The past week has been rather difficult for this fan to blog anything about Manchester United. There was an inevitability about the game against the Bitters on Tuesday that left me powerless to write a preview or review. More than anything though, this past week has been about the manager.
David Moyes has officially replaced Danny Welbeck as the most divisive figure at Manchester United. Of the 659 million United fans on the planet, you could almost get half in the pro Moyes camp and the other half in the anti Moyes group. Of the two sentiments, the anti-Moyes one has been steadily winning over converts throughout the season. In fact, almost every bad result has seen a few thousand join it whilst the pro Moyes camp has not benefitted much from the few good results we've posted this season.
The increase in the anti-Moyes subscribers has this past week seen to the first public protest against the club management by fans. In a bid to challenge the Chosen One banner at the Stretford End, a plane would be hired to fly over Old Trafford with the words 'WrongOne--Moyes Out'. That plan came to fruition yesterday in the lunchtime kickoff against Aston Villa.
Crucially for the manager, that other pro Moyes camp is predominantly made up of season ticket holders and generally matchday going Reds. It's why when the aforementioned plane took to the Manchester skies, the stadium erupted in a chorous of boos. There's divisive for you.
While this blog has not particulary declared to which camp it belongs, it is not to suggest that all is well from this viewpoint. David Moyes will at least get another transfer window and 6 months before his position becomes untenable. Until then, no amount of planes in the sky will force the Board's hand. What remains for us is to will the team on to better days. That though has to be counter balanced with some expectations from the prevailing management.
Case in point: David Moyes should not expect many fans to stand by him if he's going to be coming up with comments like he's been doing all season in his press briefs. The nadir was this week when, after the City game, he asserted that we, Manchester United, aspire to get to the level that City are at. Whereas to a neutral, it is easy to see where he was coming from and what he meant, it gets personal when it comes to derbies and seeing our own manager place us below our less successful neighbours is a poke in the eye. Regardless of the merits of your argument, you do not say that as a Manchester United manager. You simply do not.
Just when you thought it was a PR hiccup that we would all get past, on Friday, the boss came up with the latest excuse in a bid to further explain away United's season. He claimed that even Sir Alex would have struggled to get anything much out of this squad. Without explaining myself on this point, logically Moyes is wrong because Sir Alex made an £80m less squad champions last season. How we've become worse by adding to it defeats basic reasoning.
The point here is not to slate the manager or anything, but to merely point out that it is difficult enough watching the team play this season but reading the paper should not be as difficult. The boss needs to come to terms with the media responsibilities of being a United manager. He is now more quottable than he will ever be in his career so it helps that comments and responses are calculated to a level akin to a head of state of a global power, because in football, that is exactly what Manchester United are.
On a lighter side, we actually scored 4 goals at Old Trafford yesterday. That it is hard to remember the last time we scored 4 in the league at home tells its own story. The performance was nothing to write home about but Mata scored at the Stretford End for his first United goal and that in itself made everybody's day.
As if we haven't struggled enough against lesser opposition, the European Champions visit on Tuesday seeking to make the second leg an irrelevance. Quite how David Moyes fares against Pep Guardiola will make for amusing viewing. Strange things do happen in football, but there comes a fixture where strange goes out the window and normal service prevails.