So it’s official. Alex Ferguson will retire at the end of the season after 27 years in charge of Manchester United. The news has come as a shock to many, with Ferguson himself not giving any indication that he would be stepping down. Tributes are quite rightly pouring in – Ferguson has defined the modern era of Premier League football and deserves every accolade he receives.
With the Premier League done and dusted and the relegation scrap more tai chi than Thai boxing we were perhaps all wondering what there was to talk about, but the revelation that Fergie is to retire has set the rumour mill into overdrive, with every man and his dog speculating about who will be the man to replace him. Two names are at the forefront of the speculation: David Moyes and Jose Mourinho. Given the lack of viable alternatives, it seems likely that one of these two men will get the job. Let’s examine their credentials:
Moyes has been long mooted as a potential successor to Ferguson, and speculation is rife regarding the possibility of Moyes taking over from his fellow Scot this summer. Moyes is often praised for the job he has done with Everton; and having been there for 11 full seasons, he has done a great job in turning Everton from relegation candidates into Top 4 challengers. Ferguson himself appears to have the utmost respect for Moyes, and all of these factors contribute towards Moyes being the current favourite at the bookies.
It is my personal view that appointing Moyes is a move that could seriously backfire. For a start, the only silverware that Moyes has ever won is a Division 2 title with Preston. Contrast that with the high-level of success associated with Manchester United. Moyes simply has no experience of dealing with that sort of pressure. Additionally, one would think that the United board would want to appoint a manager who was likely to help them perform more consistently in Europe – Moyes has no Champions League experience.
Many extol Moyes’ ability to be able to build a team that challenges on a shoestring budget, but the reality is that Moyes will have a much more expansive budget at United than he has had at Everton, and the question must be asked: can he be trusted with it? Marouane Fellaini aside, when Moyes has had money he has wasted it, with his four most expensive transfers after the Belgian being pretty underwhelming in Yakubu, Bilyaletdinov, Andy Johnson and James Beattie.
If Moyes were to get the job I could see him having the same sort of impact as Mark Hughes had at Manchester City. Hughes had done a great job at Blackburn and was given the City job, only to reside in mediocrity for an 18-month spell before being unceremoniously booted out of the door. Moyes simply hasn’t had the experience of managing a big club that I would regard as imperative.
Mourinho is a winner, and is usually a bad winner at that. He gloats, he crows and he is generally quite unpleasant: all of which contribute towards him being such an entertaining character. However, when United lost to Real Madrid in the last-16 of the Champions League this year, we saw a very different Jose Mourinho to the one that most of us are familiar with.
We saw a sympathetic man who seemed quite embarrassed to have won in the manner that he had. This sycophancy from Mourinho was amusing and perhaps touching, but not surprising. The Portugese maestro was hardly about to blot his copybook in front of a possible future employer was he? At that point it was eminently clear that Mourinho had designs on the Man United job: perhaps he already knew it was up for grabs?
Mourinho’s winning mentality is one very good reason why he should be given the job. Simply put, Jose succeeds. The major trophies in his managerial resume include: 2 Champions League titles, 1 UEFA Cup, 2 Primeira Liga titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 Serie A titles, 1 Coppa Italia, 1 La Liga and 1 Copa del Rey. Wherever Mourinho goes; he wins things.
Mourinho also has proven success in all the competitions that United participate in and this contributes towards him being a more sensible choice than some of the other foreign names being bandied about. A Champions League and Premier League winner; Mourinho knows how it’s done, and can be relied upon to deliver.
Those who aren’t in favour of Jose getting the job would ask the question: at what cost does he win things? This is something that is worthy of significant consideration, as appointing Mourinho as manager of your club does not ensure a smooth ride. In fact, it is more than likely to result in the opposite. The man is no stranger to controversy, and is seeking a move away from Real Madrid after upsetting pretty much everybody. Ferguson has very much cultivated a family environment at Old Trafford, and there may well be concerns over Jose wading in and rocking the boat with his controversial and bombastic statements and actions.
Mourinho’s ‘win at all costs’ mentality will no doubt elicit further concerns among some members of the Man Utd board. United have generally tried to play attractive football at the same time as winning; but if his previous sojourn in England is anything to go by, Mourinho doesn’t care one iota about whether his football is attractive or not. United fans have been spoilt for so many years with great success and great football, and it will be interesting to see how they react should Mourinho land the job and change the ethos.
Which one should they pick?
Personally I think the decision is easier than most are making out. I like David Moyes and I think he’s a good manager, but he simply isn’t experienced enough to not be a massive gamble. Any man taking over at Old Trafford is on a hiding to nothing as Ferguson is quite rightly regarded as the greatest manager ever; but in my opinion, Mourinho’s swagger and self-confidence is far more likely to be successful than Moyes’ humility and determination.
Who would you pick? Let us know in the comments box below.