The Blog

Déjà Vu for Man United

For anyone who knows the history of Manchester United, particularly the Sir Matt Busby era and when he retired in 1969, there is a real sense of Déjà Vu at Old Trafford at present.

For anyone who knows the history of Manchester United, particularly the Sir Matt Busby era and when he retired in 1969, there is a real sense of Déjà Vu at Old Trafford at present.

Back in June 1969, the legendary United manager Sir Matt Busby retired from the Old Trafford hot seat, passing the reins to reserve team coach Wilf McGuiness. Busby had led United to an 11th place finish in the old First Division with no silverware to leave with.

In his first season, McGuiness saw United finish in eight place [season 1969-70] some 21 points behind league winners Everton. But just 18 months after taking on, what was at the time the toughest gig in football, McGuiness was sacked in December 1970.

Busby returned as manager on a temporary basis guiding United to another eight place finish [season 1970-71].

Jump forward to today and David Moyes, the present incumbent at Old Trafford, is under huge pressure after what can only be described as a poor start to his United managerial job. Taking over the mantle from arguably the greatest football manager in world football, Sir Alex Ferguson, is Moyes' greatest challenge of his football career - both as a player and manager. In fact, I would go as far as saying Moyes has a tougher act to follow than McGuiness did in 1969.

United flirted with a number of managers [O'Farrell, Docherty, Sexton and Atkinson] before Ferguson arrived on the scene, with success limited to a Second Division title and three FA Cup wins.

Ferguson's start to his managerial career at United has been well documented, we also know how his 27 year long reign at Old Trafford turned out - winning 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, 10 Charity/Community Shields, two Champions Leagues, one ECWC, one Super Cup, one intercontinental cup, one FIFA Club World Cup and a vast array of personal accolades.

After stints at Preston North End and 11 years at Goodison Park as Everton manager, David Moyes' start as United manager mirrors that of Ferguson's for all the wrong reasons as he picks up unwanted records.

But this side is not Moyes' it is Ferguson's, the former Dons manager left United on a high [winning the EPL title] but the side is full of overrated players and those who are at the end of their careers. Moyes was failed by the United board, in particular executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, who has been dubbed 'a clown' by disgruntled United fans.

Moyes' only acquisition was Merouane Fellani from Everton for £27,500,000 - signed in September some two months after he took charge of United.

The former Celtic defender had the inenviable task of trying to strengthen what was an already weakened United side - despite the talents of Rooney, van Persie, De Gea, Vidic and Januzaj. However, with only one signing brought in - who has failed to live up to his price tag - Moyes must revamp the squad from defence to attack.

Moyes' must receive criticism not only for the on field performances as he selects the team and the tactics, but he also must be castigated for culling Ferguson's entire back room staff when he joined United. There was too many changes taking place at the same time and although these things do happen at other clubs, those at United had the experience and man management skills to sort out the mess that Moyes currently finds himself in. In fact, Ferguson did not spend every day on the training ground, he delegated those duties to his backroom staff the same staff who Moyes waved goodbye too.

Another blow to Moyes' succession was the departure of CEO David Gill, the businessman [along with Ferguson] were instrumental in signing a host of top talent for United over the years and with Gill's retirement and Woodward's appointment by the unpopular Glazer family, it is another nail getting ready in Moyes' Man United coffin.

Of course we are just six months into Moyes' reign, but the death drums of the United faithful are already sounding. While the majority are standing by him for now, an increasing number are disgruntled and want him gone.

Will Moyes be given as much time as Ferguson was given in his first year or so? Not a chance. Times have changed since the mid-80s and with the Glazers running the club at a massive loss, any loss on the park could have serious repercussions financially.

It is my opinion, and only my opinion at the end of the day, but if Moyes' United side finish outside of the Champions League places this season on the back of not winning any piece of silverware, the Scot could find himself out on his ear - despite the presence of Ferguson and Charlton on the board.