This week, Sir Alex Ferguson surprised the soccer world by resigning as the head man at Manchester United. During his remarkable 26 years at Man U, he led the club to 13 English championships and two European ones.
At age 71 Ferguson was known to be close to retirement. But few expected he would retire this year.
Almost immediately, Man U ended speculation over his replacement by naming David Moyes, Everton’s long-time manager. This announcement wasn’t a shock. Moyes is generally considered Britain’s second best manager, behind Ferguson. And it was known that Fergie admires his fellow Scotsman.
On the other hand, I’m sorry to admit, Moyes has no experience managing a club approaching the magnitude of Manchester United. At Everton, his mission, at first, was just to avoid a relegation scrap. He accomplished this with such aplomb that his mission became finishing in the top six, or so, ahead of all clubs that don’t spend freely. This too, he generally accomplished.
At Man U, however, the mission will be to win the Premier League title and to challenge for the European Champion’s League crown. Moyes has very limited experience, and less success, competing in Europe.
Thus, the consensus is that Man U would have been better served by a foreign manager with lots of European experience. And many believe that Moyes will be in over his head.
I’ve been singing Moyes’ praises for years on Power Line. While the Man U job is a big step up, I think he is a good selection.
Will he deliver a major trophy nearly every year, as the United fans will expect? Unlikely. Will he deliver one every other year, as they will demand? That’s a tall order too.
United has an aging core of stars and a number of outstanding young players (e.g., Phil Jones, Tom Cleverly, Chris Smalling, and Danny Welback) who haven’t quite established themselves as capable of leading the team to trophies. And in-his-prime star Wayne Rooney, with whom Moyes clashed over Rooney’s departure from Everton, is probably on his way out at United.
Without the addition of one or two stars in their prime, there could be a slight down period ahead for Man U regardless of the manger. And if the core of young players doesn’t deliver, Man U could be in trouble, relatively speaking.
But I wouldn’t underestimate Our Davey’s ability to make it all work at Old Trafford, though not at the same level Sir Alex did.
What Moyes’ departure means for Everton will be the subject of an upcoming post.