This weekend we welcome Manchester United to SJP and having watched David Moyes spend all season dismantling Alex Ferguson’s legacy, The Mag asks: Will this be the week that patience finally runs out?
Who Manages Them:
It must be difficult taking over from a popular manager when you have no track record of success, were not a favourite for the job and have no previous relationship with the club and fans who immediately speculate on the motives for your employment.
You punt an established and experienced backroom staff, struggle to sign players because the Chief Executive leaves, struggle to get the profit-driven owners to release the purse-strings due to a reluctance to break the plan to manage the club debt they have partly inherited, partly created.
The season starts and the team are inconsistent, loses games they should win, loses home games to teams you could be demolishing, the attacking football the supporters relish is becoming hard to play, once prolific strikers misfire so you become more defensive and cautious.
You get knocked out of the cups at home by teams you should beat, set-pieces previously relied on to relieve pressure are now a joke, the players start to look to leave. Your press conferences become difficult because you lack the credibility to drive the subject with the media and the personality to engage with the fans. They start to ask questions of your tenure.
Your attitude now seems smug or flippant and the support of the increasingly less popular owners increases the frustration on the terraces. You lose 3-0 at home to your local rivals in the derby, worse you are completely outplayed and outfought, worse they do the double over you and completely deserve it. You start to look dejected, desperate and vulnerable and your behaviour becomes erratic, your excuses unjustifiable.
But enough about Alan Pardew, what about David Moyes? Well, he’s a winner alright. He’s won the second division title with Preston.
Who Have They Signed?
The Red Devils’ muddled transfer policy this season has gained them two number 10s who can’t really play anywhere else and then they gave a new big money contract to the number 10 they had, who is better than either of the number 10’s they bought.
Summer deadline day desperation saw MarouaneFellaini signed from Everton for £27.5million, a little expensive given his lack of quality, the only thing memorable about Fellaini is his haircut. He struggled early on at Everton after a £15million transfer from Standard Liege until he replaced Tim Cahill behind the main striker, his aerial ability gained him praise for being a goalscoring midfielder, rather than one who played deeper and was constantly caught out of position and one who often made up for his lack of positional sense with poor tackles and needless bookings. He’s being found out at Manyoo for the same reason, he struggled at Everton in the position he currently occupies for Manyoo and as a number 10 he encourages the long ball, which doesn’t suit the Reds’ style.
JuanMata is nothing like Fellaini, a January £37million number 10 with talent and vision but lacks the pace, versatility and strength of a number 10 like Hazard or Ozil, something Jose Mourinho spotted at Chelsea.
Both Mata and Fellaini are different to Rooney, who is almost the complete number 10, he should really be called‘Beardsley’ and David Moyes obviously agrees, Rooney having recently signed a new multi-million pound to contract to stay at Old Trafford.
All three should play today but only Moyes will know where and how. Moving Rooney from number 10 to accommodate Fellaini or Mata is like asking Alvin and the Chipmunks to sing Try A Little Tenderness because Otis Redding is putting the bins out.
Who have We Seen Before:
Those season ticket holders who have taken up Gateshead FC’s offer of reduced entry price to Gateshead home games will have seen their mascot, Rooney the Goat.
Rooney the Goat has nothing to do with Wayne Rooney of course, that comparison would be unfair on the goat, though the scouse knuckle-dragging has been has been called many derogatory things in his time.
Last season before the Champions League Real Madrid v Manchester United game, Spanish newspaper Marca described him as a “freckled demon” and “player and hooligan all rolled into one.” Neither of which are anywhere near as bad as Mr Motivator David Moyes sayin,g “Overall, my thought on Wayne is that if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie we are going to need him.”
A Special Mention For:
Team England and their World Cup campaign featuring;
Danny Wellbeck, the third choice striker for the 7th placed club in the Premier League,
Tom Cleverley, who would be lucky to get on our bench and
Chris Smalling, 4th choice centre back for a team who has conceded one less goal than Palace this season. It’ll be an interesting reflection on the quality of English players in the Premier League if Manyoo’s reserves get to go to the World Cup; like Taylor, Gosling and Sammy getting on the plane to Brazil.
How Will They Do This Season:
When David Moyes was given the Manchester United job in May he could have said: Hi I’m Troy McLure and you might have seen me in films like ‘Last Year I Finished 6th’ and the sequel ‘This Year I’m Going to Finish 6th Again’.
In employing a manager who is used to taking a club to just outside the European positions in the Premier League and has a decidedly dodgy track record for spending money, it seems odd that many of those associated with the Red Devils can’t see why they are currently 7th this season. That is Moyes’ level.
Are We Going To Win:
With Manchester United’s attention focussed on Bayern Munich, with Van Persie missing and results inconsistent, you would think we stand a good chance of beating them.
However, it is fair to say we have issues of our own which need to be overcome if we are to get anything out of the game, issues primarily centred on trying and scoring.
If patience is one of seven Christian virtues then we are the virtuous. Let’s hope our patience is rewarded today and the Red Devils are sent back to hell.