Top 4 Manchester United Men Who Turned It Around
David Moyes suffered another dreadful result this week when he saw his Manchester United side lose 2-0 away to Olympiakos in the Champions League.
Having sung songs for Moyes at every game this season, home and away, you have to wonder how much more time the new manager has before United fans turn on him. Judging from the reaction on Twitter and football forums, it appears as though his time is up as far as plenty of reds are concerned.
But Moyes isn't the first person to have a rough start to their time at United and fans may be able to take heed from the turnarounds other men at the club have enjoyed.
Darren Fletcher joined Manchester United when he was 11 years old and made his way up through the ranks at the club. As a teenager, he was tipped to be David Beckham's successor, but he was usually played centrally when he first moved up to the first-team squad.
Having made the breakthrough in the 2003-2004 season, he struggled to fulfill the potential that United fans had been told he had.
Following a dismal 4-1 defeat against Middlesbrough the following season, club captain Roy Keane took to MUTV to slate Fletcher.
“I can’t understand why people in Scotland rave about Darren Fletcher,” Keane said. However, Fletcher used these words as motivation to become a better player, which he later reflected on in an interview with The Daily Mail's Martin Samuel:
Roy was probably the biggest influence on my career. He would come down hard on me if I ever did anything wrong but he made me realise what it meant to be a Manchester United player. I can remember coming in from training one day and checking my mobile phone for text messages. Well, that was it. He absolutely hammered me, all the way into the gym. He was a great influence, really. If Roy had a go at you, he did it because he cared. He was the best captain you could wish for. He would tear you to shreds on the pitch if you gave away the ball, ‘get your effing touch right, effing this, effing that’ but, as soon as you got into the dressing room, it was over. He was a winner. I’ve met dedicated professionals but he had something else.
Fletcher went on to be an important piece of United's central midfield and was a key player during the 2008-2009 season. In the Champions League semi-final victory over Arsenal, Fletcher was wrongly given a straight red card for a tackle on Cesc Fabregas in the box. United were given a footballing lesson from Barcelona in the final, but some United fans always wondered how it might have been different if Fletcher had been playing.
Patrice Evra joined Manchester United in January 2006 for a mere £5.5 million and fans were lead to believe they had a bargain on their hands.
However, Evra's first game was the Manchester derby, and he was substituted at half-time after a dismal 45 minutes.
"I made my debut against Manchester City," he told the Manchester Evening News. "It was really difficult. After the first 45 minutes, the manager took me off, told me to sit down, watch English football, and learn."
Thankfully, Evra's performances quickly improved, and he has gone on to play 359 games for United, which averages out at over 40 games a season.
He was officially named vice-captain at the start of the 2009-2010 season and has won five league titles and one Champions League, among other trophies.
Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United as a teenager with heaps of potential, but who was still lacking the cutting edge of a top player.
Neil Custis of The Sun reported on the days when Ronaldo was referred to as a "one-trick pony," with rival fans mocking his obsession with step-overs.
At the end of his first season, he scored just six goals in 40 appearances, and in his second season he scored nine goals in 50 appearances.
As Ronaldo matured and developed, it became clear that he was ready to fulfill the potential he had joined the club with. He was the third-highest scorer in the league at the end of his fourth season and won his first Premier League title, as well as being named the Football Writers, PFA Player and PFA Young Player of the Year.
The following year he was presented with the Ballon d'Or, after scoring 42 goals in 48 games, including United's only goal in the Champions League final over Chelsea.
Ronaldo left the club in the summer of 2009 for a record-breaking £80 million.
Sir Alex Ferguson
When Sir Alex Ferguson was given the job, Manchester United were in the relegation zone. They hadn't won the league for over two decades, whilst their rivals in Merseyside were dominating in England and on the Continent.
Three years after his appointment in December 1989, a Manchester United season ticket holder brought a banner to Old Trafford which read "3 YEARS OF EXCUSES AND IT’S STILL ****... TA RA FERGIE".
The man with the banner, Pete Molyneux, explained to the Manchester Evening News' Mike Keegan his thinking behind the banner. “I remember getting some old sky blue bedsheets—the colour wasn’t intentional—and some black paint,” he said. “At the time it seemed that we were not getting any better."
Five months later, Sir Alex Ferguson won his first trophy since moving to Manchester, after beating Crystal Palace to win the FA Cup.
The rest is history.