In an interview with Telegraph Sport this week, ex-Man United boss David Moyes indicated that he is now ready to return to football management, but he also admitted that he was in “no rush” to accept a position.
As we all know, Moyes endured a catastrophic reign at Old Trafford, and his six-year contract was cut short after just nine months. But Moyes believes that the past five months have given him plenty of time to reflect on that experience, and that when he takes up his next position, he will be “better equipped” than he was before his term at United.
With Alan Pardew under increasing pressure at Newcastle, it has been suggested that Moyes could be the man to take over from his fellow Brit at St James Park; but Moyes insists that he will be waiting for the right opportunity before committing himself to another role.
Interestingly, Moyes’ stock appears to have risen since his disastrous period in charge was brought to a conclusion, with Manchester United not exactly setting the world alight in the Premier League this season under Louis van Gaal.
For many, van Gaal’s struggles go some way towards justifying Moyes’ pleas for time at Old Trafford. Whilst possessing some devastating attacking talent, there are still clear issues at United, and there are those who have argued that Moyes’ sacking was premature and that the Scot should have been given more time – and, crucially, more money – in order to try to develop the United team in his own image.
This is clearly the tack that Moyes takes, telling Telegraph Sport:“I think I am better-equipped to take over a job like Manchester United now than even when I did take over because I’ve had a chance to see what happens, what goes on,” he said.
“I felt I was ready when I left Everton, but obviously when you get in you see things and you realise that experience and knowledge you can only get from being in the job. But unfortunately I only got nine months.”
It might not surprise regular readers to hear that this is not a point of view I agree with. The fact that Moyes is quick to use the fact that he only got nine months to prove his worth at Old Trafford is unsurprising, but it neglects to add crucial context to Moyes’ United story.
The reason Moyes only got nine months at Old Trafford was because he and his coaches had completely torn apart a massively successful club. The previous season had delivered magnificent success, with United winning the title by 11 points, and although there were clearly issues with age and balance within the United camp, there was simply no excuse for the terrible state that Moyes managed to get the side into.
Moyes had to go. The United board simply could not have justified backing the manager heavily after such constant and devastating disappointment.
For me, the decline United endured under Moyes is a clear reason why the reigns of van Gaal and Moyes cannot be compared. Lest we forget, Moyes inherited a defence that included Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra. Van Gaal inherited three mediocre centrebacks, and a few teenage fullbacks. Chalk and cheese.
Van Gaal also inherited a dressing room totally devoid of any confidence; all of the bullishness and confidence of the Ferguson era disappeared during Moyes’ time at the club. Moyes inherited a team of winners, and his task was simply to keep them at a similar level – a task that he failed abysmally at.
I do genuinely wish Moyes all the best for his next role, but I wish people would stop pretending that there’s a sense in which the Scot was harshly treated at United. He was given more than a fair crack of the whip, and he failed. His tenure resulted in a seventh-place finish for the holders, and that is simply not good enough. Should van Gaal lead United to 14th, I can’t see him sticking around either.