WHAT a few weeks: two of Liverpool’s greatest enemies finally get their coats and bugger off.
Last month it was the Trotskyite reds who threw up their hands and had a street party. This month it’s the turn of the footballing Reds to break out the bunting and dance up and down Lime Street. As Mrs T once famously said: rejoice.
When Ferguson arrived United were hungry,
now, they are well fed and used to finest of
fare. The champions will want to be
champions again, and Moyes will have
challenges that Ferguson never faced
Sir Alex has finally gone and it’s not just the shareholders of Wrigley’s Extra who are looking worried, it’s most of the blue half of Merseyside, and they aren’t chewing gum, they’re chewing nails.
The news channels went into meltdown on Wednesday, even CNBC got into the act by asking what might happen to the Man U share price when Fergie folded. Pundits speculated and newsreaders took on a tone not seen since the Queen Mother passed away. It wasn’t just football, it was matter of life and death.
Would it be Jose? Would it be Pepe? Exotic names that conjured up images of European sophistication and flair, balmy Champions League nights under San Siro lights; football as smooth as warm honey spread over the green carpet like a sultry starlet beckoning you with moist lips.
Would it be them? No, it’ll some bloke called Dave, who is about a sultry as my mate Jimmy who once stuck a frozen sausage up his bum to calm down his piles: ie not very.
I like David Moyes, I think he has been great for Everton FC, the man has given his all, he’s pushed, pulled and prodded life into a club that looked ready for the knackers yard when he took over. Everton were skint (okay they still are but bear with me), they had a poor squad and they were hovering around the drop zone after jettisoning another dour Glaswegian - Walter Smith.
It seemed like seconds later David Unsworth scored and Everton were on the way into a new era, a brighter place. Moyes seemed to grip the club and give it a stern talking-to, in much the same was as he did to Jesper Blomqvist who dared to pull a face after being substituted early on in his era. This was a man on a mission, not a man to be meddled with.
Some say Wayne Rooney did more for Everton than David Moyes, and there is some basis to that argument. In Moyes’s first full season a 16-year-old Rooney enthused a team with the verve and swagger that only a genius could possess. Together they lifted Everton to seventh place. The Blues dared to dream, the only way was up.
Except it wasn’t. Those dreams were shattered the next season, 17th place and business as usual. The radio phone-ins weren’t exactly a case of “Moyes out” but a few callers were glancing towards the door.
Both Moyes and Rooney learned from the second tough season. Moyes tactically and Rooney with the realisation that boyhood dreams don’t always come true. If he wanted medals he had two choices: either marry the Queen or join a bigger club. In the end Fergie came a-calling and faster than you could say “dodgy agent” Rooney was gone, leaving behind him nothing but great memories and something in the region of £27 million.
Moyes took that money (or what was left after Bill paid the bills) and set out to create the People’s Club we see today. Players have come and gone, there have been highs and occasional lows, but nobody could argue against the fact that against all odds, David Moyes made Everton a better club than the one he walked into all those years ago.
He’s done a lot for Everton, but, I’m afraid to say, he ain’t no Alex Ferguson; not yet anyway.
Atkinson hadn’t done a bad job at Old Trafford, truth is, many clubs in the country would have named a stand after the man who won them two FA Cups in three years. But that wasn’t going to happen to Big Ron, chiefly because up in that stand, casting a shadow across the pitch, sat a man who was more Red Devil that Lucifer himself, Sir Matt Busby.
Poor old Ron, and the managers who had gone before him, were on a hiding to nothing unless they brought home the trophies that counted. Only the League or European Cup would be enough to make Busby happy, and if Busby wasn’t happy, you got a phone call you didn’t want to get. Ferguson’s secret was to out-Busby Busby. He was dour (what Scotsman isn’t?) he was tough, he had the Glasgow background and most importantly he had the belief, the confidence, and the authority to carry the club and its history, out of the shadows.
Does David Moyes have all that?
On the surface the similarities are striking. Aside from the obvious Scottish connections, few would doubt that Moyes will have the strength of character to remain standing on the touchline when all around the stadium look to The Shadow in the stands to gauge his reaction to a poor performance. In any case, I doubt Moyes will have much to fear from his old friend, Fergie: it’s well known that the two men get on well.
But will the stadium be as forgiving as Fergie as the new manager finds his feet? I fear not.When Ferguson arrived United were hungry, now, they are well fed and used to finest of fare. The champions would want to be champions again, and Moyes will have challenges that Ferguson never faced.
Old friends and old foes:
Moyes and Rooney'The Glazers might fancy a man who has made ends meet, but the fans may not. Will Moyes be able to demand the transfer fees that Ferguson could? Probably not, and it is fair to say that he’ll need them.
How long can Giggs hold back the clock? Scholes and Ferdinand will soon be due for replacement, if not hip replacement.
Will Rooney want to come under the thumb of the man his ghostwriter described as “overbearing and controlling”? The hatchet might be buried when they are apart, but where will it be if they are together?
The ambition and self-belief that Moyes has is what makes him special, it will give him little cause to doubt whether he is the right man for the job. He’ll be desperate to take over one of the biggest clubs in the world and build his own legend, overshadow The Shadow until one day he sits looking down, listening to the fans sing his name.
It’s just a shame it won’t be at Goodison Park. Unless of course, he comes back after he is sacked at the end of next season?