The news this morning that Manchester United have sacked David Moyes has sent reverberations shuddering around the football world.
This is the club that haven’t changed manager for 26 years and gave Sir Alex Ferguson seemingly free licence to appoint his successor with the club giving Moyes a six year contract – only managers as good as Alan Pardew get a longer contract than that.
So what are we to make of this event and how will it affect the Red Devils next opponents? That’ll be us, in case you’ve been living in a cave.
The fact that we live in a different world with higher expectations since Ferguson joined United in the late eighties, is not in dispute. If you look at the records of the two men over their first 31 games then Moyes actually has a better record.
Wins – 18
Draws – 6
Losses – 7
Wins – 12
Draws – 10
Losses – 9
But, as I say, times change and continue to do so. This is a club with legions of supporters who have never known anything other than massive success. You can’t argue with Ferguson’s achievements that arguably make him the most successful manager of all time. But would he be given the time to turn it around had he started the job in 2013?
You’d have to say on this evidence ‘no, he would not.’
Ryan Giggs has taken temporary charge with Phil Neville and Chris Woods remaining in post for the time being. Giggs will take charge of his first match as interim boss against Norwich in the 17.30 kick off on Saturday at Old Trafford – Live on Sky.
The timing for Norwich is not good. I would prefer Moyes to still be in charge but he isn’t, so we just have to get on with it. Giggs has been a coach this season and is a United man through and through. He also has never known anything but incredible success under Ferguson and will be keen to prove to the world that Manchester United still means something and that you can’t dismantle a dynasty in just 10 months.
He has been a part of the dressing room for over 20 years and has still been a player as well as doing some coaching this season. He won’t be short of passion and he won’t be short of stirring words for his team mates. But will that be enough?
From the evidence of Neil Adams’ first two games in charge, Norwich City will go to Old Trafford with fire in their bellies. I have no doubt they will be up for the fight and take the game to the home side.
But how will United respond? City are fighting for their lives, while United are fighting for nothing other than pride. Their season is over, having missed out on Champions League football for the first time since the competition began in its current format, they are also guaranteed their lowest ever Premier League points tally and have been kicked out of all domestic cups and drubbed by Bayern Munich in a quarter final of the CL that everyone knew they were never going to win.
So, is pride going to be enough for those players to fight for? Is Ryan Giggs the man to summon the fire from within – it’s difficult to say and will obviously go one of two ways.
I watched United get comprehensively outplayed by Everton at the weekend and thought that they looked as though their chins were on the floor, they were running on empty. Whatever has been going on in training and their lives in general, clearly hasn’t agreed with them.
If you right today off as ‘shell shocked’ that means Giggs has just three days to prepare his side. Will it be enough? There’s nothing riding on that game for United but for City, everything rests on it. As it will when we go to Chelsea and then face Arsenal – each is a cup final for our boys.
The sacking of Moyes adds another twist to what has already been a dramatic season in the Premier League, if City get an early goal or come out of the traps at speed, the locals will get restless and red shoulders will drop and that is what we have to aim to do.