In a game of Top Trumps you’d always rather play the Jose Mourinho card than that of David Moyes. Whether it's trophies won, career win ratios, charisma or experience, having Jose would leave you feeling pretty confident. Real Madrid’s sultry, spectacular coach would top the ratings on just about everything.
On paper, the Special One is a superior manager to the 50-year-old Scot. However, it will soon be Moyes that takes over at Manchester United, not Mourinho. Is that a surprise? In many ways it is, because the arguments against Everton’s soon-to-be-former boss are obvious.
The Glaswegian has never got his hands on a major trophy as a manager. He’s never worked with a budget that’s remotely comparable to United’s. He isn’t known for producing expansive football. And, most crucially of all, you could (literally) write the totality of his Champions League experiences on the back of a postage stamp.
Those are big negatives for a club the size and stature of Manchester United to overlook – especially at a time when they could realistically expect to successfully headhunt any of the globe’s finest bosses (with the exception of Pep Guardiola).
Yet Moyes is the man they want. And on reflection, I still think he’s the ideal choice.
It’s important to remember that Manchester United is a club, not just a team. Sir Alex hasn’t just spent the last 26 years prowling around the training pitch astutely ensuring his megastars are in fine fettle; he’s immersed himself in the entire coaching set-up, keeping a watchful eye on every player and coach from the under-9 side upwards. Fergie managed the entire institution, not just his Premier League starting XI.
And it didn’t stop there. Outside of Carrington and away from Old Trafford on matchday, the retiring Scot ensured he was at the heart of every decision and development. Like a proud gardener tending to his plants, he wanted to sprinkle his own water on all facets of the club, even though to the outside world it appeared he’d delegated the work. Would Jose Mourinho, or any of the other outstanding overseas candidates, have engaged themselves in the same all-encompassing manner?
Losing Sir Alex Ferguson as a mere coach would be upsetting and debilitating enough, without the prospect of his carefully-constructed kingdom being allowed to rot by a predecessor solely focussed on the short-term business of winning games.
The appointment of David Moyes - one of the most traditional of all young managers - guarantees a continuation of that wide-reaching policy. It’s what he’s used to. After 11 years of similar control at Goodison Park, the former Preston North End boss will do things his own way at Old Trafford, but a determination to oversee the wider picture is certainly a shared trait.
As is the fierce competitive streak which helps to make David Moyes the highly-respected coach he is. United’s players will quickly discover they’re not going to be allowed an easy ride, even if the hairdryer has been removed. Intense, and with a passionate will to succeed, the 50-year-old is so hungry to do well that when he lets rip the Red Devils squad might be ducking for cover, à la David Beckham. This proud Scot won’t be intimidated by names or egos. If he isn’t happy, he’ll let them know about it. That famous United winning mentality will remain paramount.
It’s easy to see why the club has targetted Moyes. His personality is as close to Sir Alex Ferguson's as you could wish to find. A modernist happy to embrace change, but who also clutches onto old-school values; if Moyes was the Fergie's own pick, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
Whether Moyes is ultimately good enough to follow in his fellow Glaswegian’s illustrious footsteps remains to be seen. However, he is undeniably the most deserving of all the British candidates, plus the most likely to stay for the long haul.
Many fans will be underwhelmed at the prospect, and doubts over his credentials will hover above his head until he can prove otherwise. But Manchester United aren’t broke, and there’s no need to rip things up and start again. That’s why David Moyes is the right man to ensure the post-Ferguson era begins as smoothly as it possibly can. After that, it’s down to him...
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