A few years back I encountered a heavily disenchanted Liverpool fan. As a man in his thirties he could remember a time, in the 1980s, when his team was pre-eminent. That Liverpool vintage swept away everything before it with highly attractive football.
But, as we all know, the empire crumbled at a terrible time just as serious money was coming into the league through new TV sponsorships. While Manchester United, Arsenal et al prospered, Liverpool got left behind financially and have suffered a twenty year absence from a league winners list with which their name was once synonymous.
Yet I was still amazed that this guy actually wanted his team to lose. He believed that, until the incumbent manager was sacked, things could not improve. So, with a wince of pain, he rooted for the opposition.
In an almost incredible turn of events, we are now witnessing some Manchester United fans and soccersweep readers who want the same thing – for their club to keep losing until David Moyes is sacked.
The Manchester United board seem to be showing blind faith in the manager even though he is overseeing what many would call a complete disaster at the club.
The problem with giving Moyes a season to get things right is that it will be even harder for him to succeed by next year. Moyes always maintained that signing players mid-season would be difficult. But surely he will find it even harder to recruit top players in the summer if he can’t offer them Champions League football. Juan Mata was a great signing but Manchester United were desperate for another central midfielder in the winter window.
In defence of those who see short term pain (defeats) as a route to longer term gain (Moyes out) it is hard to see how the current Manchester United manager has improved any area of the club.
He hasn’t yet displayed even a hint of the tactical genius that may be required in future to mastermind victories in the latter stages of top competitions. There is a feeling that he will simply try to buy his way out of trouble and sign players who are so good that they don’t require too much coaching.
Unfortunately for Moyes he’s working in a football environment with greater competition than ever before. Manchester United can no longer simply skim the cream off the milk in terms of player acquisitions. Even in England, Manchester United can now be easily outbid by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
So, moving forward, a successful Manchester United manager will absolutely require tactical ingenuity and the sort of progressive thinking that can outwit clubs with bigger budgets.
Like our aforementioned friend from Merseyside, we just can’t see how Manchester United can do this with their current manager.
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