Atrocious, disastrous, catastrophic….all these words barely do justice to describe Manchester United’s worst season ever in the Premier League. Man United have never finished lower than 3rd in Premier League history and that was with a squad of full of some of the biggest flops ever to play in the Top flight such as Eric Djemba-Djemba and Kleberson.
David Moyes has inherited a squad full of champions who won the league by a landslide 11 points in 2012-13, with quality in the ranks, in the shape of 2 time Golden Boot winner Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, ex-Bundesliga player of the Year Kagawa (an underutilised gem) and the rock at the back that is De Gea. Comparatively to the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons when United finished in their worst ever positions in PL history – the modern day squad is surprisingly superior. Hence Red Devils are rightly concerned that United are currently mid-table mediocrity because 6th / 7th place is very unfamiliar territory for a team who have bossed the Premier League.
They say ‘Rome was not built in a day’ but it seems like its been destroyed in a day. Indeed it is true that Sir Alex Ferguson built an empire, a dynasty of Manchester United dominance over 26 years but watching this season’s Premier League feels as though the air of indestructibility of United has been ruthlessly destroyed in the space of 9 months. The fear factor of playing Man United at Old Trafford has undoubtedly disintegrated with ‘The Theatre of Dreams’ seemingly transformed into a ‘Theatre of Nightmares’ for Moyes, the team and especially the millions of Reds around the world.
The Old Trafford faithful have painstakingly sat through games that has seen David Moyes obliterate records, which have made City and Liverpool fans giggle in mocking delight, illustrating these records were definitely not of the good kind. Everton won their first game at Old Trafford since 1992, Newcastle won at OT for the first time since 1972, United lost to West Brom at home for first time in since 1978 and lost three consecutive home games for the first time in over a decade – to name all but a few of them.
With 8 defeats already with 11 games left, Moyes is on track to equal and surpass the record of most defeats in a PL season in United’s Premier League history. Even worse, Moyes’ team are on track to have the unwanted joint title of ‘Worst defence of a Premier League title in Premier League history’ if they finished in 7th as only Blackburn in 1995/1996 finished outside the Top 3 (7th) after winning the tile in the previous season. So it’s fair to say Moyes’ first campaign in the league as Man United manager has been nothing short of calamitous.
Fans hoped for change (well not the City and Liverpool fans laughing at United’s expense) at the start of 2014. League form has only declined and United crashed unceremoniously out of both cup competitions: one in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup and one in a horrendous penalty shoot out to Sunderland in the Capital One Cup. Champions League was the competition United looked best in…..until 2 weeks ago, when Man United made things difficult for themselves with a dire away performance to Olympiakos and lost 2-0 in the first leg of the supposedly ‘easiest tie’.
Behind the Scenes, events off the pitch seem to be mounting more and more pressure on Moyes. Zaha, Chicharito and Ferdinand all have openly spoken out on social media and have published cryptic posts with hidden insults aimed at David Moyes. Rumours rampant that one of United’s star players, Robin Van Persie is looking for an Old Trafford exit – especially so because of his uncalled for comments belittling his team only a fortnight ago. Respected ESPN reporter Raphael Hongistein, according to his Old Trafford source “The Situation is a lot worse than has been reported. He has completely lost the dressing room. He has to go now.” If this is true Moyes is in serious trouble, because no matter what the faith the board members and owners have in David Moyes – if the players turn on the manager there is no way back.
Things are not looking good for Man United right now. Various polls on Man United fan sites on social media and Newspaper websites such as Daily Mail, Independent and Guardian have illustrated there are now more fans wanting ‘Moyes Out’ than Moyes to stay. In fact various Newspapers like the Independent have stated that Moyes has until the rest of the season to prove he is capable of managing Man United next season.
Sir Alex Ferguson may be a massive reason why Moyes will keep his job and remain Man United Manager for the foreseeable future due to his influence in the board. Or will he be safe because the owners don’t want to pay out his bumper contract?
Conversely if the fans and players collectively turn on Moyes, the pressure will be on the Glazers, who aren’t afraid to sack poorly performing managers as seen with their NFL franchise, to part company with David Moyes. Glazers are very money motivated owners, so will the pressure of losing more than £100 million from no Champions League football next season cause them to hit the panic button? Time will tell if David Moyes can survive the season from hell.
By Hesham Bilal-Hafiz (@hesham786)