Moyes a victim of results business

Moyes a victim of results business

Moyes a victim of results business

Moyes a victim of results business
David Moyes is the fall guy for Manchester United’s failed season. Maybe he should not walk alone.

The club is a $3-billion enterprise run from across the Atlantic. 

There is little doubt that the Glazer family, who borrowed to buy United a decade ago, knows that business is the bottom line.
The brand depends on the team. 

If the team fails, not simply in wins and losses but in the style expected by ManU’s global fan base, the profits go into reverse.

The Glazers knew very well that the team required major surgery. 

But clearly, they no longer trust, if they ever did, that Moyes was the man to spend upward of $250 million to buy the players to fix the broken team.

We might say that the owners did not give the team manager much of a sporting (or fair) chance.

They signed him up to a six-year contract and terminated that after less than one year, or even one season. 

His compensation will be fiscal, his pain shows in a physical way on his lined facial features.

Football is a results business, goes the crude maxim of this sport. 

And the American owners have acted in consort with half the Premier League, whose 20 clubs have paid off 10 managers or head coaches in this season alone. But United was supposed to be different. 

The longevity enjoyed by its previous manager, Alex Ferguson, is legendary. 

His 26 years in the post more than matched even the tenure enjoyed by another famous Scot, Matt Busby, in two spells between 1945 and 1971.

But if the owners no longer trust Moyes, what must they feel about Ferguson, who recommended his own successor and who is a board member, alongside Bobby Charlton, an icon of a player? 

Those two men pleaded long and hard for Moyes to be given time -- six years of it -- to reconstruct the playing squad.

Ferguson had run it on fiery personality, on instinct, on know-how. He had followed Busby’s line that a United side had to be cavalier and daring, and never say die. 

The Red Devils nickname had to be seen even in hard times. Moyes came with a granite-like personality. His Everton teams ground out results. 

They had less ability, less ego, but no less spirit.

If we now accept that 10 months was long enough to call him a flop at Old Trafford, then who does the Glazer family turn to next? 

And who will advise it? This is the first time in two decades that United has failed to qualify for the Champions League.

That means lost revenue in the region of $100 million. But it might mean much more, because if the club cannot attract the right calibre of star players going forward, the global business will suffer.

We might like or loathe it, but football at this level is more business than sport. Yes, a team has to play. 

Yes, a United team has to entertain. But there are no guarantees of loyalty in, say Asia, America or even Africa, where the profit comes first from marketing replica shirts, and then from selling everything from toiletries to tissue paper bearing the brand. 

Only a handful of clubs do this to the tune of billions of dollars. 

The Manchester teams, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Chelsea and Real Madrid are out there opening up commercial avenues to promote themselves.
Liverpool is on the brink of recapturing lost allure, and a lost following stretching to East Asia. 

And Liverpool’s ownership, also American, is wasting no time in fixing up exhibition games in Dublin and Mauritius this side of the World Cup, followed by a post-World Cup tour of the United States, where games are scheduled for Chicago, New York and Charlotte, North Carolina.

John Smith, who led Liverpool through its glory years from the 1970s to 1990, told me: “It’s the board’s job to choose a manager. We support him through thick and thin because this is the hardest job in the world.”

“We try to get 11 individuals believing in the same thing while everybody else is trying to knock you off your stride,” he added.

Manchester United is struggling to replace talent. 

It knew that Ferguson would retire some day, but let him go at the same time that David Gill, the chief executive, stood down. 

Gill’s successor, Ed Woodward, qualified in accountancy, knows about numbers.

Whether he and Moyes as a pair knew how to cut deals in a pool infested with sharp agents is a question the owners needed to know a year back.

Moyes did not fail alone. Players let him down. Replacements were not hired, or did not fit in. The owners would be naive to believe that firing one man fixes everything.

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