It makes sense to let David go now

It's hard to see an old friend suffer, especially one you shared good times with.

Which is why, as much as it is refreshing for an Everton fan to find my club above Manchester United this season, it pains me to see David Moyes in the predicament he finds himself in.

A cardinal sin of sports journalism is to reveal one's sporting affiliation - lest you be accused of not being objective. But I'll declare that I am a life-long supporter of Everton football club - only because it is relevant to this column.

Relevant because David William Moyes is a man I have known since 2002; made it possible for me to watch Everton in an FA Cup final in 2009, who, in 2005, brought the Toffees back to Europe for the first time in a decade.

It is relevant because despite the gratitude I have for him, I am lobbying for him to get the boot.

It is not without a heavy heart that I hope the United board act on their instincts and wield the axe. But the severing of ties, is the only humane end to this situation of a man clearly out of his depth at managing a big club.

I resisted expressing my concerns when he was first appointed successor to Alex Ferguson last May. He had big shoes to fill, and I had my doubts.

Even when he strangely decided not to inherit any of Ferguson's famed backroom staff - some of whom helped mastermind 38 trophy wins, including 13 Premier League and two Uefa Champions League titles - and bring the entire Everton management team, I held back from predicting a torrid time ahead for Moyes.

How would a set-up, not used having a winning mentality, to go for the kill when it mattered, fare at a club used to so much success? I wondered, albeit in silence.

There were yet even more worrying signs: the botched transfer season in which he signed only Marouane Fellaini, the growing discontent among the senior United players. Still, I felt it was only fair to give the man time.

But then came Liverpool's visit. In my 30 years of following English football, I struggle to recall a day when United were so abject at home. In a game which he needed to win, Moyes' United were too conservative, too lethargic, almost disinterested from the kick-off. The combined talents of Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata had one shot on target.

It was then that the picture became clear - the name tag may say Manchester United, but he is still very much the same Everton manager.

Despite all his success at Everton, being too conservative and rigid was always his biggest failing. His default formation was always the 4-4-1-1, regardless of whether of result of opponent.

At United, the same is happening. In seven games since Mata signed for £37 million (S$78 million), the Spaniard has just three assists and no goals as a winger.

Clearly, the player with 21 goals and 29 assists last season is not making the impact he should. Yet Moyes is resistant to the idea of moving Rooney into the second striker role and moving Mata behind the front-two, a role he revelled last season at Chelsea.

That van Persie and Rooney, both on nine league goals, have yet to hit double digits mirrors the problems he had at Everton - where in 10 seasons only three strikers managed to score more than 10 goals in a season.

Moyes has yet to fully realise the enormity that is the United job. He makes apologies for underestimating how hard it would be. But I fear time is not on his side.

Manchester United is no longer just a football club. It is a global brand, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with legions of fans around the world.

That brand is suffering. It is set to lose out on a lucrative Champions League spot next season. Its share price, from an all-time high of US$19.04 (S$24.06) just before they won a record 20th English league title last year, has plummeted to US$16.11 (as of Monday).

Ultimately, football is business and it is why Moyes must go.

 


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