6 Reasons for Manchester United Fans to Keep Faith in David Moyes
Taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson was never going to be easy, and replacing the Scot is nigh on impossible. Ferguson's brand of fiercely proud, fiery determination is woven into the very fabric of the club, not to mention the 38 trophies he won in his 26 years at Manchester United.
David Moyes—the first man to step into Ferguson's shoes—is under pressure already.
After a shaky start to his first season at Old Trafford, his every move is under scrutiny, his every word ripe for analysis.
But Moyes needs to be given time, patience and support.
Over the following slides, I look at six reasons why the manager deserves the faith of United fans, no matter how rocky the road gets down Sir Matt Busby Way.
Progress. It Takes Time
Pardew has been in the job for three years.
That fact is a damning reflection of trigger-happy chairmen and fans who expect too much, too soon from the men at the helm of their clubs.
We will probably never see the likes of the Ferguson dynasty again. Only Wenger comes anywhere close, in his 17 years at Arsenal.
It's easy to look back at Ferguson's 38 United trophies through rose-tinted glasses, but it's worth remembering that it wasn't always plain sailing.
A dismal start to his tenure saw Ferguson flirt perilously close with losing his job. In an oft-repeated tale, it was a 1-0 victory against Nottingham Forest in a third round replay of the League Cup that is credited with saving Ferguson from the chop in 1990.
Ferguson did not win a trophy in his first three years at Old Trafford; Sir Matt Busby's first piece of silverware didn't arrive until his third season in charge.
United's history would have been very different, had the club not given them time.
A New Signing Changes Everything
On Saturday, August 17, the opening day of the current season, Arsenal were already being branded as a club "in crisis."
Arsene Wenger was coming under fire in the media, fans were urging him to spend and the Frenchman was roundly booed after losing 3-1 to Aston Villa.
Wenger was quoted in the Mirror by Dan Silver, after the defeat: "You got what you wanted, you should be happy. Before the start [of] the season that was all you write in the papers so what do you expect?"
Now, almost two months later, Arsenal top the Premier League, they are unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions and talk of a crisis has hushed into a whisper.
The newfound positivity in the club seems to come from one man, new signing Mesut Ozil. Captured on deadline day for a club record-breaking £42 million, his arrival has silenced Wenger's doubters.
In David Moyes' case, things could have been so different if one of his summer signings had come off. If United had managed to secure the signature of Cesc Fabregas or Thiago Alcantara, would they be ninth in the table right now?
At Everton, Moyes was targeting a very different kind of player, and he deserves more than one foray into the transfer market to prove his worth. He could be just one big signing away from turning the season on its head at Old Trafford. For this, he needs your patience.
Don't Be a Fair-Weather Fan
For fans of Manchester United born in the late 80s, Alex Ferguson is the only manager they have ever known, and success is almost all they have ever experienced.
Figures, published Owen Gibson of the Guardian last season, demonstrated that United are the "most popular team in the world" with 659 million fans.
It's one thing to be popular when times are good and quite another to have real support when things take a turn for the worse.
As Moyes tries to stamp his own brand of management to Old Trafford, there are bound to be some casualties along the way.
Already, we've seen some lacklustre performances from United players this season and some results that have been less than convincing. However, the players are equally as culpable as Moyes, if not more so.
Manchester United chose carefully when they appointed their new manager. The club's decision to offer him a six-year contract shows that the club are investing in a long-term project for Sir Alex's successor.
Fans of the club should invest in Moyes for the long haul too.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Things are really not that bad at Old Trafford.
It may have been the club's worst start to a season for 24 years, but come on, wasn't that to be expected?
Before the 2013/14 campaign began, we knew it would be a season in flux. United, Manchester City and Chelsea all had new or returning managers, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur were entering the second term with their respective gaffers and Arsenal, well, they were different because they finally had money to spend.
It's hard not to get carried away by the current league table. It's international week so, inevitably, a lack of Premier League action will lead to lots of focus on the current standings.
However, all United really need to do is find their rhythm. As Moyes told the Guardian's Jamie Jackson last week, there's no need for panic:
I don't think it's a case of pulling it around. It's just us getting back on track and finding a bit of form. We had a disappointing result against West Brom, disappointing performance against Manchester City, so we'll do everything we can to put that right. It's not been as bad as many people have made it out to be.
Obviously our league position isn't where we want to be but let's just wait and see where it ends up come the end of the season.
The Right Choice
After hearing that Sir Alex was retiring, Manchester United didn't just rush out and try to find the nearest confrontational Scot.
Although he happens to tick that particular box, Moyes is actually qualified for the job.
The 50-year-old manager spent 11 years at Everton, where he had to operate on a shoestring budget. In that time, he brought players like Mikel Arteta, Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar, Tim Cahill, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Phil Neville and Seamus Coleman, to name a few, into the side.
He has developed young talent like Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley—giving both young players their senior debuts. We have already witnessed evidence of this at Old Trafford, with United's Adnan Januzaj.
Moyes may not have won silverware in his time at Goodison Park, but he attracted many admirers for his loyalty, his man-management and ability to bring in talent.
The manager took the Merseyside club to Champions League qualification in 2005, the FA Cup Final in 2009 and to compete in the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) three times. He also guided the Toffees to five top-six finishes in his 11 years in charge.
Before Everton, Moyes won promotion to Division One with Preston North End—just two years after taking over, in what was his first managerial role.
Criticised at times for his cautious tactics, Moyes' thinking will eventually have to shift from that of a small club with top-six ambitions to that of a huge club, with aspirations of silverware every season.
When he reached 10 years in charge of Everton, many top-flight managers paid tribute to his career with the side. Arsene Wenger, who was quoted on Evertonfc.com, said:
My compliments, he has done a massive job there. For knowing how much effort you put in on a daily basis, when a guy lasts 10 years somewhere you have to give him credit. We suffer a lot and he has put a lot of effort and dedication in. Our job is a real sacrifice of your life, so when a guy makes that at a club for 10 years and gets the results that Moyes has made, he deserves a huge credit.
Sir Alex Is Right
I'll leave the last word to Sir Alex himself:
I'd like to remind you that when we had bad times here, the club stood by me. All my staff stood by me, the players stood by me.
Your job now is to stand by our new manager.
That is important.