Why Manchester United Got It So Wrong Between Sir Alex Ferguson And Jose Mourinho

Posted: June 29, 2016 in Football, Managers, Manchester United, Opinion
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Who’s idea was it to employ David Moyes as a successor to Sir Alex Ferguson?

If we are to believe the press then it was Sir Alex himself. This is debatable because, although he retired at the height of his powers, it would be churlish to think that one man decides the future direction of a club the size of United. I think he may have been given the casting vote, but that is all and, in itself, shows the power he had at the time.

We are also expected to believe that Moyes was chosen over Jose Mourinho. This is pushing the realms of fantasy a little too far as well. David Moyes, with his record of winning absolutely nothing, was given the United job before the most successful manager, after Fergie, who had won titles in three different countries.

Either Ed Woodward is even more incompetent than people think he is or the stories simply aren’t true. Perish the thought that the great British press may have been telling a few porkies.

So why did United employ Moyes? Again it was reported that Mourinho had already agreed to rejoin Chelsea, yet other reports stated that the one job he really wanted was United. Which is true? I find it hard to believe that United would overlook him in favour of Moyes unless there was an underlying reason.

It is credible that Sirs Bobby Charlton and Alex Ferguson didn’t think that Mourinho was the right fit at Old Trafford but, even if this is the case, what on earth made them think that David Moyes was?! From the offset he was indecisive, brought in average players and seemed totally overawed with the job, so much so that it wasn’t that long before the fans were glad to see the back of him. He then went on to prove he couldn’t even hack it at Real Sociedad in Spain.

Next up was Louis van Gaal. An Ed Woodward choice this one, or so we are led to believe. He certainly appeared to fit the profile required of a United manager the only question was whether or not he had managed to move with the times. The simple answer over the course of his tenure was that he had not. He still managed the club as he would have done twenty years ago and a lot of the players and staff resented this.

In the current football world all the power rests with the players and, if they decide to stop playing for the manager then it is he who will suffer, not the players. Just look at what happened to Jose Mourinho at Chelsea!

Van Gaal started off quite promisingly but then his tactics, which were designed more not to lose games than to win them, began to bore the fans. They then began to bore the players. Manchester United had always been about fast and exciting football and van Gaal turned this into slow and boring football. Having scraped into fourth place in his first year, thereby qualifying for a qualifier for the Champion’s League, he then proceeded to go backwards.

Knocked out of the competition in the group stage he then finished fifth in the Premier League and failed to qualify for next season’s Champion’s League. He did win the FA Cup but this was seen as akin to accepting second best, even though it was a welcome distraction from the rubbish on show in the Premier League at the time.

So van Gaal was eventually shown the door when even his greatest supporter, Ed Woodward, couldn’t see any future in the relationship. Woodward had now sacked the first two managers he had been responsible for appointing. Proof, if any were needed, that Woodward and anything football are not a good mix.

If Manchester United had acted the way they should have acted when Fergie retired, history could have been different. Jose Mourinho would now be in his fifth year in the job and be well and truly settled in. He wouldn’t have had to suffer the indignity of being sacked again by Roman Abramovich, thanks to his own players. United would have won the Premier League at least twice and may even have won the Champion’s League.

Everton would still be languishing in mid-table under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal would have retired to his villa in the Algarve, much to the benefit of everybody else.

Of course, all this is conjecture but I don’t think it is too far from the truth.

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