I wrote another piece before that is a bit of precursor to this. Before I launch into this rant let me throw out some disclaimers and notices.
I supported the appointment of Moyes and I want Moyes to succeed. I remember telling a friend "he's probably a better coach than Fergie" when that friend foresaw impending doom. If we make 4th I will whoop for joy, write a piece commending him and become a fervent Moyes supporter. And despite my belief that he should be sacked if he does not make 4th, I know that unless we finish in 9th or something he will probably get another season or two. I am not a fair weather fan, I will suffer through all trials and tribulations along with all the other "true" fans from now until they put me in the ground. A quick note on "fair weather" fans, complaining about the decline of your club does not make you fair weather. NOT complaining and simply joining another band wagon, makes you fair weather. Whether you believe in Moyes or not, will give him time or not, if you are concerned about the direction of MUFC and want us to retain our global stature as a premier powerhouse football club then you are not a fair weather fan. Another thing about those fair weather fans, I cannot imagine that 100% of our fan base is hardcore so there is a lot of revenue that is generated from those "fair weather" fans.
Now let me explain my position. We are not breaking new ground here (a coach taking over a team) so we can use benchmarks from other similar occurrences. The first instance I will use is Pep Guardiola. If the stories are true then there was some pursuit of his services and he chose Bayern over Manchester United. The assumption is that it is partly becuase he saw the obvious difficulties he would have as MUFC manager. Guardiola has never walked into a hard job in his life. I bring up Guardiola because he is a good example of everyone and their mother knowing that our on the field product was damaged and would need a good bit of working on.
The next benchmarks I will use are Pellegrini and Mourinho. Pellegrini is new to English football. He was handed a team that was already pretty stellar but lacked depth striker wise. He spent the summer adding Navas, Negredo, Jovetic and Fernandinho in addition to lesser moves. Even with his team now playing out of their minds, in some ways better than Bayern played last year, he still makes a push in this transfer window to get Mangala and Fernando. This is a manager in prime position to win 4 competitions showing hunger to cross the finish line strong. You can also throw in Mourinho and Chelsea's moves as well. They are building an army of athletic and technically gifted players with natural defensive skills and some offensive genius. They are a Diego Costa away from being pretty damn good themselves.
So let us then go to Roberto Martinez. He has taken Everton to a level that Moyes was never able to take them. And that is after selling Fellaini, arguably Everton's best player (and fleecing us in the process). Everton may yet come back down to earth (I hope they do) but I personally never thought I would envy Everton football the way I do now. Golly Kevin Mirallas looks like an allstar. I don't want to know how good this team would be if Martinez had even 1/3 of the $150 million at Moyes' disposal. Or if Kagawa would present as a useless gall bladder like he does for Moyes. With the Wigan FA Cup win and his current work, he has clearly displayed great coaching ability. To add to that we have the development and deployment of Ross Barkley, getting Lukaku, replacing Fellaini with McCarthy, fleecing us in the transfer window, keeping Baines, discovering Oviedo and now getting this striker Traore in this winter transfer window. I am not an Everton fan, but I'll tip my hat to a good manager any day.
Now I get to Moyes. You can read the previous write-up about how I generally feel. I'll add to that previous article with 2 more points. We know he had funds last summer and we know that there is an arms race in the EPL. There is only so much quality out there in the world and the top 6 clubs will pay to get them. This winter he got Mata and apparently kept Rooney. Mata is a good move though in my mind not the necessary one. United have been dumped out of all cup competitions. He has also repeated the same mistakes of last summer. Showing up publicly to scout Kroos and Matuidi is a throwback to the brash behaviour of last summer. You don't insult the management of PSG, Munich etc so publicly saying I'm here to lure your players away. Plus have we not learned that these agents are simply using United interest as a negotiation tool? Overall my comparison of Moyes to the other managers is that he has done a poor job assessing his squad and working the transfer market and he has done a poor job adapting the style of play to maximize the best of the current players.
However, I believe that our current squad is as good as any of the 2nd tier teams, it is certainly better than Everton's and comparable to Tottenham's. I believe our current squad should get into 4th comfortably. I say 4th or the sack based on the following...
1. David Moyes has already outlaid about $100 million dollars in transfer fees and salaries for both Fellaini and Mata.
2. There is an existing UCL competition we are still in. After Olympiakos there will be no more gimmes. The Mata acquisition does not help us in the current UCL. In my mind Moyes has either given up on the current UCL or believes that the squad he has is good enough in that competition.
3. Getting into next year’s Champions League should be considered an absolute must both for MUFC and as a personal achievement for Moyes. I cannot believe, with our standards and knowing how leveraged MUFC is financially, that the owners (and fans) are dandy with anything else.
4. If Moyes was determined to address midfield depth there would be several lesser options to go after. You do not have to cast a net wide to find better midfield players than Tom Cleverley. If he has decided to go after only the best, that is his choice.
5. I therefore have to assume that Moyes, as a coach and manager, has decided that the current squad he has is enough to get us into 4th. Based on these assumptions I say the rest is up to his abilities as a coach. I say Moyes has made his bed and now he should lie in it.
I do not know the financial implications of not making 4th place, I cannot imagine they are good. But I do understand how we do NOT finish in 4th. It means we draw or lose to Liverpool(home) and Everton(away). It means we drop several more points to mid table teams. It means accepting that Moyes cannot coach our current squad, with $100 million dollars’ worth of strike force to score enough goals. For me saying, "Moysey if we do not make 4th, it's all right chap" is equivalent to saying the same thing 2 years from now about winning the league or advancing in the UCL. If Moyes cannot coach the current squad to 4th place then it will take more than what is left of the $150 million to help him. Toni Kroos is not going to come as less than $30 million. Even if he gets to buy all "his guys" then coaching wise I do not believe we will ever be in the league of the Bayern's and Manchester City's of this world. And that my friends, call me fair weather or not, is not good enough for my beloved Manchester United Football Club.
Note: My dad, an Arsenal fan, just mocked me for asking him to buy my son a Mata no 8 shirt. He offered me an Ozil shirt instead.