David Moyes' Future at Manchester United Is a Question of Time

Chris Fleming@@Chris__FlemingCorrespondent IApril 1, 2014

As the first season of David Moyes’ six-year contract at Manchester United draws to an underwhelming, disappointing close, the chances of him seeing out the remaining five years continue to dwindle.

And it’s time that will be a deciding factor with regards to his future, since there are a number of reasons why it makes sense for United and Moyes to part company sooner rather than later. Indeed, the argument for keeping Moyes in charge is becoming thinner as the games go by.

For United, then, it’s a question of time. They can either look elsewhere for a proven winner to lead the club next season, or stick with a manager who’s taken the club from first to seventh in less than a calendar year.

Moyes Could Turn Things Around, But Not Quickly

Moyes may be able to turn things around at United, but it will take time. At the very least he will need to sign three or four players in the summer and spend next season trying to figure out what his best starting XI is.

Even then it’s questionable that Moyes will be able to secure a top-four finish.

When Sir Alex Ferguson knew that he was retiring, United were in a strong position to pick the right man to take over from one of the greatest of all time. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho were two names at the top of most fans’ wish list, but David Moyes most certainly was not.

And so, with the champions reduced to mediocrity and the aforementioned duo succeeding in their new jobs, United are faced with a paradox. If they act this summer then they may be able to secure a world-class manager with a proven record—Louis van Gaal and Jurgen Klopp spring to mind. But if they stand by Moyes and United are still struggling when 2015 rolls around, then they will have missed out on top-level managers who will take up new jobs in the summer.

For that reason, United would be better off moving for a proven manager before another team does.

United Can Learn From Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers

Kenny Dalglish, a Liverpool legend, was in charge at Anfield for just under 18 months when he was fired for failing to lead Liverpool higher than eighth in the Premier League. Brendan Rodgers took over and, despite inheriting an average squad, has Liverpool on the brink of a maiden Premier League title.

That is the effect a good manager has when lifting a squad above its level.

United’s team is not significantly inferior to Liverpool’s, not by any stretch of the imagination. Rodgers, a tactically astute man, just has his side playing excellent football, whereas Moyes seems unable to deliver the free-flowing style that a club of United’s stature demands against some of the league’s basement clubs.

And whilst many Moyes supporters have been quick to point out the parallels between the Scot and his Northern Irish counterpart—Rodgers struggled in his first season at Anfield, after all—it’s important to reaffirm that there is one crucial difference. Rodgers’ side showed promise last season, but Moyes’ side has progressively worsened in the current campaign.

It should serve as a poignant lesson for United. Liverpool sacked a club legend and hired a hungry, tactically astute manager who, by all accounts, is regarded as one of the best man-managers in the Premier League. They are reaping the rewards for that bold decision.

David Moyes is not a legend at United, so there should be no qualms about letting him go.

And this begs the question: What must Sir Alex Ferguson think right now? Not one year has passed since he lifted his 13th and final Premier League trophy, and yet, Liverpool have suddenly emerged as a title contender in United’s stead.

In his book My Autobiography, Ferguson discussed his rivalry with Liverpool at length. As healthy and respectful as that rivalry was, though, Ferguson revelled in the fact that he had surpassed Liverpool’s 18 league titles.

Speaking about Liverpool in general, per Andy Mitten of The National, he said: “Oh, no, not them. Anybody but them.” That is a sentiment shared by United fans. Such is the desperation not to see Steven Gerrard lift Liverpool’s first Premier League trophy that United fans are eager for Manchester City to oust Liverpool to the top spot.

It’s a sorry state of affairs for a club whose recent past has been defined by winning title races, not watching them.

Liverpool may not be back on their perch just yet, but they are hovering around it with intent. United need to act quickly to ensure that the Liver bird doesn’t sit proudly atop that perch in the coming seasons.

Is Time on David Moyes’ Side?

Sir Bobby Charlton’s recent comments suggest that Moyes will be given time. Per the BBC, Charlton said: “I'm absolutely certain that we picked the right man.”

The same has been echoed throughout the season by Ferguson and a number of ex-United players, who have all been quick to reinforce that Moyes needs time to turn things around.

But other than “he needs time,” there is no justifiable, rational argument as to why Moyes should be the manager of Manchester United. There has been no improvement in performances this season, United were humiliated at home by their two most bitter rivals in the space of a week and, ultimately, they have relinquished their title without putting up a fight.

One of those failures could be accounted for, but combined they are unforgiveable.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest achievement was his ability to fight off the challenge of those around him. In his later years, he reduced Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal to also-rans, watched on as Rafael Benitez ranted about so-called facts, outlasted Jose Mourinho and triumphed over Roberto Mancini to regain the Premier League title that was lost in such dramatic fashion.

That was his legacy, built over a period of 26 years, and it’s under threat in the first season after his departure.


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