Is Moyes’ Job Untouchable?

Thus far, despite glimpses of excellence in the Champions League, Moyes has been nothing short of an unmistakable disaster as Manchester United manager.

Statistics never lie and this year the stats on United’s nightmare season have been damning. If United are to be competing for the title year in year out like they have been for 20 years they have to perform well in big games – more often than not they did under Sir Alex. This year, United have taken an abysmal 7pts from 13 games vs the present top 9 and only have scored 1 goal (from a corner) v Chelsea, City, Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal combined. Those embarrassing numbers are more akin to teams scrapping to avoid relegation than reigning Premier League Champions.

David Moyes is breaking records like Roy Keane broke legs. Man United have never lost more than 9 games in a Premier League season – yet this year they’ve lost 10 games with 7 games still to go. Perhaps the stat most difficult for United fans to stomach is the fact that this season marked the first time United have lost to City and Liverpool both home and away in one season. Ouch.

The worldwide reaction to Moyes’ catastrophic first season exemplify his troubles. Last month, former Man United star and current PSG manager, Laurent Blanc was brutally honest and said: “Sacking Moyes wouldn’t be a mistake, keeping him would. Here in France he would have been sacked 3 times.” Suggesting if in his first season, he turned a Ligue 1 winning team into 7th place, mid-table fodder, he wouldn’t have even seen the season out and be axed amidst the horror season. Echoing that sentiment, former Chelsea boss Gianluca Vialli stated: “David Moyes, in Italy, would have been sacked three times now. This because in Italy, managers are judged simply by results.” The truth of the matter is if David Moyes performed like he has done, in Serie A he would have been relieved of his duties too.

Similarly to put another dagger in Moyes’ heart, earlier this month, former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon said David Moyes would be sacked if he was in charge of Real Madrid. He said it would be “unforgivable” to take “Champions” and a “European giant” outside of the Champions League places and perform with such mediocrity.

So the harsh reality is, Moyes is a very lucky man to still be at the helm at a top European club. Most top European clubs have the modern managerial model of short-term, interchanging managers dependent on success rather than choosing managers for the long-term.

The truth of the matter is, there will never be a manager that will emulate the longevity, loyalty and unrivalled success of Sir Alex Ferguson. Therefore if Man United want to adapt to the demands of modern football, I feel they have to conform to the modern managerial approach of short-term appointments with 2 or 3 year stints rather than try to get a manager to build a dynasty over a decade or two.

So the question on the lips of a growing number of United fans is why hasn’t Moyes been sacked already?

One possible reason for this is the money-hungry Glazers are reluctant to pay out Moyes’ six-year contract (if there are no clauses).

Perhaps the owners want to give Moyes a full season to see how things stand before they make a bold, decisive move at the end of the season.

Is it just because the Glazers and board feel pressured to sack Moyes and go against the traditions of Manchester United by sticking by a manager for the longer term.

I think the underlying reason why Moyes still has a job at Man United is because of Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton. Fergie is a very stubborn and defiant man and as a result he feels like it’s necessary to give Moyes time and an opportunity to build a team. Especially because he chose David Moyes, so it will be a massive ego hit for him to cut his losses and admit he made a mistake by choosing Moyes as his successor. Hence Fergie as an ambassador with great influence maybe using it to keep Moyes at the helm. Nevertheless, with a season littered with dire performances and poor results maybe Sir Alex is slowly being pushed to the limits of his patience and swallow his pride for the good of the Old Trafford faithful.

I feel Moyes must have clauses in his 6 year contract, as there must have been worst case scenarios / contingency plans in an unusually long modern-day contract. I think there could be a Top 4 / CL place minimum meaning if it wasn’t achieved – there are grounds for sacking i.e. only one year compensation would need to be paid. If there aren’t and the Glazers / Sir Alex back Moyes whole-heartedly then maybe a potential sacking is out of the question unless United, dare I say, sink to bottom half of the Premier League.

I fear that United could be on the end of another embarrassment in the Bayern Munich games. If that is the case and Man United stay 7th or sink to the unimaginable 8th / 9th place territory – Moyes could seriously be in trouble. After the season from Hell and if things get any worse we will truly see if Moyes’ Job is untouchable for the foreseeable future.

By Hesham Bilal-Hafiz (@hesham786)

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