The SIE Team got together to discuss the possible candidates to fill Sir Alex Ferguson’s shoes at Old Trafford.
Following the ground breaking news of Sir Alex Ferguson departure from Old Trafford, most United fans spent the day oscillating somewhere between overwhelming gratitude for the trophy filled years under Sir Alex and abject fear as to what comes A.F.T. (After Fergie Time).
Here at SIE, after our resident United fans stopped weeping, drinking and attempting to drunk dial Sir Alex (without obviously having his number) we put together a round table of football bloggers to assess the candidates looking to follow the unfollowable. And while David Moyes has by now been almost confirmed as United’s second manager of the past 25 years, the arguments are definitely still worth a read. Who amongst our writers was pro Moyes and why? Who would have preferred if things got a little special just off Sir Matt Busby Way? And was there anyone else in contention as far as the SIE bloggers was concerned?
Editor in chief, Richard Barrett teed us off with a few quick thoughts before the rest of us dove in;
For me, Moyes’ greatest attribute is undoubtedly his longevity. What he lacks in silverware, he more than makes up for in his consistency. Moyes, apart from a rare outburst, is also respectful to the media and rarely puts himself above the club. This is important. Manchester United is a club with great tradition and history, values that cannot be sacrificed with a misguided appointment. Also, one would assume that Moyes would have no problem spending a year learning from SAF (the two Scots have apparently had each others numbers for over ten years now), with Fergie using his role as a director to lend an ear to Moyes, something that Jose would presumably be against.
One thing about Mourinho is that he delivers trophies. Mourinho breeds success, simple as. However, he offers no longevity. This is a very important factor in determining who will replace SAF.
Secondly, Mourinho has fallen out with every club he has managed at, Chelsea, Inter, and currently Real Madrid. He has alienated himself from the Spanish media, fallen out with senior players (Ramos, Casillas) and dragged the club through the mud with his antics, e.g. poking Tito Vilanova in the eye. Manchester United is a proud club and these antics would not be tolerated.
Moyes is the natural candidate to follow Sir Alex Ferguson, if we are talking about his longevity and loyalty to a club. Personally, I don’t feel he is a manager of enough quality to step into the Manchester United job following Sir Alex Ferguson who is, without a doubt, the greatest manager to ever live.
I don’t think Moyes is capable of replacing Ferguson for one reason, he has never won a major trophy. Yes, he has done well with Everton with one of the smallest budgets, but at the end of the day, he has been there for 10 years and never won a trophy at a club the size of Everton which is poor, in my opinion.
The opposite of Moyes. He’s proven on the big stage and he’s a top class manager. His downside, his loyalty to clubs? The longest he stayed with a club is 3 years, when he was at Chelsea (whom I believe he will return to).
Mourinho might be a better option talent wise, but will Manchester United want someone who likes to move about a lot? Perhaps United will be the place where Mourinho “settles down” but I can’t see it.
I personally feel that neither of these two are who Man United should go for. I believe it will be Moyes that gets the job, but I don’t think he is capable of following in Sir Alex Ferguson’s footsteps. It will be interesting as we wait and see what might come from it.
All aboard Team Moyes from my point of view too. To be honest I don’t think the lack of trophies matter all that much on Moyes’s record. For example the only team outside of United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal who have won the FA cup since Moyes has been in the league were Portsmouth, and they will reside in League two next season.
Of much more consequence to me is his performance in the league. During the Premiership era, wages have proved an excellent prediction of league position over the long term. But Moyes’s Everton have been consistent outperformers. The latest data we have on player’s wages is the 2011/12 season and Everton were 10th in the league in terms of money spent yet finished 7th in the league. Not a massive outperformance but more meaningful when we consider the gaps to those above him.
For example to get into the top 5 in terms of wages spent in 2012, Everton would have had to double their spend, while the gap to Arsenal in fourth was greater than the gap to paying no wages at all.
And of course it wasn’t just in 2012 that Moyes was so impressive. Everton and Moyes have consistently outperformed their expected position in the league. Really, it is only possible to do that if you buy smartly, coach well and manage personalities well. Moyes has done all three. And that, much more than an empty trophy cabinet, is a mark of the quality of manager United are set to inherit.
Why do wages matter?
The simple rule in football is that the best players get paid the best wages (not necessarily that they command the biggest transfer fees), and Everton has never had the means to compete on that front. So what that means, is that if Moyes either has a transcendent player (Wayne Rooney) come through his youth system, or if he unearths a gem in the transfer market (Pienaar, Fellaini) then he only has a limited amount of time with the player at his disposal before the window closes and the player moves on to more money. Leaving Moyes to start again with new prospects and undervalued players he sources from around Europe.
In other words, the gap to achieve a higher level of success then what Moyes has so far done is simply impossible on a long term basis. To even achieve it in the short term you need an awful lot of luck with the players that come through your system, and the relative strength of the competition in your league.
Jurgen Klopp is likley about to find this out in the coming years too, if he remains at Dortmund and Dortmund remain so financially disadvantaged.
I think we all mostly agree on why Jose may not be the best fit for United. Mourinho, for all his success, has so far had the career of the hired gun, jumping from club to club bringing quick success but always leaving amidst a sea of growing discontent. He has shown no ability so far to build a club for the longer term.
From United’s point of view I think they understand that a lot of the commercial success of the club has been built upon such identifiable pillars as SAF and Giggs simply always being there. Taking on Mourinho would be a massive departure from the structure and humility of the club, and would surprise me massively.
But hay you never know, Jose may be mellowing as he grows older and be looking to settle down. At the very least he knows there aren’t too many top jobs available to him going forward, he’s burned a lot of bridges!
Fergie the Director?
The new role of Fergie is interesting to me too. If he’s actually going to be a relatively hands on director, then could we see United transition to the Director of Football/Head Coach system? If that were the case it might seem prudent to rule out both Jose and Moyes (who has run Everton top to bottom for the last number of years) and maybe properly consider some of the young pretenders. Maybe Klopp would be comfortable working in such a role, but if not your probably down to one of the internals such as Solskjaer.
Again this would be a big shock to me given the lack of experience of any of these types of candidate but maybe we shouldn’t rule it out either?
For me there are many reasons why it wouldn’t work for David Moyes at Manchester United. Firstly, a distinct lack of trophies at Everton highlights the main reason why he should not be given the job. 11 years with 0 trophies on his CV, is that really the standard of manager United should be looking to replace SAF? Where is the success? Moyes is a good manager, I’m not disputing that. However, his lack of silverware with the Toffee’s does not bode well for a club of United’s expectations. An established, successful manager would be able to go in to United and develop short and long term success. Moyes has hardly had enough of a glance on trophies, so I think the instant demand to keep filling the Old Trafford trophy cabinet is out of the Scot’s reach. A manager who has the correct credentials and mindset, knowing how huge the task at Manchester is to continue the dynasty would be ideal. Moyes does not strike me as the correct candidate for it.
Secondly. I hear a lot of praise for the Scot on the way he has built Everton on a tight budget. Undeniably, Moyes has made the most of what he has got and made some shrewd signings. But what intrigues me the most is the options who uses in his attack. Jelavic, the misfiring forward is suited for a more direct approach. The same can be said with Anichebe, both forwards are not the neatest of guys when the ball is on the ground. The other attacking option, versatile Maruoane Fellaini, is slightly better at it than his colleagues. But still, the point I am trying to make is that all three of his front men are route one style players. Would Manchester United have a forward line of target men? I strongly doubt it. A club of their stature will not settle for a lesser standard of football. I’m not dubbing Moyes as a long ball tactician, but I do question his decisions with strikers. Perhaps, it is where he has had to make do with less money than his rivals, but there is certainly more options available or just waiting to be unearthed. If he had more money at his disposal, Moyes may perhaps have more talented options lined up.
I think Jose would be a better candidate for the United job, but is still not the ideal replacement. Firstly, Mourinho is not in a club for the long term. He does not build a club, he builds a team. Plain and simple. The United players who maintain their place at the club would be facing the harsh reality of other players at other clubs. A manager who is there for a few seasons and moves on. The stability that so many would be use to is out of the equation if Mourinho takes charge. I also feel that the Glazer’s would be considering this potential move through as much as possible. ‘The Special One’s’ tactics that he implements are not in question, his managerial style is second to none. You’d have to go some to find a better and more gifted manager than him. But again, his stability comes into play. If United want to maintain their successful long streak for years to come, Mourinho is not the answer. During his tenure at previous club’s, success has been imminent. Ferguson is a role model to other manager’s on how to stay loyal by being successful, so Mourinho is not the best option in that respect. However, Mourinho is a more dimensional manager than Moyes is currently. He has been around the block. Winning the league in England, Portugal, Italy and Spain as well as other honors is an excellent achievement. A status he carries with him is that he is a winner. His controversial antics shows he really gets into the game, albeit a little to much. I don’t think Mourinho is the perfect replacement for SAF, nor do I think he will go there, I think he is Chelsea bound. However, for how long it could be, I feel United would benefit more under Mourinho’s guidance than they would Moyes.
So there you have it, we agreed to disagree. Maybe United’s board did too when sat around their own round table but regardless David Moyes appears to have won out.
There’s still so much to learn as the Fergie era is ushered to an end at Old Trafford but let’s leave all the other angles for another day. For now it’s congratulations to Fergie on his retirement, congratulations to David Moyes on his promotion and congratulations to all non-United fans on the light at the end of 27 years of dark tunnel.
Sport Is Everything. The SIE Team.