The Wise Men of the football tribe have always been brutally honest about survival prospects and viability of ideas. They cherish the truth and insist on it being brought into the light of day and pissed and moaned about, if need be. I am one such wise man. The not-so-wise-but-cowardly-and-sort-of-crafty-ba****ds of the tribe prefer to take the moral high ground. They usually do this by criticising any pissing and moaning whatsoever and repeating some mindless mantra designed to make them appear strong and loyal. “This is our team you’re talking about!” they say, dramatically. “Why are you deserting your lineage and ancestry because of a few poor results?”
After much to-ing and fro-ing the wise elders will decide to humour the not-so-wise-but-cowardly-and-sort-of-crafty-ba****ds, by promising not to complain as much and remain in the camp. But, lovers of truth that they are, they can’t not complain. So the sniping continues and the not-so-wise-but-cowardly-and-sort-of-crafty-ba****ds wait for the day the Wise Men are proved wrong. They wait, not out of love for their team, but for one reason only: To rub the Wise Mens’ faces in it, and pretend for a while that is in fact they who are wise, and not the Wise Men. This is because the not-so-wise-but-cowardly-and-sort-of-crafty-ba****ds are nothing but c****. Anyway…
David Lachlan Finlay Sholto Moyes, to give him his full name, was hand-picked by the most successful British manager of all time not for his ability to do the United job, but on the geographical point of his origin and his family’s social caste. “He’s just like Fergie!” Fergie said. “He’s from Glasgae, an’ he’s an internashnul playing career!” Moyes does indeed have international pedigree; his first gig was at ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar, a famous team in the proud nation of Iceland. Maybe ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar was even known as “the Peoples’ Club” up there in old Iceland. It’s certainly possible. Moyes re-packaged the phrase like a master marketer when he arrived on Merseyside, Don Draper genius that he is.
As a young pale-faced ginger man of 22, Moyes was already studying for his coaching badges, which says something about his forward-planning ability or else is just plain weird. Perhaps he’d already decided football management was a cushy racket compared to running around like a headless chicken, as he was wont to do as a player. He took copious notes on all the managers he played under for future reference, which is a shame, ‘cos he only ever played for really sh** teams and his handwriting is probably scandalously illegible. It is this perfect storm of long-term vision, craftiness and stoic ineptitude for which he earned the title, “The Chosen One”, on a banner at Old Trafford before he’d even took his coat off. This brings me back to those not-so-wise-but-cowardly-and-sort-of-crafty-ba****ds from earlier. You see, anxious not to lose full TOP RED status, these not-so-wise-but-cowardly-and-sort-of-crafty-ba****ds are very careful not to offer any praise of the banner currently displayed (with the club’s blessing, obviously) at the Stretford End proclaiming this fact.
More Manchester United…
So basically, the not-so-wise-but-cowardly-and-sort-of-crafty-ba****ds proclaim Moyes’s untouchable status every time they slag anyone who slags Ferguson’s choice of successor, while denying any affinity whatsoever with the statement on this rather preposterous banner. Heavens, no, Manchester United is a club run by c****, as every TOP RED will tell you.
Unless, of course, you’re talking about anything that relates to the players or Moyes. You see, you can slag the Glazers, and the day-trippers and face painters, stewards and away fans, even the “Chosen One” banner, but you can’t slag the players or Moyes himself. That’s not what TOP REDZ do. I’m just glad I’m not one of the tedious ba****ds, because living by such a complicated and nebulous code such as this would be hell. They deserve it.
Everton Football Club was the break that made the man, following several limpet-like years up the M61 at Preston North End. He’d clawed his way up the Preston pyramid; from coach to assistant manager to manager, by 1998. Moyes led Preston to promotion from Division 2 to Division 1 and, incredibly, the Premiership playoffs the following season. This Deepdale odyssey was Moyes’s finest hour and it led him all the way into the open gates of Goodison Park. Everton manager Walter Ferguson Smith, to give him his proper name, had also been a sh** player like Moyes. And like his Old Trafford namesake, and like Moyes himself, he’d grown up in Glasgow and supported Rangers as a lad. Smith’s dream came true when he was awarded the Rangers job in 1991. Cash-laden Rangers had a 50% chance of winning every domestic trophy, enabling Smith to furnish his CV above and beyond his true capabilities. He was taken on by Everton as a direct result of this fakery and proved utterly useless in a real league against actual decent football teams.
The story goes that Smith was conned into taking the Everton job by false promises of unlimited cash. During his time at Rangers he’d spent £50 million, more than any other British manager in that period. Smith’s eyes must have lit up at the prospect of more of same, but he not only didn’t receive the funds, he was forced to turn up to compete in a real league every week – something he’d never done before. No surprise then, with Everton mired for three years in the lower half of the table that the young mountain climber David Moyes looked every bit the man to take over.
One cannot help but wonder how long ago the links in this Glaswegian chain of Rangers men first became aware of their commonalities. Smith’s short time as Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Old Trafford led to the Scotland job, while Moyes had set about giving Everton their best finish in ages, a feat that earned him the LMA Manager of the Year award in 2003.
It isn’t good enough. Not for Manchester United. TOP REDZ keep comparing Moyes’s appointment to Ferguson’s in 1986, but the situation couldn’t be more different. United were sh** in 1986, Old Trafford was half its current size, and the English First Division was won by Everton, with Liverpool as runners-up. Norwich finished fifth. United occupied the 21st spot when Fergie took over, and he managed to drag their drunk arses up to 11th by season’s end. Ferguson has already proved himself a winner, smashing apart the Old Firm’s jealous grip on the Scottish Premier League top spot, and winning the European Cup Winners Cup with Aberdeen. These are Grade A credentials. It’s easy to say United knew what they were doing when they gave Fergie the job, but they at least had something of real substance to go on.
The idea of bringing Moyes to United was that he’d done so well with lesser clubs and lesser money he couldn’t help but be amazing once he had the tools at his disposal. Unfortunately he and Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward cocked their first transfer window up so badly they ended up scrambling around on deadline day like a pissed up fat c*** at 2 am whose mates have all copped off and gone home. Woodward is a Glazer man with ideas of bonding with the United faithful, no easy task. His support of the much-touted “singing section” is a case in point; those who consider themselves proper fans don’t mind relocating there, but getting them to say “thanks” to Ed the Ted may prove more difficult. He was one of the Glazer family’s advisors during their leveraged buyout of United after all.
Some Twitter wit tweeted “The new booing section is working out well”, last weekend, after Nani was booed off, and a legion of TOP REDZ was quick to wear their apathy on their sleeves by making it clear they’d NEVER boo “one of our own”. Why the f*** not?
Perhaps the best is yet to come. There’s whispers of a “Baines Conspiracy”, in which United’s much-loved Rafael da Silva is being edged out in favour of another of Moyes’s old chestnuts from Toffeeland. I would advise Moyes to think carefully about this. He’s already dismissed a massively respected backroom staff without a thought to the fans’ feelings on the matter. If he sells Rafael and fails to deliver the goods with his own ideas, he’ll feel the wind change at Old Trafford. Manchester people are very old-fashioned northerners deep down, unlike scousers. It won’t be pleasant.
Yes, we’re currently “a resurgent United” but football is never easy. Unless you’re in charge of Rangers with unlimited funds, that is, like the bloke Moyes replaced on the managerial merry-go-round at Everton. It’s interesting, the knock-on effects and weird triangulations that alter men’s destinies. Knart-a-meen, Tatlock?