English Premiership

Moyes to be spared the axe

2014-01-08 21:00
David Moyes (AFP)

London - Manchester United manager David Moyes is no modern-day Wilf McGuinness but unless he pulls United out of their slump soon, comparisons with the former ill-fated boss will continue to haunt him.

Images of Alex Ferguson, who in May retired after 26 trophy-laden seasons in charge, staring down as United's players trudged off after Tuesday's Capital One League Cup defeat at Sunderland, evoked memories of Matt Busby peering from the stands at McGuinness as results went against him.

What is extremely unlikely is that Ferguson, 72, will come out of retirement to take the reins back from Moyes, which is the fate that befell McGuinness on Boxing Day 1970 when he was sacked as manager with Busby, who had led the club through their glorious period of the late 1960s, taking his old job back.

Moyes said after Tuesday's defeat that Ferguson had been "nothing but supportive" of him since he took over and was a "a terrific sounding board" with support also coming from former club captain Bryan Robson on the training ground.

The common thread linking both Moyes and McGuinness is that Busby remained "upstairs" at United in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the same way that Ferguson has done today with both witnessing at close quarters their successors' early struggles in the job.

As a result, speculation has begun that Moyes' future at Old Trafford is already under threat, something Sean Bones, the vice-chairman of the Manchester United Supporters Trust, thinks is highly improbable.

"The main problem is not the choice of manager but the lack of investment in the side," Bones told Reuters on Wednesday.

"If you look at Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, they are supporter-owned clubs whose revenues are pumped back on to the field to improve the team and ensure deep squads full of good players.

"But until the owners of Manchester United, the Glazer family, relinquish control of the club, this will be a continuing problem for us.

"At the moment we have become an ordinary team with ordinary results, and while people don't like that, most don't think the manager is in danger."

"I don't think there is any risk at all that Moyes is under the same kind of pressure from Ferguson that Wilf McGuinness was from Sir Matt."

Manchester United enjoyed extraordinary success under Ferguson who arrived at Old Trafford in 1986 and has said he relished the advice that Busby gave him in his early days.

Busby died aged 84 in January 1994 having lived long enough to see Ferguson end their 26-year wait for the title in 1993, the first since Busby's last championship in 1967.

Ferguson, who broke the Celtic/Rangers stranglehold in Scotland with Aberdeen before coming to United, was never overawed by Busby's achievements but it was a different story a quarter of a century earlier when McGuinness, who was 31, was appointed Busby's successor following his retirement at the end of the 1968-69 season after 24 years as the helm.

An England schoolboy international, he was a member of the Busby Babes team of the mid-1950s and had played twice for England before a broken leg ended his career at 22 in 1960.

He stayed at United and was reserve team coach when Busby decided he was the right man to replace him.

Eighteen months later, his hair having turned white and fallen out in clumps, he was sacked despite taking United to three cup semi-finals and an eighth place finish in the old First Division in his one full season in charge.

He briefly went back to his old job as reserve team coach, then left to manage Aris Salonika in Greece.

Busby, then 61, returned to his old job and stayed for another 18 months, but within six years of that European triumph, the club were relegated to the second tier.

Unlike McGuinness, Moyes had a long playing career which included a Scottish title at Celtic and spells at, among others, Bristol City, Shrewsbury Town, Dunfermline Athletic and Preston North End where he became manager in 1998.

After revitalising Preston's fortunes he became Everton's manager in 2002 and although he did not win any trophies in his 11 years at Goodison Park, they qualified for the Champions League in 2005 and were FA Cup runners-up in 2009.

Ferguson knew Moyes as a child, having played in the same Glasgow youth team with his father as teenagers and keeping a friendship later in life with the family.

Long before Ferguson retired he had identified Moyes as his successor. Their families are still close today.

Handed a six-year contract when he became boss, it is virtually inconceivable that Moyes will be replaced by anyone else as United's boss despite the team losing three successive matches for the first time since 2001 and facing the real prospect of failing to qualify for the Champions League.

Apart from the troubles surrounding the end of the Busby era, United have a reputation for being a stable, patient club.

Busby advised the United board to keep their faith with Ferguson despite him failing to win a trophy in his early years.

It would defy logic if Ferguson was not saying similar things today.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Hodgson wary of Pirlo threat

2014-04-17 21:01

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
19 April 2014
Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham, White Hart Lane 13:45
West Ham United v Crystal Palace, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Cardiff City v Stoke City, Cardiff City Stadium 16:00
Newcastle United v Swansea City, St. James' Park 16:00
Aston Villa v Southampton, Villa Park 16:00
Chelsea v Sunderland, Stamford Bridge 18:30
20 April 2014
Norwich City v Liverpool, Carrow Road 13:00
Hull City v Arsenal, The KC Stadium 15:05
Everton v Manchester United, Goodison Park 17:10
21 April 2014
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which team do you think will win the English Premiership?

 
 
Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.