The time that Manchester United fans knew was inevitable yet feared has arrived: Sir Alex Ferguson has retired.
Wednesday’s news has progressed rapidly with probably the most high-profile managerial race in history dominating the media. The original stand-out candidates were Jose Mourinho and David Moyes; but is the latter now set to take the helm as the next Manchester United manager?
Many will ask, why Moyes? What has he done?
Well, my answer to that is this: the Scot hasn’t succeeded on a major level or with major trophies yet, because he hasn’t had the opportunity to realistically do so. His highlights are an FA Cup and a top-four finish that, with better resources, could well have resulted in a far more beneficial outcome and victory over Villarreal in the qualifiers.
But what has been most impressive about him is that consistency to bring out impressive league finishes, with eight coming in top 10.
Even so, many will feel that he is still not good enough for the mammoth job which is Manchester United and that a bigger name, such as Mourinho, would be a better fit. But there is an argument against that which I agree with, and may be a telling factor in the decision-making at United — especially given the fact that Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton will have a defining say in the selection.
Moyes’ domineer may be better suited to United than the more ‘showbiz’ names. At the club, there has been a tradition stretching back to Sir Matt Busby that really hold several key values.
Firstly, bringing through youth has always been one of the standout beliefs: from the ‘Busby Babes’ to Ferguson’s various generations of youth, it has been a firm factor in the makeup of the club and one that has been stressed throughout Ferguson’s reign.
It means a longevity for the club, that there is always a future. It will always please the fans, seeing talent that their own club has produced has always been something that fans take a warmth too.
Moyes has done exactly this at Everton. Perhaps not on the Manchester United scale, but we have seen the likes of Wayne Rooney and now Ross Barkley come through and shine. Mourinho, on the other hand, has arguably never been a real instigator of that. He’s preferred to bring in various transfers and almost ignore the possible younger influences.
Maybe that is due to his short-term stays at clubs, but that too is another factor. United and the fans have just enjoyed one of the longest single managerial periods in history. It feels like a brief stay would be wrong for the club.
Mourinho has almost always enjoyed short stays, with even his longest at Chelsea lasting only three years. Moyes however has been Everton now for over a decade, the third-longest in Britain, with only Ferguson and Arsene Wenger ahead of him.
United and Ferguson have always conveyed themselves in a professional manner. Okay, you could say Ferguson’s heated moments and behaviour have been the opposite of that, but his ability to sweep individual problems and stories under aside has been undeniably important.
Moyes wouldn’t have stayed in the job for so long if this wasn’t the case and I don’t just mean how he’s acted, but also how he’s conducted the squad. The consistent overachieving with fairly limited resources stems from that professional and never giving up attitude — a similar trait to that of the modern day Manchester United.
So we await the conformation, but Moyes has the mindset and determination that suits the values of the club. Mourinho has that confidence to handle the pressure, which arguably Moyes may not. But, we’ve never seen him handle such a job, yet we have seen him handle a fairly tough one extremely well for a long period of time.
What is typical of Ferguson, though, is that the new man is likely to be announced before the end of the season, meaning everyone is already looking forward: something he has always stressed is a vital part of becoming a success.