Tabula Rasa

AT various times this season you were warned, warned by everyone who puts pen to paper in the name of Manchester United, that it would get worse before it gets better. Yesterday was the beginning of the end of the “getting worse” part. The first game under the stewardship of Ryan Giggs wasn’t the total transformation and complete rebirth that many had hoped for, that was too much to ask, but it showed enough.

There was enough made of the implied change in spirit, mood and dare I say it, direction, that the actual change was always going to be slower. Donkey David banished, the Class of ’92 come back to steer the ship and under the favourite son Ryan Giggs, the direction is always going to be seen as forward even if it isnt.

There’s a pic of Evra smiling, oh and David and he’s smiling too, there’s a picture of Robin Van Persie and, well betya by golly wow he’s smiling. Yes, we get it, everyone is happy, taking special note of the ones that gave clues to the unrest… smiles all round. Message understood. Everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet now, everyone is UNITED  y’know, just in case the subtlety is lost.

For most of the season it’s looked so utterly rudderless out there and there and for all the previous manager may have had an idea what to do it never really seemed that way, so something else, anything else would do.

Happier than the Pharrell song. Smiling. Get it?

Ryan and his team are in a win win situation. There are only a handful of games to play, it’s not possible to achieve much more than victories in all of them; even in that case the points at the end would still be the lowest since Noah were a lad or whenever the stats say, all sources say he isn’t being considered for the job full time so Ryan Giggs and every member of his staff can walk away with their status undiminished. Getting that job is “the proudest moment” and it’s one that will cost Giggs nothing and benefit him greatly.

It’s a tabula rasa, a blank slate, the questions are being asked and plans are being made, somewhere deep inside Old Trafford somebody in a suit is talking to someone in a foreign country about things we don’t know yet, polishing a compass that he holds in his sleeve… all of that will come in its own time.

For now, the change was swift and merciless, and on the face of it, it has worked, the closer inspection is for someone else’s eye. GTS

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David Moyes: Sacked

I hope everyone had a nice Easter break, because the world of Manchester United is about to get crazy, and beware; this has already been one messed up season.

This morning, just about thirty minutes ago in fact, the mighty chipmunks of Old Trafford have removed David Moyes from his position as manager and in doing so, months of dire results, half assed performances and growing unrest have been brought to an end. Or so we hope.

Two things come immediately to mind;

 a)   After the confirmation that we could not qualify for the Champions League next year, financially it is a descision the Chipmunks have to make. The money men have spoken and it’s easier to write off a year’s salary to David than it is to continually watch a powerhouse become the laughing stock’s laughing stock.

deux)   Read the official statement from Manchester United;  It seems to me that David Moyes has been totally, unequivocally, mercilessly, thrown under the bus.

The official statement is;

Manchester United has announced that David Moyes has left the Club.

The Club would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role.

That’s it. I refreshed the page twice to see if it had loading issues.  I don’t know what more I expected and really I don’t know what more they could have included but they could have written that on the back of a stamp. It gives no news on Ryan Giggs, Chris Woods, nothing else. By all accounts they made David turn up to training this morning too, we did that when I was a manager at a well known media company; we told this guy he had to come in and sign a document, he didn’t, we just needed him on the premises so that the suits could fire him.

Still, I feel for David Moyes this morning. A lot of the problems were of his own making, an Everton friend said to me that for ten years Moyes was brilliant for them and in the eleventh year he was tactically clueless, something which my friend believed followed him to Manchester. There he may have a point, some of his tactics can be questioned but the fact remains he was curator in someone else’s gallery; it was essentially someone else’s team and the previous manager created a lot of the issues David had to deal with. Sir Alex Ferguson should be held accountable for his part but let’s be fair, it was a distant elephant, it was a fair way off and no one looks too close at the mechanics when the car is winning races do they? You do not want a mirror at the dentist.

Now, the elephant has crushed us, stomped us into mid table and before the rebuilding money gets handed out the chipmunks must find a guiding hand that they trust with the purse and the future. Please god make it someone who can just turn up and get on with it, without the seventy six trombones and the media frenzy announcing a second coming-esque new era. Can I also ask that Sir Alex Ferguson be nowhere near the meetings about who the new man will be, there can be no sentiment here, nowhere near, I mean it… the new manager is discussed, send Sir Alex to make tea for everyone, please.

Acting now CAN make this season a blip on the radar rather than something bigger, only time will tell. Sorry, David.

GTS

Rooney, Songs and Perfect Jogging

The pomp and occasion that would meet the occasion of United’s first home game under a new manager missing a little on Monday night. Maybe it died a death in a shallow grave under the Wayne Rooney issue, because I don’t buy that it was a sleepy affair because it came so soon into the season. You watch United against Liverpool and see whether that’s even remotely half arsed. In fairness it got better in the second half and wasn’t as sleep inducing on the television as I remember it being in person but still.

Wayne Rooney was professional, nothing more. He was cheered though and the Chelsea fans clearly enjoyed adding his name to their repertoire. Whether they actually want him I don’t know but no team in their right mind would turn him down. He makes a squad or a team stronger. The fact he played at all and was subbed, said a lot. I think United have done what they needed to do here. A lot of fans seem to think anyone will stay at their club for reasons mirroring their own dedication to the team. In this day and age that is unlikely. Wayne Rooney will not have found a deep love for Manchester United if he hasn’t already got one. He’s probably not had an epiphany, he’s had a look at his contract and counted the bonus he is on for loyalty and not submitting a formal transfer request. That story is in the Daily Mirror and I have no doubt that it, or something like it has dawned in our number 10’s organically stitched previously marble melon. He thanked us for our response, but we are a smart lot and we realise that unless horrifically injured, Wayne Rooney in your side is better than Wayne Rooney out of it; whoever he was trying to make the point to.

Monday night put that boy Wayne centre stage and yes he ran everywhere and tried, but it shouldn’t mask the real team issues. When will we leave Ryan Giggs on the bench as a coach and give the job of ignighting the team’s spark to someone else? Pip Nev has retired so we won’t see him in there if Anderson ever puffs out his cheeks and needs to depart the action, knackered, by the sixth minute mark. The fact that Ryan hasn’t retired and we can still call on him, doesn’t mean we always should. It’s a double edged sword, like in music where you may agree that no one will ever get close to the impact of the Beatles but that realisation might also make you a little sad. Can no one even get close by now? Not to his record or his legacy maybe but, someone needs to step up and create their own.

‘Tis the season for change, after all. GTS

Doing A Fleetwood Mac

DAVID Moyes looked like a happy man on Saturday evening: United had just won so well he might. There was an important first, David Moyes won a league match with Manchester United and although that sounds small, it really wasn’t. Except to anyone else but him.

The knives were out and sharpened before Saturday night, as far back as the league fixtures annoucement. People are waiting for him to fail, they’d be happy with a stumble or two but they’d be practically orgasmic with failure. The fixtures in the opening weeks give the vultures a few chances for a stumble and paragraphs are probably already ready to be pasted in. Moyes gave a post match interview that acknowledged how important the win was but made light of the weight it could have carried. He was correct, he had won games of football with Everton and had to do the same thing with his new team, albeit more frequently now. He showed and has shown remarkable level headedness because if you listen to some it’s a wonder he gets out of bed to go to work. He replaced an institution and is never going to live up to those previous heights, it seems that for his sanity and his career, it’s best not to go near that legacy and instead do a Fleetwood Mac. Go your own way.

Yes we know it’s on a scale he knows nothing about but he has bitter European dissapoinrment, he has fostered great team spirit and he has managed in a city where the team across the city were on there local perch. Add to that the fact he can pull a good face on the sidelines and gives Geoff Shreeves a jokey stern talking to and he’s doing okay. He doesn’t need any more pressure, he’s doing well to act like there is none on him at all. The pressure he has is that which he always, he is surrounded by people who are steeped in the tradition of Manchester United, it is okay to leaver that to them and get on with his job.

As for Saturday, Swansea played well but not for the first time Robin Van Persie did enough to make the difference, his impact allowed the rest of the team the time and space to go on and get the job done. Danny Welbeck made a great start and his second goal was as delightful as any you will see this month. Part of me thinks David Moyes is on a hiding to nothing unless he wins every game in his first month by three clear goals or some similarly crushing margin. If United had beaten Swansea only by the two quick goals in the first half, people would have been saying well yeah but we weren’t convincing enough, in fact there will still be some this week who are of this opinion. It was three points, we move on and we go again.

Put eleven players on the pitch every time they are required, the challenge will take care of itself.

‘We have gained some confidence from this result, but  it’s only the first game. It is just the beginning.’

So says Pat Evra, so say all of us, GTS