15 Reasons for Manchester United Fans to Stay Positive Under David Moyes
Manchester United fans have been doing their best to stay positive about David Moyes. The match-going faithful have continued to sing his name, even when things have been going from bad to worse to let's-face-it-this-is-all-just-a-bit-sad.
This list is an interesting thought exercise. It would certainly have been quicker to come up with a list of 15 reasons why Moyes's long-term future at the club could be seen as being in severe doubt.
However, United are a club with a tradition of giving managers time to prove themselves. If we are to stand by David Moyes, then why don't we try and enjoy it whilst we do?
After all, you never know, he might still come good…
It Is Still Early Days
It feels like it hass been a long time. Losses extend the sense of the length of a season. But really, given the size of the step up that Moyes has made from Everton, his tenure at United has been the blink of an eye.
Whilst United's season has been disastrous, not all of that has been Moyes's fault. The mitigating factors have been documented at length elsewhere.
A run of better fortune may make a big difference, and perhaps the best of David Moyes is yet to come.
He will certainly be hoping that is the case.
Cynics may argue that Januzaj's obvious talents made it impossible for Moyes to ignore him, but the truth is that in recent years Sir Alex Ferguson has appeared reluctant to reward talented United youth product with a consistent run in the first team until they had proven themselves on loan elsewhere.
The departure of Paul Pogba was the nadir of this, with the club missing out on an enormous talent. This ESPN report on quotes from a Canal+ documentary suggests that Ferguson's reluctance to select Pogba for the first team was a significant reason for his departure.
The emergence of Ross Barkley at Everton since Moyes left does not bode all that well for United's less obviously world-beating youngsters, given that Moyes played Barkley only 11 times in all competitions last season, but Moyes has brought numerous youth players into the first team. Not least of all, Wayne Rooney.
If Moyes's trust in Januzaj is indicative of his approach, then at least United are less likely to find themselves repeating Pogba-gate.
He Works Incredibly Hard
Sir Alex was a famously hard worker. This goal.com article cites quotes Ryan Giggs gave to Inside United, saying of Ferguson, "he's always first in at the training ground and last to leave."
According to this interview in the Mirror with Assistant Manager Steve Round, Moyes shares his predecessor's profound work ethic.
Whilst results and playing style may not be favourable, no one can question how much he wants to succeed, and that he is clearly prepared to work for that.
He Signed Juan Mata
Juan Mata is the kind of player to set the hearts of United fans aflutter. He is an exciting, attacking talent, who has won almost all that world football has to offer but appears hungry for more.
Although performances against Stoke and Fulham may have raised fears about the way Moyes will deploy Mata, if he really was not interested in playing dynamic, attacking football, would he have spent so much money on a player with Mata's gifts?
He Knows There Is a Problem with Central Midfield
"If you asked me what I needed most, I would have said a central midfielder."
This quote, per Henry Winter in the Daily Telegraph, should be music to the ears of United fans.
It is certainly not the message Sir Alex transmitted in his last few seasons at the club.
Admittedly, Moyes has not yet been able to do very much about it, the signing of Marouane Fellaini having had a thoroughly underwhelming impact on United's biggest problem area, but at least he knows there's a problem.
He Has Done OK in Europe
David Moyes has yet to face a real test in Europe.
Whilst the Champions League group which United were handed looked reasonably tricky on paper, in reality only Shakhtar Donetsk gave United a proper game.
However, Moyes deserves some credit too. The performance against Bayer in Germany was United's best under him. United played with the shackles off in that game, with Shinji Kagawa excelling.
It was a performance built from an excellent shift in central midfield from Ryan Giggs and Phil Jones, something which is not replicable on a regular basis given Giggs's age and Jones's lack of experience in the centre of the park.
If better midfielder options are on their way, perhaps next season will be more “Bayer away” and less “Donestk away.”
His Handling of Wayne Rooney
Rumours, such as these from the Daily Telegraph, that Wayne Rooney may be on the verge of being given an enormously lucrative new contract might stick in the craw of United fans, who are concerned both about Rooney's commitment to United and the chances of him performing at his best for the duration of that contract.
However, there is little doubt that Moyes's staunch refusal to let Rooney leave for Chelsea in the summer has so far been to United's advantage.
Moyes took the iron-fist-in-the-velvet-glove approach with Rooney, as he sang the player’s praises at every opportunity, whilst being consistent in the message that he was not for sale. That Wayne Rooney remains a United player is down to this approach, and many will see that as a positive.
He Seems to Have a Decent Sense of Humour, and the Backing of Match-Going Reds
It is hard to imagine Sir Alex Ferguson posing for these photos on the website of Manchester United fan and songsmith, Pete Boyle.
Taken to promote the new singing section, Moyes's engagement with this process has some significance in terms of his connection to, and engagement with, match-going reds.
This is only appropriate, given just how vocal support for Moyes has been at games. Moyes's staunchest allies this season have been those singing his name in the stands.
He Has Begun the Process of Building a New Squad
So far there have been more outgoings than incomings in the David Moyes era.
It is clear that he has a "new broom" approach to the squad. He has got rid of Anderson, a player many United fans have been frustrated with for a long time. Moyes has spoken, on United's official website of a “rebuilding” process and given how poor performances have been, it is clear that is badly needed.
Sensible Use of the Loan System
Sending Wilfried Zaha on loan to Cardiff is a calculated gamble. The potential positives are pretty obvious—more first team football, and time developing under a manager who knows what it takes to make it at Manchester United. The potential negatives—Zaha feeling unwanted, and the fact that the first team has looked like they would benefit from some "X-Factor” on the flanks—will hopefully not outweigh the good.
In less high-profile fashion, Moyes has approved loan moves for many of United's promising youngsters, and hopefully will reap the rewards of those decisions in the years ahead.
He Is His Own Man
Whoever was going to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson had a huge job on their hands. As well as everything else that goes along with being Manchester United manager, on match days David Moyes has to walk past a statue of the man who had the job last. The dugout at Old Trafford sits opposite the "Sir Alex Ferguson Stand."
One of the fears around Moyes's appointment, so publicly chosen by Sir Alex, was that he would be overwhelmed by Ferguson's presence. However, from the initial decision to overhaul the back-room staff to the courting of Wayne Rooney, it is clear that, where Moyes has a different view to Sir Alex, he will do things his way.
Admittedly, there is no guarantee that this will lead to positive outcomes, but it speaks to a strength of character which may serve both he and the club well in the long run.
Sir Alex Ferguson Hand Picked Him
As with many of these points, the counter arguments also exist. There is a strong argument to suggest that letting Sir Alex pick his own successor was not necessarily a wise move. However, to stick with positives, who is there who knows better what it takes to be Manchester United manager than Fergie?
Admittedly performances on the pitch are making it look like a questionable decision, but when Sir Alex took the microphone on the Old Trafford pitch in May last year and implored United fans to "stand by [their] new manager" the recent run of poor performances may have been the sort of thing he had in mind.
If it was, then presumably he also believed Moyes would be able to weather the storm and come good in the end.
It Cannot Get Much Worse, in the Long Term
If Moyes does keep the job, this is likely to be his worst season in charge.
Whether he is capable of achieving success is uncertain, but it is unlikely he will ever preside over a United team which does this badly again.
If he does, there will not be a need to find reasons to be positive about Moyes's reign, as it will be over.
A Selection of Comedy Answers from the Good People of Twitter
At this point, I ran out of reasons. As I often do when I am stuck, I asked folks on twitter why they were positive about Moyes. In truth, there were not that many serious repsonses, but I did get some excellent comedy options.
@UtdRantcast he'll make it a bit easier for the next manager.— Nick Miller (@nrmiller0102) February 7, 2014
@UtdRantcast He looks to have kept us up.— pauliegunn (@PaulGunning1) February 7, 2014
@UtdRantcast I like his accent.— Matti (@stiuge) February 7, 2014
@UtdRantcast He wears waistcoats sometimes. That's alright.— Juan Matt-a (@BigRed_M) February 7, 2014
@UtdRantcast for being a good photo-bomber!— Parmjit Dadyal (@parm_dadyal) February 7, 2014
Because It Is Only Football
This might seem like a flippant point, but it is heartfelt.
The worst case scenario for fans is that the team we support is not very good.
Given that we have been endlessly spoiled over the last two decades, with trophy after trophy, perhaps it will do us all some good to see how the other half live.
It could be argued that I am clutching at straws at this point. As, sadly, is David Moyes.