Manchester United must sack David Moyes at the end of the season
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David Moyes does not have the managerial capacity to lead Manchester United to sustained and continuous success, which is what should be expected at a club of this size. Instead of settling for mediocrity under Moyes the club should be pushing for excellence under a manager and staff who have previous experience of overseeing success. United holds massive significance for hundreds of millions of fans worldwide. This is not about being a plastic fan, it is a recognition of the fact that the club deserves better leadership than Moyes is able to offer.
Reasons for Moyes' departure:
- Lack of winning experience - Moyes has never won a trophy during his managerial career (presuming we discount the Community Shield, which he attributed to Fergie and which came against a weakened Wigan team following their relegation to the Championship).
- Lack of experience in managing elite players - The fact he's never had the benefit of a squad containing multiple top-class footballers means he doesn't know how to properly handle them, keep them happy and motivated or get the best out of them. It is a big ask to expect a set of players who've won practically everything in top-level football to respect a manager who's won nothing.
- Lack of experience in managing expectation - Having been at Everton for 11 years, during which time he was always said to have 'over-achieved' (secured mid-table finishes) on a minimal budget, Moyes has absolutely no knowledge of dealing with the pressure of expectation that comes with the United job - and it is showing.
- The influence of Moyes' successor at Everton - As previously mentioned, Moyes was said to have consistently over-achieved at Everton. Since taking over Martinez has fitted in seamlessly, and looks increasingly likely to equal Moyes' best ever Premier League finish at his forst attempt. With Everton's victory against Arsenal - their sixth win in a row in the league - they equalled Moyes' best ever run in the league. Again, I repeat that Martinez has managed this in his first season in charge, as Everton have come out from the umbrella of stability that Moyes provided. As Martinez's Everton look to push on, United under Moyes have taken a huge step back to the kind of position he occupied with his former club for so many years.
- Archaic tactics - His inability to alter the tactics both during and between games has cost us dear this season. After the Fulham game Rene Muelensteen labelled our tactics as "straightforward"; Fulham defender Dan Burn, commenting on the same match, accused the side of playing "Conference football". Often playing the rigid, negative 4-4-2 formation Moyes employs, the team has shown no sign of improvement in the nine months of his tenure. Having toyed with the idea of a 4-2-3-1 to incorporate recent signings into the team more effectively, the team is still unable to find any level of cohesion.
- Poor coaching staff - Our coaching ranks under Sir Alex included Meulensteen, as well as Mike Phelan and Eric Steele. Between them they had circa 25 years of top-level coaching experience and an instilled knowledge of how to prepare a team to win matches and trophies. Moyes' decision to remove them is made worse only by the quality of their replacements: Phil Neville (never a skilful or unique player during his career, no previous coaching experience apart from his involvement in the England U21 setup, which was an abject failure as the team lost 3 consecutive games to exit the tournament at the first hurdle), Steve Round (a part of the Newcastle coaching staff in the year that the club got relegated from the Premier League, no coaching experience at a top-level club), Ryan Giggs (a quality player - of that there is no doubt - but still hugely unqualified as a coach), and Moyes himself (a negative tactician who promotes excessive fitness methods over skill and finesse training with the ball). One has to question whether these men are capable of getting the best out of - and improving - elite players, and on current viewing it would appear that the answer would be that they are not.
- Poor handling of the media - Moyes' handling of the media has been dreadful since he took over the reins at Old Trafford. He has a limited and frankly boring approach which mirrors the team's playing style out on the pitch. His insistence on blaming "bad luck", assuring the fans that the team is "trying hard" and his repetitive use of the phrase "I thought we played well today" (whether the team has won, drawn or lost) reflects his lack of ambition for the club. Manchester United should not be viewing draws and defeats with such acceptance, especially considering some of the dismal performances we've seen this season. Additionally we should be relying on skill, flair and attacking prowess to win us games rather than bemoaning a lack of luck.
- Transfer business - The desperate attempts to sign top quality players last summer proved ultimately futile. Instead we brought in Marouane Fellaini (for £27.5m, £4m over his release clause, which the club failed to activate) to play as a defensive midfielder. Moyes had worked with him for several years at Everton and so presumably knew the extent of his ability in that position and believed he could occupy it to the standard expected at Manchester United. Nonetheless, he has looked entirely uncomfortable and on the basis of his performances thus far (especially against top teams) seems unsuited to a club of United's stature. The signing of Juan Mata is an exciting one, but the fact remains that Wayne Rooney is likely to play in a central role which means Mata is pushed out wide, away from his favoured - and most effective - central position. Whilst Mata's delivery is excellent, he lacks the pace and physique of a natural winger so whilst Moyes persists with the 4-4-2 formtion we are unlikely to get anywhere near the best out of him. Having spent £64.5m so far with no visible improvement in team performance, we should neither trust Moyes with the club's money in future transfer windows nor trust that he and his staff have the ability to get the best out of any players they may bring in.
- Breaking records (and not in a good way) - Moyes has overseen the demise of United as a bogey team for so many opposition clubs in his short tenure - long-standing records against Everton, Newcastle, Swansea, West Brom, most recently Olympiacos (and certainly several others who I can't bring to mind) have fallen. The fear factor which the club has built up over more than two decades has crumbled in a matter of months.
- Worst Record against the top 6 - As Everton manager Moyes was never renowned for his ability to beat top sides. This trait looks set to continue while he remains manager of Manchester United - under his guidance United have managed just 6 points from a possible 30 (at the time of writing) against the current top 6 clubs this season. Matches against top sides in the league are pivotal in gaining an advantage over rivals - both in terms of points but also perhaps more importantly in terms of mentality. The recent match against Liverpool is reflective of how far the club has regressed during Moyes' short tenure - it is widely agreed that Liverpool failed to perform to their full capacity and yet the reality is that they dominated the game and won extremely comfortably. With United unable to beat these teams, it seems unlikely the club will experience success under Moyes.
- Further records - Against the top 3 teams in the Premier League this season United's record is P6 - W0, D1, L5 (1 point from a possible 18 against those teams who up until last season were considered to be our rivals). Against the top 9 teams in the league our record is P15 - W2, D4, L9 (10 points from a possible 45 against many teams that up until last season we would have been comfortable against and confident of beating). The fact is that under Moyes we have been incapable of competing against any team we come up against who displays any sort of confidence or puts us under pressure. 10 points from 45 in this department is completely unacceptable - we are barely worthy of our top 9 status with a record like that - the only reason we've retained it is that we've managed not to slip up too heavily against teams in the bottom half of the table. This is nothing to celebrate - David Moyes is a mid-table manager and he's immediately dragged the club down to his level.
- Lack of distinct philosophy/direction - David Moyes lacks a clear footballing philosophy, and often sets the team up to play in a rigid and negative manner rather than with attacking fluidity. There doesn't seem to have been any improvement in performances or results since he took over, which suggests that whatever system he has implemented at the club is ultimately ineffective. With this in mind it is hard to support his future management of the club.
- Player commitment and passion - In the Champions League match against Olympiacos the lack of confidence, passion and desire for victory was evident for all to see. The game was heralded by many as the worst in the club's history and is indicative that the players are not inspired or motivated by Moyes, with clear indications that some lack the belief that he has what it takes to lead the club and get the best out of the players.
- Allowing the team to pick itself/Moyes' lack of confidence in his own ability - In the loss against Newcastle earlier in the season Moyes suggested he would have been criticised for bringing off Robin van Persie: "I was due to take him off after 60 minutes, but if I had people would have said 'what are you doing?'". He is supposed to be the manager of Manchester United and yet he is often incapable of making his own decisions in fear of the criticism it may bring. As a manager he is responsible for making these difficult or questionable decisions and standing by his reasoning for doing so. Further to this point, one decision he should currently be making is to rest van Persie given his distinct lack of form and lack of cohesion with his fellow attacking players. Everyone knows what a good player van Perse is, but it is evident for all to see that Moyes' current attacking setup is not working. In continuing to select van Persie he is allowing the team to pick itself - playing him on merit rather than on current form - and shying away from the big decisions which he is expected to make.
There is no guarantee that United have reached the bottom under David Moyes. In 8 months since he took over the club there has been no noticeable improvement, with some recent performances suggesting that the club is regressing under his management rather than moving forward. Given this lack of progression it is important to question how much longer we want to give him when there is very little basis of any sort to suggest that he has what it takes to turn the club around and to become a successful manager. There is every likelihood that the team may look better under him next year if we spend heavily on player acquisition during the summer - it would be worrying if any other eventuality occurred. The more pertinent question is whether another manager with a greater amount of top level experience could bring a higher and more sustained level of success to the club. I would argue that the answer is undoubtedly yes. If you agree with me please sign this petition and share it with people who share our views.
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