Us fans are great at making judgements and those who claimed David Moyes was most certainly not the man to take over from Slaven Bilic probably believed there was plenty to back their view.
Sunderland, for example, had been a total disaster for the bloke and things hadn’t been that clever at Manchester United, but then who would have been able to follow Sir Alex – I can’t think of anyone. Lovely bloke though he was, there’s no question that Slav had to go.
Rightly or wrongly, an impression was given that the players were his pals and that he would trust them through thick and thin. It didn’t work and I believe a general lethargy – along with a lax training regime – set in which fi nally lost him his job.
In Moyes we have a pragmatist with bags of Premier League experience and an intimate knowledge of how managers should treat footballers.
In a nutshell, he appears to treat them for what they are – highly paid employees who do a job at work and who will be treated according to their performance – no more no less.
He appears to keep a distance between himself and them. Never over-praising and never over-criticising – ensuring that none of them feel they are getting too close.
It’s about respect and whilst I detect no Sargent Major approach there’s defi – nitely a straightforward ‘I’m in charge’ attitude implicit in everything he says and does. There may not be the Bilic charisma but there’s a work ethic and a no prisoners (‘If you don’t run, you don’t play’) attitude which was precisely what was required of a squad which was learning to take life far too easily.
He wasn’t everybody’s choice but was probably the best of those available as results in December showed.
It’s interesting too that amid all the protests against the board at that time this was somehow overlooked. Yes, the board must take their share of responsibility for all that had gone before, there has barely been a word about Moyes’ appointment in recent weeks.
A small matter perhaps, but balance and fair play are virtues which perhaps we should always be inclined to remember when people do get things right.