Moyes Out?…Really?…So soon?
On May 12 2013, shortly after Manchester United beat Swansea City 2-1 at Old Trafford, outgoing manager Sir Alex Ferguson addressed his home supporters and thanked them for sharing the countless memories with him at the club. United’s legendary leader reminded the fans that “all the last second goals, the comebacks, and the defeats, are all part of this great football club of ours.”
He then spoke the words which seem to have been forgotten by many of Manchester United’s supporters:
“I’d also like to remind you that when we had bad times here, the club stood by me, all my staff stood by me, the players stood by me. Your job now is to stand by our new manager. That is important.”
It’s safe to say, after only seven months and fourteen Premier League matches, that many Manchester United’s supporters have ignored their former manager’s plea.
The Internet has been burning up with comments from angry United supporters after their club’s 1-0 loss to Everton. They are calling for someone’s head. The most logical victim is David Moyes.
Moyes never managed to win at Old Trafford in eleven years as Everton manager, but Roberto Martínez managed to do it in his first attempt. The press, United’s detractors, and some of their own fans are having a field day with this defeat. Everton supporters taunted their old manager throughout the contest and celebrated the victory as if they had just won silverware for the first time since 1995 (unfortunately the match only gave Everton three points). United’s own supporters are directing their anger at the club’s front office and its manager.
“Moyes Out!”, “Fellaini is a bust!”, “We need to buy Koke (Atletico Madrid), Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao), Leighton Baines, Iniesta, and anyone else we can grab during the January transfer window!”
Stay Calm, Manchester United supporters. Trust SAF.
Are Manchester United going to win the league this season? The odds are against them at this point. But this season in the Premier League hasn’t exactly gone “according to plan”. So with twenty-four matches left to play and a twelve point gap between them and league leading Arsenal, United are still in the title race…mathematically.
Will Manchester United finish outside of the top four? Because of the congestion of the league table, there are seven teams who are within eight points of second place Chelsea. Six teams are within six points of third place Manchester City. And four teams trail Liverpool/Everton by five points for the last Champions League spot…with TWENTY-FOUR MATCHES TO GO. Manchester United fits into every one of those categories, so the Red Devils are still in contention for a top four spot.
More than likely, these circumstances won’t sit well with some of United’s supporters. “Manchester United are a ‘top’ club who should be competing for silverware on all fronts! Now we’re just going to be happy with a top four position!?” No. But this is the hand United have been dealt. And as sacrilegious as this may be, I’m going to quote the legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly: “If you can’t support us when we lose or draw, don’t support us when we win.”
Here’s another reminder for those United supporters who are jumping ship or calling for the manager’s head after fourteen matches: The loss to Everton comes on the heels of United being unbeaten in twelve straight matches in all competitions. Manchester United are currently top of their Champions League group with one match to play and they have advanced to the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup. So in spite of the club’s failings in the summer transfer window and the loss of key figures to injuries through the early part of the season, David Moyes and his players are competing for silverware.
What the club needs now (more than ever) is the support of its fans. At this time, Manchester United are not a club that strikes fear into the hearts of their opponents. Teams are lining up to take their shots at what they perceive as a wounded champion. It used to be that United would take a team’s ‘best shot’ on the road. But now teams are coming into ‘the theatre’ in Manchester and trying to forge their own dream.
United fans need to rally around their club. Instead of a mausoleum, Old Trafford needs to return to the burning cauldron it was only a few years ago. Supporters shouldn’t make any excuses for the poor atmosphere inside the legendary ground. It shouldn’t make a difference whether it’s the high ticket prices, no standing rule, no singing section, or whatever. Old Trafford seats 72,811 people (minus about 3,000 for away supporters). United fans can’t say that they don’t have enough die hard supporters inside that stadium to make it rock to its foundation come Saturday against Newcastle.
“We had bad times here, the club stood by me, all my staff stood by me, the players stood by me. Your job now is to stand by our new manager.” We trusted Fergie’s judgment before, we need to trust him again.