When thinking about the worst things to happen to Manchester United over the past couple of decades, the appointment of David Moyes comes a close second to the Glazer family buying the club.
Moyes owes Steven Gerrard a pint, after he spared the manager further resentment.
Because if Liverpool had won the title in the first year that United were unable to challenge and deny them, the hatred would be off the scale.
But Gerrard slipped and instead United fans had to make do with being relieved that it was only Manchester City who won the league instead. Being forced to feel gratitude that City were crowned champions is still a pretty good reason to wish Moyes never existed, though.
David Moyes: 'Nobody would have done better than me at Manchester United after Sir Alex' pic.twitter.com/oGHZ72PHAo
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) October 8, 2017
Over three years since he was shown the exit door, the club is just beginning to recover from the damage he caused. With goal difference alone keeping United off the top spot in the league, and three trophies over the past two years in the cabinet, supporters should finally be in a place where they can forget about Moyes. The trauma caused by his era is finally being erased.
Yet, for some reason, he won’t go away. Having failed miserably in both posts since being sacked by United, he still manages to have insane delusions of grandeur.
In an embarrassing interview, where Moyes blames the money that Chelsea and City spent and the failure to secure the signing of Gareth Bale for “one reason or another” (yes, we are still scratching our heads to work out the reason why Bale rejected the opportunity to play for Moyes and instead stay at Real Madrid), the most alarming statement was his assertion that no one could have done a better job than him.
“I don’t think there is a manager out there who would have been able to do something better or quicker in the time I was given after Sir Alex retired,” he said.
Wow. Essentially, he is claiming he is the best manager and no one could have outperformed him. Is he forgetting that Antonio Conte won the league with Chelsea in his first season, after they finished 10th the season before, while Moyes took the champions to seventh in the table in a matter of months?
Did Claudio Ranieri not win the title with Leicester having spent half as much as Moyes did?
To suggest that Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola or any of the other world-class managers in the game couldn’t have bettered his season at United is quite simply ludicrous. There are a few fairly mediocre managers who could claim to have done a superior job too.
Could Roberto Martinez have done better than Moyes? In his first season at Everton, with the club selling their top scorer, Marouane Fellaini, to United in the summer, they finished fifth, picking up eight points more than United.
I wish I was above being infuriated by Moyes, but I’m not. HOW CAN HE POSSIBLY THINK FINISHING 7TH WAS THE BEST ANY MANAGER COULD’VE DONE?? https://t.co/XrXBYgGH4a
— Scott Patterson (@R_o_M) October 8, 2017
We can all acknowledge that taking over from the greatest manager of all time would be a tough task for anyone but it’s difficult to find any foundation for Moyes’ claim that the best any manager could have achieved that season was a seventh-place finish, and getting battered by rivals City and Liverpool every time they played them.
Having never won a trophy in 19 years of football management, his confidence in his own ability is as puzzling as it is astonishing.
United were 16 points clear on the evening they won the title in 2013 but finished 22 points behind champions City the following season. How could anyone justify this sort of return, regardless of which players United signed or didn’t.
“When you compare my season to what Jose achieved last season it is about those small margins,” he continued.
Are those small margins he’s referring to the two trophies that Mourinho won? He sacrificed United’s league position to prioritise the Europa League, so comparing where he finished to Moyes’ reign is pointless.
It’s hard to think of any players who raised their game under Moyes’ guidance while Mourinho has seen a whole host of United players enjoy some of the best form of their careers.
Nobody was expecting Moyes to win the league. Sir Alex Ferguson managed to get every last drop of ability and fight from his final squad and without strengthening maybe any manager, apart from him, would have struggled to retain the title in 2013-14. But to suggest that all that group of players were capable of was seventh, and therefore that the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Everton had better sides, is total lunacy.
Surely now is the time for someone to put a sympathetic arm around Moyes’ shoulder and tell him, for his own sake, to stop talking.