| 15°C Dublin

McGrath – Fergie's launch of book in early Moyes era 'shabbily done'


MANCHESTER UNITED legend Paul McGrath believes that David Moyes has been "shabbily" treated by his Old Trafford predecessor Alex Ferguson and his decision to publish an autobiography so soon after Ferguson's exit from the club.

McGrath is an admirer of Moyes and feels the club will give the under-pressure manager time to develop his own side at Old Trafford, even though the former Everton boss is finding the job "tougher than he had hoped".

The ex-Ireland man also says he is now on good terms with Ferguson, even though the pair didn't speak for a full five years after Ferguson sent McGrath on his way from United, but he does feel that Moyes was not helped by Ferguson.

"To get to where Fergie got, you need a massive ego, that thing about always wanting to be correct," McGrath said.

"But I genuinely think that when he wrote the book criticising certain players, that was a bit far. Why could he not have given David Moyes a couple of years grace and then written the book? It's always going to sell, so give him time to settle into the club. I think it was a little shabbily done.

"I think Moyes is finding it a little bit tougher than he had hoped. I think it's just a transition from Everton who are maybe not as big a club as Manchester United.


"But he would have been prepared for this by Alex Ferguson. That's what I don't quite cop.

"Alex must have sat down with him a few times and said, 'Now, it's going to be a bit of a culture shock to you to be at Manchester United'.

"So I feel for him a little bit that he is finding it so hard because when teams come to Old Trafford and don't see Alex on the bench, I think they get a bit more frisky and they actually start to believe that they can win games which they have done.

"What he (Moyes) did at Everton was, I thought, just amazing. Not being able to spend the amounts of money that other teams do and still be able to compete at that level with those teams was nothing short of incredible.

"He's done a magnificent job for them and now he comes into a situation where United a is little bit of a step up. First of all, you have got to win the fans over and that is so important.

"After Ferguson winning trophies year in year out, for any manager to come there, it was always going to be difficult.

"David is suddenly finding that it's very, very difficult. It's a world brand, it's a massive, massive club and on the ground, on the Saturdays and on the Wednesdays, what the supporters want is the team to win.

"And they want the team to win in style. They won the league last year, but not in style. The supporters want to see the team winning games in a certain way and they are not seeing that at the moment," added McGrath.


The former defender admitted that his own relationship with Ferguson was poor after he was sold on, but they have since made up.

"I did not speak to the man for five years after I left the club because I did love Manchester United," McGrath admitted. "Just because I asked for a higher wage – I had won Player of the Year, but was still on wages that some of the reserves were getting.

"I thought that if I was ever going to be brave then it was then. So I went in and asked for the wage I felt I was worth. He said that I should be happy to be wearing the red shirt, so it all went off from there.

"We (Aston Villa) beat Manchester United at Wembley in the League Cup final and that's the first time he came up to me.

"He gave me a belt in the stomach – a little too hard, but luckily I was tensed up – and he shook my hands and said, 'Well done son'.

"From that day since, he has been nothing but a gentleman. He has ways of coming back and apologising for what he sees as a small mistake in his managerial career. He knows how to get over them as well as he is such a big personality and I do genuinely like the man.

"For him to do that after some of the problems I caused him is big. And he is not a bad man, actually he is quite a funny man."