The good news for Manchester United fans is that, with club legend Ryan Giggs in charge to oversee a comfortable run-in, an otherwise-miserable season should conclude with at least a bit of a feelgood factor.
Those same fans were very supportive through thick and thin this season as David Moyes tried and failed to follow in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson. They will be disappointed that Moyes and his coaching staff could not see the problems coming.
To bounce back from this, I think it’s crucial that United recruit a manager with a wealth of experience at the highest level and won’t make the same mistakes Moyes did. United simply cannot afford to repeat their mistakes.
The whole ‘big name manager’ deal is a tad cliché, I know, and I am all for United’s original train of thought regarding Moyes – long-term building, stability and continuity.
But Sir Alex has cast far too big a shadow to just drift into another era seamlessly like that. And it has to be said that the United board have made a lot of mistakes in the process, too.
That’s why I feel United must hire Louis van Gaal as their next manager.
Van Gaal isn’t a six-year contract man. He won’t stay at Old Trafford for that period or anything longer, perhaps not even for four or five years. But he could be the man who allows United to find their long term successor to Fergie and ease that guy into the job the way they failed to do with Moyes.
Time for another cliché alert – ‘losing the dressing room’. Cliché, but spot on. When fans were coming onto the Eurosport app, hearing Moyes’ abject explanations for bad performances and losing faith, I can tell you from first hand experience that’s exactly what the players go through, too.
Bad media handling hurts the dressing room, both directly and indirectly. This is the first place Van Gaal would address. He would bring with him instant respect and have the full attention of the squad. He also knows how to keep it.
I’d dare say he would also provide the charm and ability to close a deal that Moyes and Ed Woodward’s miserable two transfer windows together lacked. And it’s already been discussed at length online just what he could do for Robin van Persie, a marvellous player who’s not exactly known for sticking at it through the tough times.
As for Moyes, I don’t think his reputation has been ruined by his one and only failed job as a manager.
I believe he has the wherewithal to be able to settle into top flight management, albeit of course at a lower level than the very top, in the same way Sam Allardyce did when he failed to clear a smaller hurdle than Man Utd in the form of Newcastle.
One thing I would hope he avoids, though, is any possible opportunity to take over from Tim Sherwood at Tottenham.
If United do swoop for Van Gaal - one of Spurs' top targets to take the helm next season - perhaps they would take a look at Moyes as a Plan B.
However, Tottenham would present many of the same obstacles which tripped Moyes up at Manchester United – the expectations, the inadequate support in the transfer market from the chairman, a legion of supporters demanding quick relief from a time of uncertainty.
In fact, Spurs fans would grant Moyesy even less time to settle in than the United fans, who were supportive of the new man at Fergie’s urging. They’ve been through the ringer with managers in recent years and probably won’t react well to a ‘Man United reject’.
It was the lack of a quick start at United that left him fighting a losing battle until the bitter end. He would be DOA at White Hart Lane.
The talk of Moyes one day heading to the Bundesliga to manage is a very real prospect, however. I have spoken to David myself in the past about the German league, as a big fan and advocate of it myself, and he has a huge admiration for the way their teams operate and the brands of football on offer.
Language barrier aside, there’s very little stopping him from one day becoming a German league boss and perhaps even being very successful there.
Right now there are clubs such as Hamburg and Stuttgart at the wrong end of the table despite their stature who could benefit greatly from a man like Moyes.
As for when he should get back into the game, there’s no real ‘best’ time to do so.
His big severance pay from United means the power in any potential negotiations will lie purely with him. He will have no reason to take a job unless he sees it as a great opportunity, whereas managers are usually driven to get back in as quickly as possible.
Who knows? With manager turnover the way it is now, there could well be an opening, maybe in the Premier League, that Moyes would find too good to turn down as early as the start of the new season.
But I wouldn’t be surprised if David took six months to himself after all of this. He’ll have a few quid in the bank and six months of self-reflection and respite from the footballing spotlight could do him a world of good.
- Sports & Recreation
- David Moyes
- Manchester United
- Louis van Gaal