Archive for October, 2013

David replacing Goliath

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 October 1st, 2013 Aabhas Sharma

It hasn’t gone according to the plan for David Moyes and Manchester United so far, has it? But it was never going to be easy. It was David walking into Goliath’s shoes, literally. Replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United was always going to be a near-impossible task. The thing is, you don’t find replacements for a genius, you do your best in picking the right man who you think can fill the void to a certain extent. Despite early season results, Moyes for me remains that man.

When Moyes was appointed the manager of Manchester United on May 11, there was a sense of caution and not excitement amongst United supporters. They knew Moyes had done well at Everton – for most part of the 11 seasons at his former club, he did very well with the limited resources at his disposal. But United is a different ball game. Here supporters aren’t used to losing too many games. Here the manager isn’t supposed to be under pressure and most importantly, here there is a sense of invincibility which Ferguson built with sheer hard work, grit and determination.

Two months into the new season and United supporters are facing the reality. Life after Ferguson was always going to be difficult – anyone who thought differently was lying to themselves and to others. United are a special club – and I don’t say this with red-tinted glasses – in the sense they are perhaps the only club who have had one manager for 27 years. Look around European clubs, and they have chopped and changed managers a lot. Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City have the financial muscle to change their managers and things move on without too much disruption. United can’t do that. United’s financial worries – yes they very much exist – despite being one of the most richest clubs in the world are pretty well-known.

I can understand United supporters being worried but what were they actually expecting. Did they actually expect Moyes would walk in and just pick up from where Ferguson left off? That there wouldn’t be any bumps along the way? If they did, they were terribly underrating Ferguson.

The media and rival club fans are having a field day. Any talk of a perceived crisis at United is music to their ears. But supporters are fickle. Take the case of Arsene Wenger. He has been at Arsenal for 17 years and when they lost to Aston Villa in the opening game of the 2013-14 season Arsenal fans were actually calling for him to be sacked. Fast forward five games and they’re hailing him as a genius and want him to be given a new contract!

There are bound to be a few rocky patches as United are in a transition – in fact they are in the mother of all transitions – period. And this is not just applicable under Moyes’ stewardship, it would be with any other manager – Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola or anyone. As a United supporter, I am really looking forward to this season with a lot of intrigue, excitement and of course, fear as it is a whole new football experience for me. Supporters shouldn’t press the panic buttons and enjoy watching the evolution of a new era at Old Trafford. Maybe it will end in a disaster, maybe it will be a resounding success. It was always going to be a challenge for the new manager, for the players and for the supporters.

In the aftermath of the 1958 Munich tragedy, United’s assistant manager Jimmy Murphy was told that the club would be shut down as they couldn’t find enough players for the next match. Murphy, one of United’s greatest heroes, was adamant that he will find players to play for the club (which he did) and told the management: “How we are in the future will be founded on how we behave today.” It’s a start of a new era and Manchester United need to ensure that they stick to what they believe in, unless it starts going horribly wrong.