The media frenzy about David Moyes’s ability to handle the Manchester United job has reached a boiling point with countless tabloid articles and speculation about the manager’s future. But as a supporter of a rival club who enjoys seeing the Red Devils suffer, let me explain why I have a soft spot for Moyes and ultimately would like to see him succeed in some way.
We live in a day and age where we are constantly being preached too by many people about the inadequacies of British football and how much more sophisticated everything is on the continent. The top English clubs have followed this lead and have gone continental with their management preferences. Manchester United, a club whose best managers have all been Scots through the years, stands as a shining exception.
The obsession with continental tactics, personalities and players is understandable. But what I want to see is younger British and Irish managers and younger British players given a fair shake at the bigger clubs. Brendan Rodgers hiring by Liverpool was a good sign as was, of course, Moyes hiring by Manchester United. But Moyes’s hiring was made strictly out of deference to Sir Alex Ferguson and one must assume if he is sacked he will be replaced by a continental. Arsenal is breaking in younger British players, but Chelsea and Manchester City both of whom once had tremendous youth systems, have taken to simply loaning Academy players out until inevitably selling or releasing them.
Moyes worked his way throughout Preston North End, building a side that came close to promotion to the Premier League on multiple occasions and took Everton from a annual relegation candidate to the UEFA Champions League in a few short seasons. Those types of managers previously were rewarded and given deference in English football. But today, instant gratification characterizes much of the narrative as does a self-loathing attitude by many towards anyone of Scottish, Welsh, English or Irish background.
While the Premier League is an international phenomenon, all its matches are played in the British Isles. Players and coaches must live and work in England or Wales, and this fact seems lost, often on those who critique managers and players.
Today Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan would never have been given the opportunity to manage Liverpool. Both won European Cups, and both took what Bill Shankly built and improved it. Perhaps the same can be said for Kevin Keegan, or dare I say Sir Alex Ferguson.