EPL: Don't worry, no one can be worse

EPL: Don't worry, no one can be worse
Down and Out: David Moyes with a resigned look on his face when United were trailing City 2-0 at Old Trafford last month (above).

I know I can easily say I told you so.

In a column last May, I "predicted" that the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson would mark the beginning of a "dark" period for Manchester United.

Even before David Moyes put pen to paper, I suggested that Fergie's successor would be lucky to last a year, which is how long Wilf McGuinness kept his job after the departure of the legendary Sir Matt Busby.

Last September, after a dramatic loss to West Brom at Old Trafford, I surmised that Moyes was well out of his depth.

But the truth is, despite what I wrote, even as I watched one painful defeat after another, I somehow clung on to the belief that maybe the new Scot would come good after all.

Maybe Moyes would prove doubters like me wrong.

Maybe Sir Alex's chosen one ought to be given time.

But one moment changed that all for me, erasing the last remnants of doubt on whether Moyes was up to the task.

And that came in the latter stages of the match against Manchester City last month, when United were 2-0 down at Old Trafford.

There were still 20 minutes left in the game and the cameras panned to Moyes.

Where was he? Sitting on the bench with a resigned look on his face.

He looked a man out of ideas, out of belief, out of hope.

Against Bayern Munich in 1999, Sir Alex won the Champions League trophy in three minutes of stoppage time.

But here was a man who could not summon his troops to try and overcome a 2-0 deficit with 20 minutes to go.

Can you picture Sir Alex in the same situation?

He would have been jumping up and down on the touchline, bellowing instructions to his players, berating the fourth official and gesticulating at his watch, all while his face turned from an ugly red to an angry shade of purple.

Perhaps that is why this moment has been inevitable.

How can any manager stand up to such comparisons, especially one who took the job without a trophy to his name?

In truth, as has been pointed out by my fellow columnists in The New Paper, the fault does lie with Sir Alex.

He chose Moyes, probably in the belief that he was a carbon copy of Sir Alex before he took the United job in 1986.


But, while that may be true, the Uniteds of 1986 and 2014 are so different that Sir Alex did Moyes no favours by handing over the reins to his prize-winning stable.

There was no way the Glazers were going to give Moyes four years (like Sir Alex) to win his first trophy.

There was no way the players and fans were going to tolerate a season without Champions League football.

So here we are again, still in the shadow of a colossus and minus a manager.

This time, I suspect, Sir Alex will not be sending in any nominations for a successor.

In truth, I think the Glazers will not listen to him even if he did.

The next man is likely to be everything Moyes is not: Someone with an impressive trophy cabinet and the right European credentials.

His task will be made much easier by a substantial war chest, if reports are to be believed.

But can he undo the damage and reverse United's fortunes?

Last year, I "feared no man was up to the task" of replacing Fergie.

This time around, I console myself in the belief that no one can do any worse than Moyes.

This article was published on April 23 in The New Paper.

Get The New Paper for more stories.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.
Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.