David Moyes and Manchester United Prove Community Shield Teaches Nothing

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterAugust 8, 2014

Manchester United's captain Nemanja Vidic, left, passes the trophy to manger David Moyes after their win against Wigan Athletic at the end of their English FA Community Shield soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

One year ago, David Moyes broke his silverware duck as Manchester United comfortably defeated Wigan Athletic 2-0 at Wembley to claim the Community Shield.

In the north London sunlight, the future looked bright for the new Old Trafford manager after his ascension to the hot seat following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

Two goals from Robin van Persie ensured the Premier League champions would see off the FA Cup winners in the traditional season curtain-raiser.

Jon Super/Associated Press

The former Everton boss was celebrating a trophy, albeit a minor one, after just one official match in charge of United. United captain Nemanja Vidic even shared the duty of lifting the Shield with his new manager.

Often described as a barometer for how the reigning champions are looking ahead of the new season, last year's Community Shield, ultimately, taught us nothing.

It might be a trophy on Moyes' curriculum vitae, but it meant nothing as the wheels soon fell off the wagon in his first season in charge.

In the Old Trafford line-up on Aug. 11, 2013, Tom Cleverley looked a lively presence in midfield, while winger Wilfried Zaha displayed promise on his first-team debut.

Both would soon see their United careers flailing after a hefty defeat in the Manchester derby in September precipitated a woeful campaign under Moyes.

Midfielder Cleverley became a target for the boo-boys in the stands, while Cardiff City beckoned for the former Crystal Palace winger, who appeared not to fit Moyes' template.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Wilfried Zaha of Manchester United and Stephen Crainey of Wigan Athletic tussle for the ball during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2013 in London, E
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The long absence of Van Persie from the team during Moyes' first season also altered the shape and form of the side that beat Wigan.

The problem with the Community Shield is that it no longer represents a relevance in the football calendar, and its presence beneath headlines on the Champions League play-off round draw underlines just how far it has fallen in terms of importance.

The season curtain-raiser was once a proud symbol for English football—the sole match of the weekend before the league began—but now resides somewhere along the lines of the Texaco Cup and the Sherpa Van Trophy. It doesn't really matter.

It is merely the poppadom ahead of the chicken vindaloo—an irrelevance. The game even takes place on the same weekend that the Football League opens its doors, with the majority of fans eyeing results elsewhere long before Arsenal and Manchester City shake hands at Wembley.

Gone are the days when Kevin Keegan and Billy Bremner slugged it out on the pitch for Liverpool and Leeds United respectively before seeing a red card each in 1974.

Arguably, only John Arne Riise's goal for Liverpool against Chelsea in 2006 represents a memorable moment over the past 20 years.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has even denied the world the one possible moment of interest—the debut of Frank Lampard—with the news that he will not play against Arsenal on Sunday.


The Football Association, understandably, is keen to maintain the values and traditions of football, and the history of a 106-year-old match will always add to the keen sense of history.

However, times change and the FA must look at revamping the opening match of the season. Moving it to other venues every season is one such idea, although the governing body would be eager to keep the match at Wembley as it recoups the outlay on the stadium rebuild.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 05: A general view of Villa Park prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Fulham at Villa Park on April 5, 2014 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Villa Park proved to be an excellent venue for the Community Shield in 2012 as Wembley was being used for the Olympic football tournament.

Perhaps a Premier League XI against a major European or world team would bring in greater interest? What self-respecting football fan would not be interested in seeing how the cream of the top flight handle a top-class team from across the globe?

Maybe even a Foreign XI from the English top flight could make up the opposition? It would at least allow for discussion on who should play.

The Community Shield is past its sell-by date, and it teaches us nothing about the forthcoming season. But don't tell David Moyes that.