Earlier in the week we thought that Sunday’s game against the ‘Ammers was going to be all about the prestigious ‘race for sixth place’, but it’s fair to say that events have overtaken us somewhat with the announcement that David Moyes is going to be the next manager of Manchester United.
We’ve said all along on this here blog that he would be leaving at the end of the season – his behaviour has made that crystal clear – but very few people will probably ever know just when he was sure he was going to land the big one. The timing of events does seem a little odd – you get the impression that Alex Ferguson and United have been hurried slightly, either by the threat of a leak or, perhaps, simply because the Scot wanted to have one last home game in charge that will be a celebration of him and his career.
That all leaves Everton in the slightly unusual position of having a manager in charge for their final fixtures who is already betrothed to someone else. How you choose to view that is up to yourself really, and is probably coloured by your overall opinion of Moyes. It’s either a slight on Everton and makes us look somehow ‘smalltime’ or, maybe, it’s just a more grown-up way of handling things than we normally see in British football.
There’s no need here to go over just how important Moyes has been to Everton over the last decade or so – he’s transformed the club so completely that it’s actually got to the point where his work is taken for granted. He has shaped the club through sheer force of will at times and what is concerning is that his absence leaves us with Bill Kenwright on the verge of tears and talking about going home to have a cup of tea and see the dogs. Moyes has been the one leader at Everton and all the board have really done is keep him sweet and let him crack on – that’s worked, and it’s perhaps the ideal way to run a club, but it makes succession planning a prickly task.
And the key word there is ‘planning’, because surely to fuck they have known that Moyes wasn’t going to stay on beyond this summer. To hear Kenwright talking now about assessing candidates is frightening. You can only hope that it’s all a front – perhaps because we don’t want to act like United and be seen to be approaching someone already in a job – and that a new manager is already lined up. You know all the names in the hat already – do any of them fill you with any confidence?
Whoever it is faces a very different but maybe just as daunting a task as Moyes does in his new role. At least at Old Trafford Moyes will have tons of support from within – at Everton you get the impression that the new man will be given a pass for the car park, get told where the fire exits are and then all eyes will be on him with pleading looks of ‘Well, what do we do now then boss?’
Maybe that’s unfair to the Blues, but that’s the impression they give at the moment. Kenwright or even Robert Elstone needs to be ‘on the front foot’ here and projecting the image at least that some cunt is in charge, even if it’s just to give the next manager a chance. He has to look like the man they have had earmarked for ages, not simply ‘the easiest one to get at short notice’ like Walter Smith. He’s hobbled straight out of the gate if they do that.
There’s a time and a place for Kenwright’s homespun ‘luvviness’ and this is absolutely not it.
As for Moyes and United, well, they are getting an outstanding manager who will almost certainly be a success there. It will be interesting to see how he copes with instantly becoming one of the most famous people in the world and front page news, but he has shown while dealing with some big challenges at Everton that he is a very quick learner and brilliant at adapting. He’s certainly a far better choice for United than Jose Mourinho – Rafa in nicer knitwear – and why fans of any club, never mind a proper one like United, are so desperate to touch the hem of that poisonous little narcissist’s garment is a perpetual mystery.
There are certainly interesting times ahead for all concerned.