In the last three articles, I went through Manchester United‘s history and the Ferguson era of unprecedented success. Last season, Manchester United and Ferguson romped to the Premier League trophy with essentially the same squad as what the have now, so what has changed?
I spoke of the tight grip Ferguson had on the squad and how that grip may have slacked a little under David Moyes. Also, you have to look at the summer transfer window and the signings (or lack of signings). Maroune Fellaini from Everton was pretty much the only big-name arriving, although many were linked. So why didn’t they want to sign?
My theory is that just like players who step up to another level, which Manchester United is from Everton, sometimes it takes them time to gel. Players will look at that and wonder how Moyes will do at United, and how United will be after Ferguson. After all, you will not know a time where Manchester United wasn’t managed by Ferguson if you are 30 or younger, so this is uncharted waters, especially in the Premier League era.
Add to that fact it is a World Cup year, and if you are trying to cement your place in your country’s side, do you really want to take the risk that Moyes may be a complete flop to go along with the risk that you may not fit in and settle?
The key for Moyes now is to not be friends with the current squad. He needs to reestablish that line where he is the boss. Even if he does go to a player for advice, he shouldn’t broadcast it publicly. In press conferences, he needs to take more of the line that Ferguson did — that the press are evil and will write anything, even if it isn’t true.
He should concentrate on the team and getting points in the next game, and pay no attention to the supporters. They will return again just as quickly as they left and if they will not stick with a club through its low points, how loyal are they anyway? All he has to do is look across the City to see loyal fans sticking with their team through the low points of the 1980s and 1990s.
If he can get the product on the pitch back to its potential, then maybe the transfer targets that Moyes identifies will have a clearer idea of what United looks like with him at the top, and I think the big names will be attracted again.
Sure, they might lose some glory supporters in the process, but that is a good thing for United, who have been punching above their weight for a while now. That doesn’t mean they are not a good side, but the constant haul and stability of an Alex Ferguson will never happen again.