The news that David Moyes has been dismissed from the role as Manchester United manager is perhaps no great surprise given the amount of adverse publicity for the team in recent weeks and the mounting speculation regarding his tenure at the club. A lack-lustre 2-0 defeat at Everton was probably the final nail in the coffin for the Scotsman who will leave Old Trafford with United languishing in seventh place in the Premier League. Yet more true to the point are the doubts regarding his suitability for the role which have been festering for months even though these accusations could be termed as partially unjustified.
When Moyes succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson as the Red Devils boss at the end of the previous season, the club has just won another Premier League title by 11 points, and further trophies were anticipated if not demanded. Moyes had been a successful manager at Everton but without securing any significant silverware.
Following in the footsteps of Ferguson was to prove no easy step as the legendary United boss often ruled by fear and was able to conjure admirable performances from footballers who were perhaps genuinely scared of disappointing their sometimes volatile manager. Established players learned to accept his methods, however stringent, especially when results continued to be consistently outstanding.
There were signs of cracks last season when Manchester United contrived to secure several points by late winners often scored by Robin van Persie. The Dutchman has been a peripheral figure for much of the campaign and without his impressive goal ratio, the United attack has suffered accordingly this term.
Another feature of this strange United season has been the absence of Fergie’s assistant and coach Mick Phelan who was allegedly a very important figure behind the scenes at Old Trafford. Moyes decided to dispense with his services and appointed his trusted colleague Steve Round as first team coach at the club.
With both Moyes and Round arriving, it was perhaps a culture shock for the players as any semblance of continuity appeared to disappear. Perhaps that was the biggest mistake of the Moyes era when a mere tinkering of the backroom staff would have allowed him precious time to evaluate his inheritance and possibly secure the immediate trust of the players.
There can also be little doubt that there has been an attitude problem among some of the players, unwilling to accept that their best days may over and not wishing to hear this judgement from an outsider. Player power does spring to mind while for other squad members, their worthiness to wear the Manchester United shirt has been questioned especially in midfield and defence where a distinct lack of pace was so evident in their defeats by Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton. New signing Marouane Fellaini has also yet to produce the consistent form from his Everton playing days.
David Moyes was correct in saying that a rebuilding job was needed and Fergie may have struggled to earn success for this campaign, but trying to change personnel too quickly can have repercussions. Had he earned the ears of the backroom staff at an early stage, he may have bought sufficient time to undergo the rebuilding process.