Sir Alex Ferguson has declared that despite Manchester United’s shaky start to the season, a comeback is still very much on the cards, and that their “history” means that they are the only club who could achieve a win from such a bad opening. The comments were made during a Q&A session following the first event of his book tour at the Lowry Theatre in Salford.
It’s understood that current incumbent David Moyes was amongst the throng packed into the theatre to hear Ferguson’s thoughts, but to date there’s no indication of Moyes reaction to his predecessor’s assertion, but it surely can’t really be of much help. It is of course just what United fans will have wanted to hear, and if the Scot was still at the helm of the Old Trafford juggernaut, nobody would be counting their chances out. The problem is of course that he isn't, and David Moyes has an enormous task to hand as his successor.
Taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be a tough old gig. It’s one that no manager could surely shirk, but tough nonetheless. When you’re following the most successful manager in the history of English football, you need two things that are often denied to football club managers – although not so much at Old Trafford – time and belief. Never the man to be a Fergie 2.0 clone, Moyes was always going to build United as his team, although he was wise enough not to try and do that with the sort of fire and sword revolution that cost Andre Villas-Boas his position at Chelsea. Moyes is very much looking at an evolutionary approach. The problem with that of course is that it will take time, and there will be inevitable slips along the way. This is where belief comes in.
Having appointed the former Everton manager, the top men at United must demonstrate their belief in their man. It’s a situation they honoured with Ferguson, and reaped their deserved rewards with 27 years of unparalleled success. Although there’s no guarantee – or perhaps even likelihood – that Moyes can succeed to that magnitude, they have a case study that shows time and belief offers great rewards. The club are unlikely to lose faith with Moyes for a good while yet.
In the interim, it would probably be beneficial if Ferguson thinks of the best way to help his beloved Manchester United before he speaks. Of course the club can close down the early season lead and win the title, but surely it would have been better if he’d have said something along the lines of the club have picked their new manager and he’ll get it right if we give him time, and show our belief in him. That way, a different Scot in the crowd, might feel a little less pressure from above.