The future looks red for David Moyes and his modest ways

January 7, 2013 in Premier League

Predicting the future can be a dangerous business, particularly in football. One can be left nursing a serious case of ‘egg on face’. Nevertheless, some predictions look more plausible than others, such as Jonny Evans becoming a future Sunderland captain, and Mario Balotelli ending up in prison for attempting to replicate Eric Cantona’s infamous karate kick. Add to that the plight of David Moyes and a couple of his Everton cast, and suddenly I don’t look so zany after all.

Moyes

As one of the most underrated managers since the Premier League sprouted its first spot, it’s no wonder that scouring the internet for a decent piece on the Scotsman leads to a dead end (if someone can prove me wrong, I’d be delighted to read it). But, having surpassed expectation almost every season he’s been in charge at Goodison Park and having continued to skirt around the borders of the PL radar, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t speculate as to what the future holds for the Glaswegian.

A man as modest and low key as Moyes shan’t be finding himself anywhere near Stamford Bridge, so we can rule that one out early on. Similarly, one might argue that given Arsenal’s recent free fall from Champions League finalists to a side gasping to make the top 4, moving to the Emirates wouldn’t be much of a step up from Everton, who are often knocking on Arsene Wenger’s door in challenge for that position; a remarkable feat considering the measly budget Moyes has to work with. Tottenham would fall under the same bracket. That leaves Manchester. With City’s riches and a refusal to do anything without a huge ‘LOOK AT US’ stamped all over it, Moyes wouldn’t be their cup of tea. But, perhaps pining after a little more milk and less of the darker, hot stuff, would be Manchester United, whose current messiah seems to be writing the last few chapters of a glorious novel, one that might see a slightly bitter denouement.

The signs of senility are there for all to see in Sir Alex Ferguson. Claims that Robin van Persie “could have been killed” by a rogue clearance from Swansea’s Ashley Williams helped to make a valid point, but also blew a minor incident into the stratosphere. It’s always been something of Ferguson’s nature to get others into trouble, kind of like a playground bully who fails to recognise his own wrongdoings in favour of making a mockery out of others. Once upon a time, such a fragile and ferocious argument would be taken rather more seriously by us, the people, and the FA, the robots - two parties who would, of course, hold contrasting views. A previous outcome may well have seen Williams brandished with a multiple-game ban, but now? Nobody takes much notice of that silly old man.

Sir Alex’s achievements will never be understated, solely because they shouldn’t be. Whatever you think about the man, as a football person he is one of the greats. Unrivalled success with Manchester United, years and years of dominance in a league heralded as the best in the world, and the production of some of the game’s wonders. Not bad for a couple decades work, eh? But no man can last forever, not in football, and it’s a testament to the man’s genius that he has avoided all speculation surrounding his job, with the exception of possible retirement. It was the 2001-02 season when Ferguson announced he was to retire at the conclusion, only for that to be put off entirely. Inside, everyone knew that was never to happen. Fergie still had so much to offer. This time, things are different, and the general consensus reads it is time he shuffled off serenely.

That is where Moyes comes in. There seems to be few better suited to succeeding one of football’s greatest. A personality that couldn’t be more different, someone who wouldn’t overshadow the success Fergie has achieved no matter how he fared. Someone who wouldn’t go knocking on doors and shouting ‘I’m the manager of Manchester United!” from the rooftops. His Everton side, with very little money invested in it, play the most fearless and dedicated brand of football you’ll see in the Premier League. No team, not even Manchester City with all their celebrities and big-timers, instill any sort of doubt into the Everton structure. Quality, if understated and unrecognised, runs throughout their team; Leighton Baines is now viewed as one of the best left-backs in the world; Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin would do a sterling job for any team in the top flight; Leon Osman recently won his first cap for England, and Nikica Jelavic stirred interest from Liverpool among others before deciding to join the blue half of Merseyside. These are players who have all realised their potential under Moyes. Would Moyes be able to adjust to spending big money on world-class players at United? With an eye for gems and motivational man-management skills, therein lies your answer.

Moreover, the likelihood of Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines following Moyes to Manchester would be rather high. Fellaini has already publicly voiced his desire to move on to bigger and better things, and Baines, being talked about as he is, will surely look to widen his horizons also. United have been keen observers recently. A regular starting place for Roy Hodgson’s England would beckon should he decide to take the next step in what is a very bright career for the 28-year old.

A more modest approach wouldn’t go amiss either for United, whose wily old manager is starting to take some of the gloss off an otherwise immaculate exterior with senile comments directed elsewhere. Behind the scenes problems will of course rumble on at Old Trafford, especially while the Glazers remain at the helm, but with Moyes in charge of team affairs, everything would be safe and cosy. Place your bets now.

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