Man United: If Giggs Goes & Moyes Doesn't, It'll Be The Final Straw
With all of the attention on banners at Old Trafford, this season, whether attached to the Stretford End or the back of an aeroplane, it is worth remembering that not all of them are painfully embarrassing to the vast majority of Manchester United fans. There hangs a tribute to one of the club's greatest ever players, in the opposite end to the infamous 'Moyes Out' monstrosity. 'Giggs. Tearing You Apart Since 1991' it reads, in reference to the song the crowd sings, to the tune of Joy Division's timeless classic.
For those who remain fond of excusing David Moyes' catastrophic tenure by making comparisons with Sir Alex Ferguson's early difficulties in the role, it is worth recollecting that when the latter strode into Old Trafford, as Manchester United manager, for the first time, he discovered a dishevelled, drink-addled, sleeping giant. Legend has it that the dressing room he inherited from Ron Atkinson was rammed, wall-to-wall, with players running amok on an easy wage. Ferguson wasted no time in laying down the law, introducing a new regime of discipline, hard work and respect for the shirt, in a storm of hairdryers and flying tea-cups. It wasn't long before he wielded his axe and removed some of the ring-leaders in a sign of the ruthlessness that became a hallmark of his glorious rule.
Twenty six years later, David Moyes entered the same stadium with the apologetic air of a tramp being given the keys to a stately home, having just won the Euromillions; the human embodiment of wide-eyed, landed-on-my-feet surprise at his own ridiculous good fortune.
He was quick to wax lyrical about the squad he was inheriting from one of football's most successful managers, insisting that Manchester United would continue to challenge for honours. Then, in the first of many shocking and deeply worrying decisions he was to make, he swept away Ferguson's back room staff on a wave of unearned arrogance.
David Moyes' dismantling job had begun in earnest.
As things began to unravel on the pitch and the team that won last season's Premier League title by eleven points and narrowly lost a Champions League tie against the mighty Real Madrid morphed into a callow, pathetic imitation of their former selves, Moyes turned on them, contradicting his early effusiveness with statements criticising a lack of world class players in the squad, thus laying the foundations of his now tired excuse about the desperate need to rebuild a dynasty he, himself, has destroyed.
Players who excelled, last term, have been ground down like spices in a pestle and mortar; over-played or returned from the treatment table with negligent haste in further shows of the manager's desperation.
Rumours of discord have been ever-present since Moyes took charge, with Robin van Persie, last season's stand-out performer, chief among them. Now United fans anticipate the Dutchman's departure, with Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra and possibly Rafael joining him. So much trophy-winning experience to be cast asunder in a wholly unnecessary purge of still exceptional, if ageing talent.
Add to all of this the Scot's shocking and unacceptable assertion that Manchester City are the kind of team United should aspire to be and his billing of Liverpool, the arch enemy, as favourites when they visited Old Trafford, and it becomes increasingly obvious that David Moyes simply does not understand what is required of a Manchester United manager.
As if the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and the departure of David Gill, last summer, wasn't upheaval enough for the club, Moyes seems intent on destroying his predecessor's empire, brick by brick. He has created a narrative of a creaking squad in need of wholesale change, in a vain attempt to mask his own staggering failure.
Moyes was meant to be the safe option; a seamless transition; cut from the same cloth; a steady pair of hands. Now, suddenly, war chests are required and Manchester United no longer feels like Manchester United.
Rumours that Ryan Giggs will be severing his ties with the club he has become synonymous with, this summer, seem too frequent and noisy to ignore. To see him leave, while Moyes remains, would be the final straw for many.
As we approach the end of this season of unfathomable deterioration and misery, United fans could be forgiven for adding one more banner to the Theatre of Dreams' collection: 'Moyes. Tearing Manchester United Apart Since July 2013.'