It's difficult not to feel sorry for David Moyes at the moment. Whatever he does, it seems, is ridiculed by all and sundry, the results posted in his first season at Manchester United seemingly rendering any of his words or actions unworthy of being taken seriously.
The latest example of this is the "open letter" sent to Manchester United season ticket holders, presumably in an attempt to persuade them to renew.
In it, Moyes wrote, as reported by the Guardian:
While I knew that this job would be a challenge when I took it on, the difficult season we have experienced was not something that I envisaged, which I am sure is the case as well for you supporters – and my players, staff and I are desperate to compensate for that.
You are accustomed to seeing a successful Manchester United and the backing you have given the players and me throughout the season has been incredible. Away from home the travelling fans have remained the best in the country while at Old Trafford your unwavering faith has been noticeable and hugely welcomed.
Supporting your team when they are winning is easy but much harder when things are not going as well, and the loyalty you have shown us has been magnificent.
This is a version of the letter that most managers send to their fans when it comes to renewing season tickets, and the contents of these letters are rarely ever deemed worthy of public record.
However, on this occasion his words were at the top of most football websites on Friday, and a quick search on Twitter suggests that his words have not, shall we say, been universally welcomed.
It was Roy Carroll, former United goalkeeper and Champions League opponent for Olympiakos, who seemed to sum up how things were going wrong at United when he offered his withering assessment of the team he faced.
He was quoted by Sky Sports as saying:
We watched a lot of Premier League games this season and knew United had not been performing. On the night when I was watching it live from the stands, I've never seen a Manchester United team like it.
They've got good players but they had no hunger, no fight in the team so it was a shock in that way but not a shock the way we played. The goals we got were well deserved.
At the end of the day you can be a good player but you have to give 100 per cent and give everything.
For me Manchester United didn't give that and looked like they had no hunger and fight for the game.
Of course, the reason for this opprobrium lies in results, and quite obviously Manchester United's have been poor this season. According to several reports, such as this one by Ian Herbert in the Independent, Moyes has the remaining 12 games of the season to save his job.
Results in the 11 league games and one Champions League clash they have left will determine whether Moyes retains the faith of the United board enough to remain at the club next season, starting with the trip to West Brom on Saturday.
The sight of the Baggies, in terrible form and slipping down the table, might, for most, suggest some welcome respite, but even they might bring back bad memories, in the shape of United's early-season defeat at their hands at Old Trafford.
Moyes clearly needs results, and very quickly, and while the chances of United taking anything tangible from this season are slim, a strong finish to the season may at least buy Moyes the time he needs to overhaul his squad in the summer.
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