In the last 12 months Manchester United have had 3 managers, it’s sounds almost surreal considering the ever present figure of Sir Alex was in charge continuously for 26 years.It seemed as if the promise land had been reached and the glory days were set to continue for what seemed like an eternity, that was until we reached lands’ end. David Moyes was appointed Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacement shortly after the great Scot announced his retirement in 2013.
David was a man with burdened by pressure from the very start, he cast the figure of a man that had expectations looming large over his shoulders, expectation that seemed to over shadow him and his abilities. David seemed almost always destined to fail with the impossible task of following the most successful manager in English Football, was that his fault? The short answer, no.
Moyes was always doomed and many factors played their part in shortcomings that followed over his 10 month tenure. Ranging from David Gill stepping down as the clubs chief executive – to lack of respect and passion shown by the players who took to the field that season. We aren’t talking about a group who didn’t understand the ethos of the club, we aren’t talking about inexperienced players or fresh blood, we are talking about Champions League Winners, Premier League Winners and World Cup finalists in some cases.
That 10 months will no doubt go down as one of the darkest periods within our history on the pitch and even with that said David Moyes deserves a big thank you from every United fan, not only for being our manager, but having the stones to take the job in the first place.
Ryan Giggs – the man for all occasions then took charge, his tenure shorter than Moyes’s but with good reason.
Giggs is too inexperienced to manage at Manchester United, as a Manager your playing accomplishments don’t guarantee success, having been there and done it all itself is a fantastic trait to have but it doesn’t make you ready, it doesn’t give you the knowledge, people skills and cut throat decision making abilities that are needed to succeed in management, but even with that being said I do think he will take his seat as manager of Manchester United one day and this brief time he had in charge was not his moment, it was more like his introduction, despite his clear expressions of how he wanted the job.
Giggs best attribute whilst in charge was his positivity in front of the press, his ability to demonstrate confidence whilst the ship around him was clearly sinking was quite impressive. This is an area where Moyes fell down and possibly led to the loss of respect between him and some of the senior players within the hierarchy.
A perfect example for comparison,
David Moyes after the crushing home defeat to Local Rivals Manchester City;
“I think we’ve played a very good side and it’s the sort of standard and level we need to try and aspire to get ourselves to at this moment in time. I think we need to play better. We’re needing to come up a couple of levels at the moment and we’re not quite there.”
Ryan Giggs in his first managerial press conference at United’s AON training complex;
“It’s going to be my philosophy. It’s going to be a Manchester United Philosophy. Passion, speed, tempo, be brave, imagination. Work hard but most of all enjoy it. If you enjoy it, you can express yourself more.”
The difference in personality is obvious to see, Giggs is a winner, Moyes unfortunately was not.
The summer of 2014 saw the arrival of Louis Van Gaal, fresh in from the impressive World Cup performances from what in truth was an under par Dutch squad. I think at this point Manchester United fans were salivating at the thought of winning the Premier League, FA Cup and the X factor. A winner had come in, a man who has won almost everything there was to win, a man who oozes confidence and self-belief and with good reason too. Louis has won trophies. Louis put in motion the teams that have dominated over the last 5 years – his philosophy was so strongly enforced on the clubs he managed, they continued to stay successful even after he left.
His plans were plain for all to see, he has a clear philosophy, attacking exciting football based around being dominant in possession, after all, if you don’t give the other team the ball, how can they hurt you ? His ideas however have taken their time to become a reality and I think deep down Louis would acknowledge the fact that he has struggled to find his strongest team and formation, having started with the highly unconvincing 3-5-2 and moving on to the 4-4-2 diamond that in fairness had its positives, but unfortunately did not offer the free flowing football he had promised.
Louis has stuck by his philosophy even though the English press become blood thirsty when they thought they caught the slightest scent of blood from heads rolling in the dressing room, they even reported that LVG leaving behind 3-5-2 showed weakness, which in itself shows how badly they needed a story. Van Gaal changing our formation was to fit his philosophy, the positions are interchangeable the ethos is not, that is the mistake the English press made when reporting that, I guess the truth doesn’t sell papers.
“Two weeks ago I was the king of Manchester and now I am the devil of Manchester,” Van Gaal said.
After £150,000,000 being spent in the summer of 2014 I think the fans of Manchester United expected a faster transition, which is understandable, unfortunately just not achievable, the changes that United needed to make were deep set and would only ever work from the inside out. Problems that after three quarters of a season and some infuriating performances have only just started to disappear, leaving behind some excellent performances on the pitch at home and away.
So what will the last 7 games hold in store for us? If Van Gaals team builds on the form of current weeks, could a late title surge be a possibility ? With United having to play Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, could the impossible dream suddenly become possible? Speaking realistically, No, speaking passionately Yes.
In my opinion the 2015/16 season will be the definitive one in the post Ferguson Era and with the right player purchasing or academy graduates coming through could we become a formidable force to be reckoned with again ? Yes, yes we could, that is until Van Gaals contract is up in 2017.
And with Van Gaal recently announcing that his job at Manchester United will be his last in management it brings me to the question of, “With only two years left on his current deal is he in it for the long haul if he were to be offered an extension would he take it?” Or when his contract expires in the summer of 2017, will that close the door on what based on current performances could be one of his most successful teams ?
Who should replace Van Gaal if he leaves in 2017 ? Have your say in the comments section and interact with our Manchester United correspondent and sports journalist Samuel Carrington.