It was never going to take long, but most people probably thought that it may wait until a month or two into the new season at least. Unfortunately, for David Moyes however, it appears that there may already be cracks showing in the Scotman’s ‘honeymoon’ period as manager of Manchester United. Being the guy to follow Ferguson was never going to be an easy gig, and Moyes is astute enough to know that there will be a line of people waiting to throw brickbats at him if he falls below the exalted heights of his predecessor. Pre-season though is more than a little harsh.
The Telegraph is reporting how Dutch fitness expert Raymond Verheijen, who in fairness to him has worked at Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as being an assistant to Gary Speed at the Welsh national squad, took to Twitter to criticise Moyes – amongst others to be fair – as employing ‘dinosaur coaching’ methods. And that this contributed to an injury to Robin van Persie causing him to be withdrawn at half time in a recent friendly.
Verheijan picked on a quote that Moyes gave in Sydney, saying that “we’ve overtrained Robin this week to build up his fitness” and apparently added that “it really makes you wonder how these prehistoric training methods can still take place at the highest level.” I guess there can be a debate about the rights and wrongs of various training and fitness regimes, and I’m certainly not qualified to indulge in such conjecture, but I think that’s not really the point. There were always going to be questions about whether Moyes was ‘qualified’ to take the Old Trafford post, and it was never going to take much for the sniping to start. It hasn’t, and it didn’t!
For United, the post-Fergie era was always going to be a testing time. Probably even more so for the many fans who have grown up never knowing anything but the unparalleled success that accrued in the last twenty-odd years. The best thing that they can do is stick with Moyes however, support him, as Ferguson has entreated them to do, and accept that the world is now different and there’s no going back.
Testing times undoubtedly lie ahead, and in the rear view mirror of history, this will probably be seen as only a minor skirmish in the battle to keep the club on the path to success. Many people will be looking for Moyes to fail, not least many of his Premier League manager rivals, and it may happen. For United fans however, it needs to be a period of ‘keeping the faith’ and supporting the club, players – and yes, the manager. David Moyes has spent many a year being the guy who so many people thought deserved a crack at the big time. Now he has that chance, there’ll be just as many trying to knock him down. It’s important that United fans know which side they’re on.