Ian O'Doherty

Tuesday 29 July 2014

The sad, but predictable end of Moyes' Old Trafford adventure

Moyes and Manchester United both bit off more than they could chew – and that was obvious from the start, writes Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

Published 22/04/2014|02:30

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Nobody saw that coming? Of course we did. Football fans can take a look around themselves and say this morning... who among us saw this coming? Well, the answer is... anybody and everybody.

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The appointment of David Moyes seemed like a sound managerial changing of the guard, according to some fans.

Or, as the post-mortem experts have been keen to trumpet, it was the act of an old king passing on a diseased, ageing and weakened inheritance to a man who allowed his ego to interfere with his pragmatism.

After all, who wouldn't allow themselves to take the Old Trafford job?

The honest, unvarnished and visceral truth is that everybody knew, or at least worried, about how this was going to end up.

In fact, one of the things that most irked some fans with long memories was the sight of people telling anyone who would care to listen that Manchester United was not a 'sacking' club' – no club is a 'sacking club' when you're winning.

Winning is the only antidote and Moyes not only failed to find a cure he seemed, at times, to bring his own diseases – most unforgivably, the malady that accepts second best.

This is the man, after all, who admitted, publicly, that Liverpool were favourites at Old Trafford; the man who declared Man City as being at a level worth United 'aspiring' to – the man who seemed happy to be dumped out of Europe without being hammered.

MISTAKE

The mistake they made was hiring the wrong person and then sacking him in way that has been as bungled and wrong and amateurish as everything the board has done since the hapless Woodward first spelled doom for this regime by announcing that he was off to sign Fabregas – and then promptly failed to do so. As the funeral parties – always the best kind – gather, and United fans huddle around each other and nod knowingly to each other about how Moyes was the wrong man at the right time for, maybe, the right job, it's clear to anyone who has cared to look that this was a terrible, terrible choice.

But it was an understandable one to make – for both parties.

Moyes was never going to be a coach that fans or players loved – he was a technocrat, not a divining rod for emotions; one of the reasons, we are constantly told, why senior board members black-balled Mourinho – he came with too much baggage.

Well, Moyes may well be the first manager of a club this side to leave with too little baggage.

But nobody can hold ill will towards the man – it was an appointment that could have gone either way – and this one went more badly than anyone thought possible.

As the old song goes: 'Ever get the feeling you've been had?'

Moyes probably does – and the fans certainly do.

Such is life.

Irish Independent

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