In the 1986 season, Manchester United finished 11th on the table, its worst result since the 1973-74 season. In fact, between 1986 and 1990, the club finished 11th or worse in three of their four seasons.
Why is this relevant? Because in November of 1986, Sir Alex Ferguson made his debut as the manager of Manchester United. Can you imagine how different the club's history might be if impatience dictated Ferguson's firing because of his slow start as manager at the club?
It's a lesson Manchester United supporters would be wise to consider in regard to David Moyes and the slow start to this season by the Red Devils, as the team finds itself licking its wounds after losing to West Brom on Saturday, 2-1.
The club has now taken just three points from their last four Premier League matches, suddenly a shocking 12th on the table to open the season. And then there's this, from OptaJoe:
3 - Manchester United have lost three of their opening six league games for the first time since 1989-90. Stutter.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 28, 2013
And after a summer in which the team failed to add a true difference-maker—though Marouane Fellaini's fan club may disagree with that assertion—the early concerns about the beginning of the Moyes era, initially spoken of only in whispers or hushed tones, have become a dull roar emanating from Manchester.
Replacing a legend like Ferguson was always going to be a tall task for Moyes, even if he had started more strongly than this. Now, however, the club that expects to win the Premier League each and every season is starting to look like a side that will have a real battle on their hands just to finish in the top four.
Not that the early concerns are completely warranted. This is essentially the same side, plus Fellaini, that won the Premier League last season. There was always going to be an adjustment period for Moyes. And despite the club playing poorly, arguably the most important player, Wayne Rooney, has been superb.
But there are concerns nonetheless. Moyes doesn't seem to have any idea what to do with Shinji Kagawa. The midfield remains an area that needs to improved. The club looks vulnerable without Robin van Persie. And though he deserves patience, few think Moyes will ultimately be the stuff of legend like Ferguson.
Managers like Fergie don't grow on trees. Frankly, in today's version of football, when managers are sacked at an increasingly faster rate, there might never be another Fergie again.
Nonetheless, Moyes deserves some patience. His track record at Everton suggests he has earned that much respect. He needs to be given time to figure things out.
Remember, after Fergie's brutal start, United went on to win 13 league titles. Moyes probably won't ever live up to those lofty standards, but the club's own history suggests against a knee-jerk reaction in the early going.