Football’s biggest story of the last two weeks was Manchester United’s class-less sacking of David Moyes. Ryan Giggs since took over for the remaining few games of the Premier League season and got off to a good start with a 4-0 drubbing of lowly Norwich, before losing in spectacular fashion to rejuvenated Sunderland 1-0.
After the Norwich win, many voices in the media took this as a sure sign that Giggs should be given the job full time. Surely if these same people said Moyes should have been given time to build his own team at United, then Giggs should have to wait more than 90 or so minutes to earn it?
Let’s be honest, with no disrespect to Norwich, they get more than their fair share of hammerings from the top six teams. Speaking as a United fan, who has been as frustrated and disappointed during this season as anyone, I firmly believe United under Moyes still would have won that game by a couple of goals. Even if they had, not many would have given Moyes a fraction of the praise Giggs has gotten.
Seven days later United, and Giggs, crashed back down to earth with defeat to a plucky and determined Sunderland who all but secured their Premier League status with the well-deserved win. The Champions, (something many people have forgotten) were lacklustre, blunt in attack, and lacked the guile, panache, and swagger that we have become accustomed to seeing at the Old Trafford arena.
So I come back to my original question. Should Giggs get the job after one decent performance? If, for argument’s sake Giggs was Sir Alex Ferguson’s immediate successor, and results were the same as Moyes’, would Giggs have gotten the sack at the same stage? Of course we cannot be sure, but the answer is more than likely no. He has been at the club all his life, won countless honours and for these past achievement, he would be kept on, given every opportunity to turn it around and would probably never lose the fans.
Moyes was selected for his past achievements with Everton. He is without question a brilliant manager, but for a certain kind of club. The Evertons of the world; clubs who strive for fourth place. While I believe Giggs would get more time because of his past, the realisation of Moyes’ previous success’, or lack thereof got him his P45. When things weren’t going well many were quick to point out that Moyes hasn’t won a trophy. If Giggs gets the manager’s job full time, will the fact that, as a manager, he hasn’t won a trophy come into things if next year if United find themselves still languishing in the mid-table?
I know it’s impossible for Giggs to have won a trophy as manager as he hasn’t had a role of his own, and is technically still a squad player at United. Time after time, we see players at other clubs, go off and learn their trade, and then come back to the club where it all started, or finished, for them.
A perfect example of this is Atletico Madrid’s current coach, Diego Simeone. He played at the club for numerous years, retired, went to the Argentinian leagues, coached successfully for a couple of years in a tough division and returned to Madrid. Patience is a virtue, and Simeone now has the job he always wanted and with a Champions League Final took look forward to, and one hand on the La Liga title, it’s an example Giggs could certainly learn from.
Many United fans I’ve spoken to feel Giggs is the right man for the job now. I agree in part. In a few years, yes, most definitely, but just not now. Last year United preached about patience and long term plans. Ferguson even ordered the fans to back the new manager. Twelve months later, a poor season for the first time in about thirty years has seen Untied lose their cool, and some of their credibility.
What I feel needs to be done is for United introduce a proven manager. Louis Van Gaal, or whoever it may be, needs to spend wisely. Not necessarily big, because big doesn’t always mean value. If Sir Alex was able to appoint a manager of his own accord a year ago, surely he could have a word in the new Gaffer’s ear to get Giggs a spot on the backroom staff, to get him into the groove of management. Making Giggs permanent manager would be one knee jerk decision after another.
Or better yet, if Giggs is serious about the management game, he should end his illustrious playing career, maybe a season too late, and try to get a job somewhere in England’s lower tiers. He could then learn the trade while a man more immediately suitable to the ‘cereal winner’ mould United require takes the role this summer.
What United don’t need now is a man who the club will be afraid to get rid of. United could never have fired Ferguson even if things got as bad as they did under Moyes. It happened at Liverpool with Benitez, and could be argued that the same has happened at Arsenal with Wenger. Giggs would hold the fans’ affection, and the fans are extremely important to every club, especially a club like Manchester United.
Saturday’s defeat to Sunderland showed that the United we’ve seen this season was not just down to poor tactics of the part of David Moyes. He did his best with a squad that never really bought into his way of doing things. United simply weren’t themselves without Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm. Moyes made mistakes no doubt, but was hung out to dry by many, and supported until the end by few. He had an impossible task and, surprise surprise, he couldn’t accomplish it in one year. The United team may be lacking confidence as a result of his brief reign, but Giggs is not a managerial messiah. Not without experience at least, but maybe someday.
John Ivory, Pundit Arena.