“I’m ready to go”.
So says former Manchester United manager David Moyes in the Daily Telegraph.
The Scot is raring to return to football but this time around it’ll be on his own terms.
“Picking my next job is vitally important, I’m well aware of that. I have an open mind as to what it will be and where it will be – if it’s in the Premier League or in the UK that’s fine but if it’s abroad then I’m okay with that”.
One cannot hide from the fact that Moyes’ 10-month reign at Old Trafford was disastrous. United under him was unimaginative, listless and directionless. He took what was then the champions of England and turned them into also-rans.
There were the ill-advised remarks to the media, the transfer window shambles that saw Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata recruited at overinflated fees and numerous rumours of players being unhappy with Moyes’ style of management. Rio Ferdinand in his autobiography #2sides was none too complimentary of Moyes’ managerial methods.
It all got a bit much for some United fans who hired a plane to fly the infamous ‘Wrong One – Moyes Out’ banner ahead of the home game against Aston Villa.
He was clearly the wrong man for the job. Johan Cruyff said that the appointment of Moyes by United bordered on ‘stupidness’, though he was quick to point out that the Scot is a very good coach.
The problem for Moyes at Old Trafford was that though he was United manager he never was truly in charge. Moyes was famously summoned by Sir Alex Ferguson and duly told that he would be taking over at Old Trafford. Moyes didn’t appear to have a choice or say in the matter, in reality how could he refuse? There was the Chosen One banner hanging in the stadium that in hindsight practically suggested that Moyes was only in charge of United because of Ferguson and not through any perceived merit. “Come on David Moyes, play like Fergie’s boys,” was a popular refrain sung from the stands but even though it was belted out in support it reinforced the notion that Manchester United was not Moyes’ club.
Moyes was never truly himself at Old Trafford. The step up from Everton to United was too much, he didn’t have the force of personality to impose himself and was always in the shadow of Ferguson.
Moyes’ failure at United will always be with him but maybe the experience has taught the Scot that he should be in charge of his own destiny.
Looking at the Premier League, the choice of clubs seem limited if Moyes really wants to take the step up to the next level.
Newcastle United under the capricious ownership of Mike Ashley is not worth the risk and Moyes should not aim to establish himself as a firefighter. Equally, Aston Villa under the current ownership doesn’t seem like the right fit and with the possible exception of West Ham United, none of the other clubs in the division seem to fit the bill.
Moyes, if he really is to test himself and re-establish his credentials should try and secure a job abroad. He noted the success that both Terry Venables and the late Sir Bobby Robson had coaching on the continent. With that in mind Moyes should target one of the major leagues in Europe to resurrect his career.
However, he cannot make the same mistakes as he made at United. Moyes must incorporate a number of the existing coaching staff at his new club if he does manage abroad. The Scot will need the local coaches to advise him on the football culture and demands of the league. It would be a folly to clear the entire backroom staff and bring in his own group, as he did at United, especially in a foreign league.
Moyes’ tenure at Everton was hailed as stable and successful but if we look at that time again it could be argued that he stayed too long on Merseyside. After a number of years, Moyes seemed to run out of ideas about how to take the club forward, which led to a feeling of stagnation and a lack of evolution.
To go back to United, Ferguson’s key to success was to change, evolve and renew the playing and coaching staff. The legendary Scot always kept up with the latest trends, was quick to embrace new tactics and never allowed football to leave him or his team behind.
Moyes may be best advised to have three to four year stints at a club, provided he’s successful, before moving to a new team or country. A sense of renewal and experiencing different football cultures and ideas may be what the Scot needs to better himself as a manager and allow himself the time to gain the tools to handle so-called big clubs.
Moreover, Moyes will need to think big and positive. At United he was his own worst enemy seemingly more concerned about not losing games rather than trying to win them. To win trophies and be truly successful Moyes needs to take risks. Again, maybe his long stint at Everton conditioned him to approach the game with a rigid ‘must not lose’ mindset – Moyes has got to loosen the shackles.
It has been rumored that Moyes could be offered the Inter Milan job, should the Italian club sack their current coach Walter Mazzarri. Intriguingly, Moyes and his agent (who happens to be his brother) will be attending Inter’s upcoming clash with Napoli as guests of the Milanese club.
If the position at Inter becomes available Moyes must do all he can to land the role. The Scot needs to be the master of his own destiny and if he can secure a position at an ambitious club in Europe on his own merit then that would be an encouraging start to the rehabilitation of his reputation.