Why David Moyes Is a Risk Worth Taking for Manchester United

Sam PilgerContributing Football WriterMay 14, 2013

David Moyes bids farewell to Goodison Park on Sunday.
David Moyes bids farewell to Goodison Park on Sunday.Paul Thomas/Getty Images

At first I was distinctly underwhelmed by the appointment of David Moyes as the new Manchester United manager. 

I had always assumed Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor would have actually have won something major in football. 

In 11 years at Everton David Moyes has won nothing, and his greatest tangible achievement remains winning the League One title with Preston North End in 2000.  

I had also assumed the new United manager would have experience of managing the biggest names in football. 

Does Marouane Fellaini really count? 

And above all, I thought the new manager would arrive at Old Trafford with a long and distinguished record of managing in the Champions League. 

David Moyes has never been beyond the preliminary round of the Champions League where his record stands at P2 L2. 

And then it got worse with the discovery that in 45 visits to Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, David Moyes has never won a game. Not one single victory. 

That’s a big enough sample to rule out bad luck. 

The Premier League title is won away from home in those big games, as United proved this season with wins at both Manchester City and Chelsea, so that is a concern. 

So Moyes is a risk, but on reflection, he is a risk worth taking. 

Moyes brings with him 11 years of experience in the Premier League, and while there have been no trophies, he has achieved great things at Goodison Park, regularly finishing in the top eight with an average net transfer spend of just £800,000 each season. 

He will also bring with him stability, there will be no shocks, no agitating for another move or to be loved more. It is expected he will slip in to Old Trafford and continue building on Ferguson’s work. 

Manchester United see him as a younger Ferguson, sharing the same work ethic, competitive spirit, all consuming approach and inherent belief in young players. 

He crucially comes with Sir Alex Ferguson’s recommendation. And as he has proven over the last 26 years, Ferguson is a good judge of character, and he will have thought long and hard about who he wanted to protect and advance his legacy. 

Moyes will be his own man, but the continued presence of Ferguson at Old Trafford will help him. He was the best manager, and now he can be the best mentor as well. 

It is also worth looking at the alternatives to Moyes.  

The most obvious one is Jose Mourinho. He was very tempting. He would bring with him everything Moyes lacks; a groaning list of trophies, management of the biggest names in modern football, and Champions League experience in winning it twice in 2004 and 2010. 

But he would also bring with him a lot of Louis Vuitton baggage; a divisive nature, a failure to bring through youth, an inability to look beyond the first team and nurture the roots of the club, and a record of never staying anywhere too long. 

Beyond Pep Guardiola, who hasn’t even started at Bayern Munich yet, there really were few alternatives to Moyes. 

The short list was just that, short. 

In his speech to the Old Trafford crowd on Sunday, Ferguson said the United fans should stand by their new manager.  

It was an acknowledgement that success is never guaranteed, and there will be challenges for Moyes to overcome, but if United stand by him like they stood by Ferguson they should be rewarded.

David Moyes could yet proved to be Ferguson’s greatest signing.