In spite of winning three games in a row, including a pivotal 3-0 win in the Champions League against Greek side Olympiakos, since David Moyes became the new manager of Manchester United, results overall have been far from impressive. The Reds presently lie in seventh place in the Premier League, despite being the current champions, while they have lacked cutting edge against many big rivals.
Today, they face a daunting fixture at home against local rivals Manchester City. City are trying to win the title, whereas United will be trying to at least keep alive their faint hopes of sealing a top-four finish. Moyes’ boys are expected to come away from the latest Manchester derby without any points, but anything less than three points at Old Trafford could be unthinkable.
Aside from seeing fortunes slide on the pitch, off it, shareholders in Manchester United seem pretty anxious about their prospects under Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor. Since Sir Alex decided to retire at the end of last season, shares in the club have fallen by around one fifth. The prospect of missing out on lucrative Champions League football next season could be one possible explanation.
About that, Joshua Raymond from City Index explained the possible ramifications of the failures of the Moyes era to date:
“Well, Man Utd winning the Champions League game against Olympiacos has changed it a tad but essentially the story is their inability to get into the Champions League next year, and the instability of David Moyes as manager.
“This week, they face Man City and if they lose that game, there will be even more pressure on Moyes, whilst they have also just been drawn against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, who are the favourites. So the picture is not looking any brighter for them next season.
“A failure to get into the Champions League could cost them dear, not just in lost revenue, but also subsequent commercial deals and they would lose some degree of attractiveness in being able to acquire the players they need at a time when their squad requires major upheaval.”
Although there has been talk of Moyes being dismissed, salvation could come if they can at least finish in sixth place, guaranteeing Europa League football and attendance money from fixtures in that competition. Also, any slip in form from Arsenal may keep their faint Champions League hopes alive. It’s likely that Moyes’ future depends on the end of season run though.
Speaking about their fortunes on the markets, Mr Raymond then said:
“Interestingly, their shares have just seen their highest ever recorded short interest, meaning that the amount of people betting on their shares will fall is now at all-time high levels.
“Net short interest is now at just short of 3m shares, which is 1.8% of the shares outstanding. As a percentage of the floated shares, its 17.8% are of short interest. So clearly investors and traders are expecting bad things.”