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Fans Comment
Stephen Ferns

Moyes is a Good Manager
14 April 2006

There seems to be a massive debate going on here about our manager. I say debate as it's more of a cheap slanging match with people point scoring and using results to beat each other about in the same way most of us do with Blue wins / Red losses to our less intelligent friends.

As far as I am concerned, and I believe all of my match-going buddies feel the same, Moyes is a good manager who we wish to see in charge for the foreseeable future. Note I did not say he is a great manager. In my opinion he is prone to mistakes. He makes baffling decisions with team selection and substitutions and more. But he does seem to get more right than wrong.

At first he was a breath of fresh air and most of us got carried away and thought he was a Moses-style figure to lead us to the Promised Land. Many have since struggled with the fact that hes not by either being in denial or suddenly berating his every bad decision.

We dont have much money, we all know that. Our reputation, bar last seasons revival, has taken a battering over the last 20 years. We are no longer a big club. We cant attract big-name players and weve lost some of our best players over the last ten years. Most painful was Bambi and Rooney.

So how do you turn things around and return to the summit? There is only one way, with a great slice of luck and a lot of hard work. We need a miracle. So, whilst we wait for this to happen, why not concentrate on taking small steps towards success? There are obvious leagues within leagues at the moment, as others have pointed out. Next season I expect Tottenham to still be strong, Bolton should still be top 8 quality. Wigan, West Ham and Blackburn could easily drop right down the league next season. Whilst Man City, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Villa and ourselves could be as capable of a top 6 finish as bottom 6 finish.

The middle bunch of teams are pretty much all as good as each other and a lot of results depend upon luck, injuries and confidence. Therefore, it is very easy for a team to be roller-coaster up and down the league. Moyes is learning to be more conservative with regards to his team selection. Last season, I believed that there were players on the pitch who refused to lose. It did not matter what the score was once we got into the last minutes these players knew they would not lose and managed to turn many defeats into draws or even victories. Id single Stubbs, Weir, Gravesen, and Carsley out in particular.

I remember the Bolton victory when we losing 2-1 and it seemed that Bolton were bullying us out of the game. The turning point for me was Weir winning a tackle and bringing the ball forward and trying to make things happen, two or three times he drove us forward and this lead to us winning a free-kick and Gravesen scoring. You could see in the players eyes that they did not want accept defeat.

It's not been the same this season and Moyess substitutions and team selection have been baffling. But consider the Bolton game Ive just mentioned. It was 4-4-2 that day with the usual 4-5-1 ditched to allow Ferguson to come in for Ossie. It clearly was not working so Moyes took off Cahill and Kilbane, bringing on Ossie and McFadden. If we had lost Moyes would have been lambasted for taking off two of our best players (Kilbane was doing well back then) and brining on two tricky ball players against big strong Bolton who had the beating of us through the middle. However, it worked.

If Moyes was a player he would be akin to Yobo. He is capable of brilliance and prone to mistakes. But hes becoming more and more consistent. For me his worst game as manager. Whilst he cant be responsible for the catastrophic defending, he could have influenced the game with better substitutions and a better attempt of putting the reigns on some of the midfielders. We played that game as if it was a one-legged tie. Someone should have tried to tell the players that to have lost 2-1 or even 3-1 still gave us a good chance at home. You cant blame the manger when all the team goes walkabout, but you can ask questions when it happens a second, and third and then fourth time.

I think Moyes is a good manager. The club is moving in the right direction, and I believe it will continue to do so. For us to win something under Moyes will take a great deal of luck. But West Ham and Boro are in with a shout, so it's possible we could get a cup win. League-wise, I think last season was the pinnacle under Moyes. I expect a splattering of finshes of the next few season of between 6th and 12th. As long as we can consolidate and establish ourselves as a perennial European contender, I dont think we can complain too much.

Stephen Ferns


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