José Mourinho was never a smart choice to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson, the Scot who departed Old Trafford as Manchester United manager for the final time on Sunday. Mourinho may be the biggest managerial name in world football, Sir Alex aside, but contrary to popular opinion would never have been a good fit in Manchester – the Portuguese would have significantly clashed with the system set in place by Ferguson over two decades.
Built and moulded in the outgoing manager’s image, United’s top-down structure would have inhibited Mourinho. One needs only to look at examples from two of Mourinho’s old flames – Chelsea and Inter – for examples of how the system can limit a coach’s success. Mourinho achieved great things in west London and Milan by creating a coaching set up to his exacting specifications. Those managers who followed the 50-year-old to Inter anad Chelsea crashed and burned, haunted by Mourinho’s spectre.
There will be a presence at Old Trafford too of course. Mourinho has proven to be an outstanding manager over the past decade, but Ferguson is simply greater. Ferguson’s legacy, especially with the former Aberdeen manager remaining at the club in an ambassadorial role, would have doomed Mourinho to the same fate as his successors.
This may not be true of David Moyes, whose lack of ego means that he is more willing to work with the system in place. If anything the Scot may deal with Ferguson’s heritage better than Mourinho. Arriving from a smaller, less sophisticated club, Moyes is already familiar with working within the confines set by others, financial or otherwise.
Meanwhile, Moyes’ limitations should be no barrier to future success. True, the 50-year-old’s European experience is limited, but that is not as concerning as it may first appear. After all, United should be too good and experienced not to qualify from Champions League group stages next season, whomever the coach.
United’s 2011/12 European campaign was a disaster, and Manchester City, with arguably a better squad, failed to qualify beyond the group stage two years in the row. Yet, United’s players are well seasoned in Europe, unlike the Blues.
Beyond the group stage matches fall victim to the vagaries of chance more than most, which has haunted Ferguson over the years. Paul Scholes’ goal against Porto in 2004 springs to mind, incongruously ruled offside in the game against Porto that made Mourinho’s career.
Certainly, a tactician of Mourinho’s quality can prove the edge in key matches, but it may behoove United supporters not to write off Moyes too quickly. After all, caution is key in European matches – a trait in which the Scot is well-versed.
Moreover, it is highly advantageous that Moyes has been managing in the Premier League for more than a decade. Europe holds the glamour, but domestic superiority is always United’s priority. Not least because the financial rewards are now greater than in the Champions League. Moyes knows how to navigate difficult domestic ties; one of his main rivals for the top job, Jürgen Klopp, doesn’t.
And if Moyes’ tactical approach is cautious, so too is United’s executive branch. In 1986 United’s board could afford to gamble on Sir Alex taking to life in England. This is no longer the case. With millions of fans worldwide, and more than £300 million in debt, the club must continue to be successful to maintain its current station in world football. The club could not have appointed a coach with limited Premier League experience.
Ferguson, whether by design or disposition – his diligence and desire for control are well documented – is a manager in its truest sense. The 71-year-old secured a hand in everything from the first team to the Megastore. Over the years Fergie has delegated some of responsibilities, but has always remained United’s ‘manager.’
This system is a British tradition. Meanwhile, continental clubs have long abandoned the practice of an omnipotent head, stripping managers of all duties bar first team training and matches. It would have been foolish at this stage to bring in a new coach from continental Europe with a retinue and little understanding of the United way. Moyes probably won’t fulfil all of Ferguson’s extensive responsibilities, but he’ll be receptive to doing most.
In this sense Ferguson’s retirement is an opportunity for the club too. There may never again be a true manager running United in Sir Alex’ mould, partly because the club has become more complex, but mostly because managers are simply being trained to be ‘head coaches.’
But the club also needs prepare for the future. United will have to adapt by gently introducing more people into the back room. This may inevitably culminate in the club hiring a director of football down the line. After all, the benefits of specialisation and division of labour had long been obvious before Adam Smith’s pin factory.
Part of Ferguson’s genius lies in his adaptability – the Scot survived 26 years in his job because he continued to adjust. Moyes will not last that long, because he is already 50. But as football evolves there is no guarantee that Moyes will keep up as well as Ferguson has previously done.
Conceivably United will have to hire Moyes’ replacement within the next decade. Without a continental style system place, the club will find very limited room to manoeuvre vis-à-vis hiring the new man.
For now though, United has appointed a manager very much in Ferguson’s hue.
51 thoughts on “Moyes the man to evolve Ferguson’s legacy”
I predict this article doesn’t hit 2 pages.
Jay Shon – proof that a bell end can type
Nice article and I fully agree. I didn’t think Moyes would be available though; the club would have been in trouble if that were the case. I cannot see any other suitable replacement.
I agree with you in regard to Mourinho being completely unsuited to becoming the manager at Manchester United, but my reasons have more to do with his ego and his utter lack of sportsmanship or class. If/when he returns to Cheatski, he will find the perfect captain to embody his dirty, cheating, win at any cost philosophy waiting for him in the person of David Louise.
Wither TheWayneBoy ?
Sorting out this mess is a big test for TheSuccessor.
I’m on the fence on this matter. We don’t have all the evidence so it’s too soon to tell what’s actually happening. It seems that there are several not-contradictory scenarios:
First, TheWayneBoy/SAF just loathe each other – reading ‘body language’ at the awards ceremony would seem to indicate that’s the case.
Second, TheWayneBoy wants a fixed role that he can settle into for the next nine years.
Third, TheWayneBoy is just pissed at having his nose pushed out of joint by the heroics of RVP.
Fourth, TheWayneBoy wants to move away from the fish-bowl in M/C.
Of course, there are other possibilities that may (or may not) be likely – such as, Rooney/SAF friction caused the Glazers to intervene and SAF quit in protest!
In any event, SAF’s departure and TheSuccessor’s arrival mean that the forthcoming discussions between the Moyes and Rooney will probably be “frank” – each guy will tell the other what he wants/needs and then matters can move on from there. For those of us on the outside looking-in, it’s just too-soon-to-tell.
I’m hopeful that a new manager will create a fresh scenario – one that has TheWayneBoy moving into TheScholesRole. FWIW, Rooney is just too good to be cast aside. If that “fresh scenario” is on the cards then it creates not only an in-house solution to the conundrum of up-grading the midfield but also interesting knock-on implications for Chicharito/DannyTheLad/KagawaBunga. If David Moyes can bring this off then he is truly TheMoyessiah.
// TheMoyessiah //
Seriously? What is actually wrong with you? You’re a cunt mate. Fin.
He’s right though… this twat is just doing it on purpose now!
“The Moyessiah”???… fuck off!
muhahaha you must admit that it has a certain “special” ring to it.
He and Herbie could be the greatest WUM/spastic double act since Rod Hull and Emu
Pikey McScum @ 10:03: “since Rod Hull and Emu”
who dat ?
One’s a bloke, the other has the bloke’s hand up his arse
Like I say – you and Herbie
didnt know mourinho is 50
he looks fucking great for it tbf
moyes is also 50…
Bill Roache is 81.
Sure he’s only a pup compared to you
Pikey McScum @ 10:40: “One’s a bloke, the other has the bloke’s hand up his arse”
Keep your hands to yourself. But it does explain why your comment smell like shit.
SAF said again today that Rooney has handed in a written transfer request, so get over it. If Moyes can change his mind, then so be it. Rooney is a striker and he does not want to be used in a midfield role or used as some super sub.
The clubs that are looking to buy him have already guaranteed him that he will play in the starting team as striker and thats his reason for wanting to leave. Its not about the money. Rooney is the number one striker for England’s world cup team so play him as striker or don’t play him at all. Thats the way Rooney looks at it. Moyes needs to guarantee Rooney that he will partner Van Persie up front or Rooney will move on.
Thanks for the info Mike what would we do without you.
Robbo you degenerate bastard..how are thee?
Coach Herbie @ 5:13: “Rooney is a striker and he does not want to be used in a midfield role or used as some super sub.
The clubs that are looking to buy him have already guaranteed him that he will play in the starting team as striker and thats his reason for wanting to leave.”
If that’s the case then he’s as good as gone. I can’t see TheWayneBoy taking playing-time away from KagawaBunga/Chicharito/DannyTheLad in the forward roles. I reckon that if he stays it will be because Moyes has convinced him that he is the natural successor for TheScholesRole.
Every time someone posts..this cunt types a new load of bollocks
Call it what you like. I’m calling it as it is.
Too many people here defend ignorance, they don’t checkout the facts!
i reckon denton is paddy crerand
Easy, big fella. Cap’s not talking about you.
We have to defend ignorance. Sir Alex lies to us, and the Glazers don’t talk to us at all, so ignorance is all we have. Now, if we just knew someone on the inside…
uncleknobheadffs @ 2:00: “i reckon denton is paddy crerand”
We BOTH resent that !
I reckon he was starved of oxygen at birth
Why don’t you check out the facts on this forum Herbie… you might learn summat…
We… both… Wait are you sat with Paddy while you post!?
Fucked or Bionic broke my little finger Friday bastards screwed it back together this morning and now it hurts like it would being strapped in dentists stool listening uncle Mikes/Herbies drivel other than that im reet and yourself.
Fuck me both Mike(Herbie)Phelan and Paddy(Denton)Crerand on Rant aren’t we honoured.
Hey Cuntstain, what’s up??
Is that like a stain ON the cunt?
Or is it a stain that the cunt has made???
By the way… is this in the same class as “Fucktard”??
I alway liked “fucktard”… gives me wood… I imagine a hole in the crotch of a leotard!
“Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”
It’s actually the stain left by the cunt, or as you call him,Pikey.
Fucktard is quality tbf
Try reading above you dozy leek eating welsh twat
Can’t beat cockbreath tbf.
Surprise you had to include EATING in your sentence! Lol
Fucktard was one of mine if I remember…basically it insinuates downs and fucking idiocy
After losing 24 kilos im entitled to pissbreath.
And Alf was certain this topic wouldn’t make it to page two…
24 from 340 isn’t that impressive though, really… is it?
When you’re wrong, you’re wrong.
Whatever happened to the days when a common “spastic” was enough of an insult?
unless that 24 came out of ze Germans bottom. That would be impressive.
Someone has a cock that weighs 24 kilos? “Impressive” barely covers it.
muhahaha good one. You mods have way to much power.