David Moyes had experience reaching. He can be appreciated for trying to challenge himself and grow as a coach but the Manchester United job was a trap.
No one could replace Sir Alex Ferguson. He is one of the greatest soccer coaches in the world and is a huge reason why Manchester United has grown into the global soccer powerhouse it is today. The vacuum of power he left could not be filled immediately after his retirement. It was destined to take time. Therefore, the coach who replaced him was destined to fail. The new coach was always going to be constantly compared to Sir Alex Ferguson and that is an unfavorable comparison to make as there are so few coaches of his caliber. No coach could have done what Ferguson did with this squad last year and thus the team was bound to fail to meet expectations no matter who the coach was. David Moyes was not brought in as the Manchester United coach for the future. He was brought in as a scapegoat. His job was to fail and when he failed he was supposed to be sacked and take the blames for the squad. Once this happened room could be made for a high-value coaching target. When this coach is hired he will have the ideal position of being a savior for the club rather than a replacement for a club legend, which is what David Moyes was when he was hired. Next season the new coach will be able to exceed expectations by doing better than David Moyes whereas David Moyes spent all of the 2013/2014 season trying to stay afloat in the raging flood waters that are Manchester United’s expectations as set by Sir Alex Ferguson.
In essence, David Moyes was brought into to fill the big shoes left by Sir Alex Ferguson while the organization knew that no one could fit in the shoes he vacated. Therefore, it should have been no surprise that David Moyes stumbled his way through the 2013/2014 season while walking in shoes that were too big for his feet. Whichever new coach comes in to replace David won’t be forced to fill those shoes thus they are immediately at a more favorable position than Moyes was when he was hired. David Moyes was a necessary cog in the transition from Sir Alex Ferguson to the new Manchester United coach. He was only going to last a year and in that respect he was the right man for the job but he was never United’s coach of the future. They brought him so that they could fire him. If they had wanted him as their coach of the future they would have at least given him one more year.