It is the morning after the night before …and like a zombie apocalypse the Manchester United landscape feels like a barren and ravaged vista. The metaphoric bodies and screams from a million twitter accounts, left strewn across the car parks and fields. Hashtags sprayed upon walls, in the blood of Ed Woodward. David Moyes’ name, already spoken like a British Prime Minister, who led us into an international war we could never win. The taste in the mouth is positively radioactive. Like battery acid mixed with lemons provided by our tabloids. It is frankly a mess. But not for the reasons you might assume.
One thing that was proved to me last night unequivocally, is how bad ‘supporters’ have become. As we all witnessed Arsenal unveil their stellar signing via social media and Sky Sports News, the jealous rage of United fans was palpable. Once upon a time, such a signing would’ve have triggered mass debate (ahem) …maybe even some tribal name calling. all in the name of our clubs. However, what we received was a ton of random shouting at the CEO and the manager…all as hollow and vapid as could be. Nothing constructive. Just a wall of noise, like a pack of howling dogs.
Now don’t get me wrong – this window has not covered the Manchester United board in any type of glory (a board that also contains Sir Alex and Sir Bobby) – but I have never seen such unbelievable outrage about something that was at best ‘a non event’
Yep, we didn’t get the players we wanted. But we did address an age-old problem in our central midfield – something we have craved for many moons. Yet many United fans allowed the event to be their first opportunity to attack a manager and CEO, who are still in their infancy in terms of tenure. For Ed Woodward, I really feel nothing. No sympathy or pain. But to suddenly ‘love David Gill’ as so many Reds professed yesterday – it’s simply hyperbole of the highest and most Scouse order. David Gill is the man who implemented and protected Glazernomics – the business plan of a bunch of American owners who have sucked the financial lifeblood from Manchester United. But suddenly the fans love him? Suddenly he is tons better than Woodward, because the new CEO has had a poor window? This is the point where I would normally swear in real life…
The reaction of our fanbase was more shocking than any failure in the market this summer. I think strong questioning can be made of a lot of the tactics in this window…I think the Fabregas move was poorly conducted, and I hate it when any club does its business in the media, let alone the one I support. But I do not think that any of the result is worth hanging anyone for. We have played three games. Yet fans seem desperately more interested in transfer gossip and tabloidism, than they are in the players who actually play for the club – players who walked the league last year. I’ve discussed with many United fans about the strength of Chelsea and City this year. This is a Chelsea team who missed out on their number one target of the summer (yes he plays for us) and also don’t seem too keen on their own best player from last season. Even Lukaku is getting offered around by them. This all sounds like genius to me…I mean…it sounds like idiocy. City on the other hand have already lost at Cardiff, but they are the best team in the land on paper – much like they were 12 months ago. Hmm? A Tevez for a Jovetic? No thanks.
I’m disappointed by our fans reactions last night, and over the summer. The transfer window is devised to put bums on the media seats – to make fans swim towards the trawlers net, only to be caught in one big swipe of the ocean net, capturing a thousand minds, and driving you all nuts – and SO MANY allow this to happen to them. And not just certain facets of society – it seems to affect people from every race, religion and class bracket. Fans dress this up as ‘passion’ or ‘having an opinion’…when all it amounts to is kids squabbling over a load of sweets, fresh from the shops. Most of these fans do not blink an eye, when we try to openly debate the abortion that our ownership is, yet…don’t sign a short German chap from Madrid, and its primal screams on repeat! Priorities of the Man Utd fan seem odd at best in 2013.
Everybody supports their club differently, and there’s is nothing wrong with that. But once upon a time such a summer of transfer inactivity would have been shrugged off. It has happened many times before. The key difference is the absence of Fergie, but Moyes has been given a diamond encrusted squad, built with the DNA and knowledge of the greatest manager in the history of football. Things are simply not the bad. Answers will be needed as to what happened with Herrera and Baines, but ultimately it didn’t warrant the reaction we have witnessed. Moyes and Woodward will have a new transfer window to deal with in just over a hundred days – that is no time at all. They can learn from the mistakes that were made in this window, and move forward. Fergie and Gill worked so well together, because they were friends and kept everything top-secret. I hope we no longer read of ‘unlimited budgets’ and ‘fancy Spaniards who played for Arsenal’ being publicly talked about again. Who cares about better relations with the press? Fergie kept it tight for a reason. Sharks swim in our waters all of the time.
So now the window is shut, and fans need to get on with it. Supporters need to realise it is not opposition fans that will bring us down, but our own actions will. No one is asking for ‘blind support’ – but blind panic will only serve to break our football club. We are at a crossroads. We either believe the press’ ideology that Man Utd is finished now Sir Alex has moved upstairs, or we retain that siege mentality that the man taught us. About how to deal with adversity. About how to utilise the power of being the underdog. Ozil to Arsenal is a lovely thing for Gooners, but clever fans from North London understand that they have more deep-lying problems than anything our squad has to worry about. Chelsea fans are dogmatic in their praise of their saviour returning, but they know with their current defence and attack, they are still short. And even City fans will admit that despite spending £100m on signings, that there are no guarantees that this season will be better than last. Was Mancini that bad? Most will say no.
Sir Alex left us with one bit of advice, on that Old Trafford football pitch, as we cried rivers of tears in those stands. He didn’t ask for us to give him more accolades, or to live in the past. He asked us to look forward and get behind our new manager. Our supporter base needs to remember those words. Fergie chose them as his final statement for a reason. If the opposition better us, so be it. We are United, and we fight another day. But if we implode and beat ourselves, then that will be the saddest end possible to the glory years of MUFC. We will sink like Liverpool, and that will be the end. Reliving distant victories – can you imagine in the year 2033 us not having won a league title for twenty long years? It has happened to us before.
Sing for your club and sing for David Moyes. If he fails, at least we would’ve kept our part of the bargain. Welcome to Manchester United Marouane – we needed steel. Now show your detractors why Moyes has this trust in you.
Things are good for United right now. But an apocalypse is only around the corner, if you invite it into your house.
Have to say.. Totally Agree.. this is the best piece I’ve read .. EVER
United fans have not done anything wrong this summer. They are not the ones who decided to select Ashley Young & Giggs for a game against Liverpool who were terrible for most of the game. It is disingenuous for anyone to think that Moyes can achieve the exact same thing Fergie did with the same squad. The manager will be given time because this is Manchester United but failure should never be rewarded especially when hundreds of millions of pounds are at stake.
The manager seems clueless with his team selections favoring overrated English players like Young Giggs (Wales) Cleverley Jones Welbeck ahead of the foreign based United players. I believe everyone should be given a fair chance to try to stake a 1st team spot but it appears that’s only happening with the British players. Ultimately he’ll be judged at the end of the season so we’ll see where MUFC ends up but whilst I was initially bullish about United’s chances of retaining the league title, the last couple of performances & incompetency in the transfer market has caused me to revise my predictions for United’s season. The best United can hope for is 4th this season and as for Europe, Manchester united won’t go past the Round of 16. There simply doesn’t seem to be any hunger or desire to win this season. I’ll chalk that up to complacency and a new manager who is out of his depth.
This really is a new era at Manchester United and I hope David Moyes can prove me wrong in 9 months time. GGMU
i support your statement 100%. FAITH, TRUST & HARDWORK will carry us through MAN UTD FOREVER!!!!! WOW this was something worthy to read honestly
Fantastic article, very well done to you Rob!
Fellaini is the type of midfielder the fans have been calling for, for 5 years or more.
Your points on the Chelsea/Man City squads are exactly what I have been saying all summer. The media have hyped them up to be so much better than they are, quickly forgetting that we won the league at a canter, last season.
I, too, have noticed how rapidly United’s “online fans” have turned against Moyes and Woodward. It is more than laughable but, as you say, has the potential to bring us down, as a club.
A settling in period is needed, we are in that now. How long it will last, nobody knows…we can only hope it is as short as possible.
Your job is to SUPPORT the team, it’s up to everyone else to try to bring us down. If we don’t stand strong…who will?
The team selections for our first few games can hardly be used as a template for the season to come, he is still finding the strengths of each player and it will take time before he finds his best 11 and the right shape to go with it.
Look at the positives, there are more than you think.
We are true Man U fans and we also understand Man U can’t be the same without Fergie….we have seen some tough times even during Fergie time! We supported Moyes as we all Man U fans supposed to do but can someone tell me how can we sign only Fellani, that also in the 11th hour, when whole world knew n seen in recent past that without a proper CM we are doomed to fail ! It’s not about winning only it’s about trying also…no one complain if we tried our best during in the transfer market but look at Harrera scenario …we are ashamed to say the least ! Someone rightly said Woodward is Glazers agent and what he did in transfer market is testimonials of the same ! A treble winning team like Munich n Barca did so much of shopping but all we did was let City,Chelsea n Spurs overtake us n left us to fight for a spot in CL …. To sum it up, we are left to sulk n wait for next year for some good news…pls don’t expect any trophy under Moyes and Woodward !
David Moyes has been given great support by the fans in the 3 league games so far, however, because he is David Moyes and not Fergie I worry for this season. For the last 5 years Fergie has squeezed unbelievable levels of performance out of a team with one of the worst midfield’s in the top 6 or 7. I for one don’t have the confidence that Moyes will be able to do that. I’d be happy to be proved wrong. We did need steel in the midfield, if for nothing else to take the weight off Carrick, he’s been carrying the midfield for a long time. However, I’m not convinced Fellaini is the answer. He was most effective for Everton when playing at the No.10 role and the ball was lumped up to him. We don’t and hopefully won’t play that way. We need someone who can sit deeper break up play and use the ball effectively. If Fellaini can prove he can do that for us great, but he’s never proved he can do that for Everton. I also have reservations about Moyes’ ability to use creative players, we have a superb No.10 in Shinji Kagawa but he has got nowhere near the first team in the 3 games so far.
David Moyes has yet to convince me that he can have a team with the attacking talent of RVP, Rooney, Welbeck, Kagawa, Nani, Valencia, Hernandez, Januzaj, Zaha et all playing the type of football they should be. Look at the evidence – the last 180 minutes and not only no goals but barely more than a chance opf two in each match. This team has incredible attacking talent but they are not being given the freedom to show it. Maybe Moyes will adapt in time but the jury is very much out as yet.
The summer’s transfer activity has been nothing short of embarrassing, and the new CEO has to take the blame for that, as I’ve tweeted a few times, I had no love for David Gill but he knew what he was doing in the transfer market and got deals done. The very public pursuit of Fabregas was unedifying to say the least. The farcical collapse of the Ander Herrera deal, just add more fuel to the fire and if as has been claimed we wanted Fellaini right from the start why not get the deal done in July? The public image of the club is now one that doesn’t know what it’s doing in the transfer market, and that may come back to bite us in future windows.
Of course we will support Moyes and the players he has and has brought in, but there is not point in trying to claim this window has been any thing other than a farce.
Don’t get me wrong I am happy that we have signed a midfielder, and I think Felliani will definitely add some steel to the side, but tell me any other job in the world where you deliberately overpay by £4MILLION and not receive your p45. That reeks of arrogance, thinking Everton would roll over for a lesser fee than the release clause. One of the classier United traits has been our ability to keep our transfer dealings under the radar, but if we are going to go public, at least show some respect with a valuation in line with market prices… especially for clubs who are in no way wanting to sell their prized assets.
I personally do not understand the frustration with Moyes though, this is really beyond his control (I do believe questions should be asked of the board though). Whilst Super Daves team selection against Liverpool and Chelsea may have been questionable I would say that he was probably going for experience in those big games, which is why we saw Giggs over Kagawa, Young over Zaha, etc. Even Fergie’s team sheets were sometimes just as head scratching. But I do take the Rob’s point about the hysteria this has caused in our own fans, with many supporters sounding like spoilt children.
Well spoken, Roon U. SUPPORT doesn’t exempt criticism (thats why players & managers acknowledge such when they are booed after a bad performance).
The board need to sit up and if our criticism achieves it, then lets go for it.
Great piece of writing but I think it misses the point. Yes the current squad won the league and all but as many have pointed out without SAF that team would have struggled to get anywhere near the top. We have to be realistic and with a new manager the squad needed strenghtening. Recent performances have not done anything to alay the fears of some fans. The preseason was well preseason and one performance against Swansea (where for the first 30 to 40 minutes Swansea were better) is all United have to show. They have failed to break down two well organised defences. The team selection has been bewildering and for all Ryan Giggs exploits he looked 20 years pst it against Liverpool. The biggest problem here is that for all the shortcomings that this team has Moyes and Woodward conducted a shambolic transfer widow and we are well within our rights to question this apparent lack of strategy. Failed to strengthen an area where for the last couple of years has obviously required strenthening. How the two of then then contrived to pay over the odds for a player that they could have bought for four million less, tried brinkmanship with Herrera on the last day of the transfer window and then desperately tried to get Contrao just reflects badly on the club. The fact that they paid over the odds means that the so called Glazers have made the funds available and its a case of not really knowing what plan a, b or c was in the trasfer market. It remains to be seen whether Moyes will be able to galvanise the current squad into action but his team selection and tactics for the early part of the season would leave any United fan worried. Supporting the manager yes but blind loyalty inthe face of such naivety is not the United way. You talk about the current squad and them having won the league – Man City did the same stood still and subsequently trailed a distant second to a squad that was strengthened by RvP and to a lesser extent Kagawa (he may not have played a great deal but the statement of intent tht signings make galvanises the squad). we have stood still actually in some respect gone backwards (SAF has gone). I hope that Moyes proves me wrong in doubting him but having watched the two very mediocre performances against squads that have strenthened leaves me distinctly unconvinced. GGMU
Got it spot on Rob, thats a very gud article 4 ages, lets support moyes to see wat he has up there. He seems confident with d squad even claiming dat he can cope without any addition. #lets support our manager
@Raj: If you were a ‘true’ United supporter you would know not to call us ‘Man U’.
I don’t know many supporters who blame Moyes for the mess this summer, its Woodward who is rightly copping the flack. It’s true that Woodward is new to the CEO role but he is not new to the club and should have some knowledge of how things operate, I can’t believe for one minute that Gill just wandered into the sunset without giving Woodward a proper ‘handover’ so he should have done better.
Woodward spoke about us being in for the top players but he failed to bring any in, he has failed Moyes who obviously didn’t believe himself that he was happy with what he has otherwise we wouldn’t have seen the embarrassing scramble for any player yesterday.
Yes I will continue to support the team but Woodward needs to sort hos act out ASAP for the good of the club.
I like Moyes. I like Fellaini, and indeed have been laughed out of blogs for the last 2 years (I kid you not!) for mentioning him as someone United should sign. I think keeping Rooney has been an achievement.
My biggest problems with transfer dealings this summer, ones that make my furious (though I do not have a twitter account) are as follows:
1. Unreal expectation setting and a being a PR hound (we can sign the best, we are in for the best, leaving on urgent transfer business, making bids public, and all that). It’s better to say “We are looking at one, at best 2 additions in areas of interest” and then let your work do the talking.
2. Naive target selection. Fabregas was unreal – how hard was it to realize that? Offering 12 mil Euros for Daniel De Rossi. That’s the equivalent of offering 10 mil GBP (less if you take inflation into account) in 2004-05 for Paul Scholes. How would we have felt if someone tried to pull that stunt on us?
3. Last but not the least, the Hererra fiasco if reports are to be believed. Apparently, we let him and the law firm (they weren’t imposters, could not have been – they have been identified as partners at one of Bilbao’s top sports law firms) hang out to dry as soon as we got Fellaini.
I don’t give a damn if United comes out and says “we won’t sign anyone for the next 2 years”. I don’t even mind (not beyond a certain level, at least) losing to the bitters or the dippers after a few days – this is football after all, a sporting contest. Seriously. Just don’t BS us fans, don’t fuck around with other clubs’ sentiments, and don’t drag the good name of Manchester United Football Club through the mud of Europe. That’s all.
Dull article, poorly written
Fellaini is not the midfielder the we have been wanting for the last five years, at best he is our third or fourth choice signing in this window.
If Moyes was so keen on signing him, why didn’t he do it in July when he could of been bought for £23.5m.
The £4m more we paid for him is the same amount as the VAT on Herrera which United refused to pay, yet Herrera wanted to come, he was even willing to take a pay cut to come.
The fault with us failing to get the players we wanted, lies firmly on the shoulders of Woodward, wrong paperwork, paperwork in the wrong language etc, it all sparks of complete and utter incompetence on him and the team involved.
Rob….yes indeed, the Glazers are the herd of elephants in the room. They are the ones to be held accountable for the fact that a highly skilled and experienced negotiator was allowed to leave at the the same time as the best manager in British history. It is their fault that Woodward was appointed anfd given instructions to concentrate on securing yet more revenue streams from international companies queuing up to line the Glazers pockets for the opportunity to have their companys products and services associated with the name of a great club. It was their fault that Woodward bid too low on targets that were unrealistic or never attainable and that he dragged on and on and on….far beyond the time any experienced experienced negotiator would have done. In the process he has managed to piss off the players, agents, managers, directors and fans of many clubs and sabotage many potential transfers for the sake of a few million when there was supposedly ‘no budget’ (limitation) The club is now a laughing stock around the world. United used to have a reputation for acting with class, dignity and integrity but that image has been severely damaged. The Glazers appointed Moyes as Fergie 2.0 ….. someone who could work wonders on the cheap and Woodward was was obviously given the same brief. So what happened? We paid over the odds for a player who is little more than a schoolyard bully and lost out on at best B/C list player who cant score, has a very poor disciplinary record and blatantly chears who agai was way overpriced. The fact that we only secured Fellaini and withdrew from the Herrera deal on the final day, aafterboth players had voluntarily given up loyalty payments to help push the moves through tells you everything about Woodward and the Glazers priorities and arrogant lack of decency and respect for all the other parties involved. As if the club wasn’t hated enough already.
True United supporters NEVER say “Man U”
dont you get it yet..your fast becoming the new everton,and c’mon who would in their right mind chose to play for moyes ??…
I fully support our new manager , he is the face of United . Ill accept he has to see for himself the likes of Young , Cleverley Welbeck etc to make his own mind up .That is his job he as Everton manager knew our weakness’s and made us pay .Why shouldn’t I/we have faith in him .
However this Woodward and his team have lead us by the nose into an arena where we are seen as inept in decline and any other insult that can be levelled at us .Do not tell us how to support United , while turkeys like woodward initiate internal inquiries into what went wrong . He lead it , under bid , insulting bids , wrong approaches and over pays . In any other walk of life even banking they would pay him of ASAP .
Moyes needs to get used to the Utd way and find his feet in the biggest shoes imaginable in this sense. I remember the second half of the eighties all too well (“4 years and still them same old ****”) – most of the twitter hounds weren’t even conceived in them ‘dark’ days… Yet the man who became a legend was given the time and opportunity to get things right – the rest is history… Lest we forget….
To a (much) lesser extend the same applies to Woodward, and whilst I do not know the man, his first two months in charge have been nothing if not an unequivocal PR disaster by his own making!
You don’t get to become the CEO of the world’s biggest club (least of all if owned by powerful Americans with vested interests in the preservation of a valuable franchise) as a greenhorn, without the credentials and qualifications in place; the media was handled in the most incompetent fashion, so much so that even in Germany’s biggest paper they thought it worth commenting on… Must do better, much better!
The vitriol from the fanbase, justified on grounds that without their readiness to buy into the Utd merchandise machine Utd’s brand wouldn’t be what it is (note: brand, NOT our club!), will be nothing compared to the evaluation of Mr Woodward’s C&Rs as the head of the Glazer’s cash cow by our american owners! If anything makes them sit up and take note it will be anything that is slowing down the gravy train. In the corporate world perception, reputation and stakeholder confidence is a more valuable commodity than actual tangible assets. The CEO won’t care about the fan’s gripe, after all you don’t get to that position unless you are bullet proof against criticism, it won’t affect him one iota; but what will concern him is the potential of perceived failure and incompetence in the eyes of his paymasters!
And the vultures will be watching the global currents of how things are being perceived – very very carefully…
Agree with a lot of your points Sitesired.
I’ve not called Moyes at all over this, but Woodward has been incompetent at best, or deliberately screwing dwals (which I realise sounds paranoid) at worst.
At the end of the day he is a long-time Glazerite, & 1 keen to bring money in with 50 different tyre partnerships, not send money out on players and salaries.
I was certainly never Gills biggest fan after his switch of heart once under the Glazers, but he’s certainly gone up in my estimations after this summer.
It also makes me wonder how much him leaving contributed to Fergie’s decision too.
Again, maybe being paranoid once more, but was there something in his farewell address, declaring the fans job was now to support the manager, knowing full well what he would be working with?
I’m happy enough for Fellaini to come on board, but how he’s missed a pre-season, we’ve paid millions more,rridiculous!!
Great article, shame there are a some utd fans who don’t share your opinions.
Great article, but… a week or so ago no one had heard of Herrera and then we were desperate for him. For not much more we could have had Ozil but he went to Arsenal. We weren’t even mentioned in that pursuit. THAT is whats worrying. Having said that, Basque footballers are an unsular lot – maybe Herrera is a worldie that has not yet reached the world stage and we will sign him in January!
i have tried telling Rob on twitter that SAF got extra out of last seasons team but he just wants to put my theory down because he is a “top red”. this is going to be a period of transition . My argument for the close season was that the board went public with bids & made us look amateurish at best . Moyes will be given time as he should be . I do think there has been too much change in the club which may take 2-3 years to level itself out , as in Gill, SAF , Rene ,Phelan and Steele all leaving, good move by Moyes though to bring in Phil Neville and appoint Giggs as coach although i don’t think he should be player coach though (hang up the boots now Ryan please). Another thing is i don’t think MUFC under new regime will hold the same appeal as it did under the previous one for incoming players, there will be an element of doubt & uncertainty in their minds.As fans we will be behind the manager & the team 100% it is the hierarchy we are unsure of .
Tried telling me on Twitter? Sorry, not sure who you are. Not aware ive ever spoken to you. Thanks for reading though.