When a team finds itself mired in a bog of bad results it can’t work its way out of, it’s perfectly common for illustrious figures from the club’s past to pop up offering words of support and encouragement to the current players and staff. What isn’t so common is a less-than-illustrious former manager backing the current one, and using the offering of said support as an opportunity to gripe with less than perfect subtlety about how he himself was given a raw deal during his tenure.
After a competent though not aesthetically pleasing start to the season, Manchester United have hit the skids. They’ve gone more than a month without a win, have noticeably regressed performance-wise, and have had to endure unceasing speculation—some baseless, some not—about the manager’s position as of late.
In this dark hour, David Moyes, the last United manager who helmed the club in similarly treacherous circumstances, has emerged from whatever wine bar down the street from the Scottish golf course at which he’s been spending the bulk of his unemployment time, bearing some light. In an interview, as reported by ESPN FC, Moyes has pleaded for calmer heads to prevail and for his successor, Louis van Gaal, to be given more time to work things out. A fine and respectable sentiment, to be sure, if not exactly a helpful one seeing as most United fans to some degree blame Moyes, who didn’t even make it to the end of his debacle of a season in Manchester before getting the sack, for creating the very situation from which the club is still trying to extricate itself.
When you look at the language Moyes uses specifically, you get the sneaking suspicion that he’s addressing more than just van Gaal:
“After Sir Alex the job was always going to be very difficult. It was going to take time. It was a rebuilding job at Manchester United,” Moyes told the Clare Balding Show on BT Sport 1.
“And you have to remember that David Gill left who was a big influence at Manchester United. And I think even what Manchester United stand for is that they keep their managers. They have always supported their managers who have been before.”
“Always going to be very difficult.” “A rebuilding job.” Hmmm.
Not only can you read Moyesy’s comments as dropping subliminals at United about his own premature firing, he also sends a couple darts in the direction of his most recent former employers, Real Sociedad:
“So I hope they stick with Louis van Gaal. He deserves more time. It is still a work in progress for him. He has made some signings and from my experience in Spain it will take time for players from abroad to settle in.
“So I think they should stick with it. They don’t want to become a club which continuously changes their manager.”
“A work in progress.” “Takes time to settle in.” Hmmmmmmm.
Lotta parallels here is what Moyes seems to be saying. And you have to admit, it makes you think.
Photo via Getty