Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Where it all went wrong for David Moyes

In June 2012, David Moyes, the slayer of the Salford Ogre, was carried triumphantly through the streets of Manchester on the shoulders of the grateful population. The creature he had bested in hand-to-hand combat was neither a metaphorical troll, nor was it an allegory for working poverty, or the Govian purging of the education system. It was an actual ogre, standing over nine feet tall, covered in warts and scaly protrusions and reeking of Special Brew.

“The name on the ogre's death certificate was Clive Slater, but most people just called it 'The Ogre,'” recalls a now-no-longer terrified peasant from the sleepy Mancunian village of Upper Trafford. “It used to barge into ASDA and steal sheep right off the shelves.”

Another small business owner recounts a story that has been passed down, by word of mouth, from father to son, since the dawn of human history:

“Once the ogre came into my cafe and then sat there with the same cup of tea for six hours and wouldn't leave. I was powerless to do anything about it. My crossbow bolts bounced off his toughened hide. Three people were killed by ricochets.”

Many witnesses to the slaying were impressed by the decisive manner with which Moyes dealt with the monster:

“He didn't even give the cunt time to stand up,” says one local. “He just steamed in there with a massive sword and cut its head off.”

Yet, even as Moyes was being publicly feted for his giant-slaying prowess, there were shadowy figures lurking in the background who were eyeing him up for a different role. One of those shadowy figures was Adam Hennings:

“By this time Sir Alex Ferguson had taken to wearing white robes and referring to himself as 'Ferguson the White.' We knew that he was building up to retirement and that we had months of goodbyes and not-quite-final appearances on the calender for the foreseeable future.

“On paper, Moyes looked like the ideal candidate to replace him as manager of Manchester United Football Club. He had slain the ogre and salvaged the virtue of the Duchess of Cambridge. I did a search on google and discovered that, during the 1990s, he had played rhythm guitar with Depeche Mode on the South American leg of a world tour. Here was a renaissance man who could successfully turn his hand to any task that was placed before him. I saw no reason why, under his stewardship, the club could not continue to dominate English football.”

However, away from the back rooms of Trafford East – Manchester United's legendary stadium - some were already questioning the wisdom of the appointment. One of these people was Jim Wilson-Daughter, editor of the Snowmen for Goalposts 'football-zine':

“When I heard that Moyes was in the running to take over the manager role at Manchester United, my immediate thought was: 'Why is the chairman of a 2nd division snooker team, who only just avoided relegation last season, being placed in charge of one of most successful English football clubs in living memory?'

“In an eleven-a-side snooker match, the players fence with each other using special tapered sticks called 'cues'. Conversely, in the beautiful game of football, grown men are required to kick each other in the shins, and also pull hair and inflict Chinese burns on their opponents whenever match officials aren't looking. The tactics in both sports are completely different and there is little overlap.”

Meanwhile, on the training fields of Trafford East, Moyes eccentric methods were already raising well-manicured eyebrows among Manchester United's notoriously metro-sexual players:

“One morning he had us painting pine cones metallic colours. A few days later when they had dried, he drove us in a minibus to an old people's home. We gave the painted pine cones to the residents as a thank you for saving us during the Second World War.”

While some players were confused, or openly hostile, to Moyes' unusual managerial style others, such as Wayne Rooney, recall him with fondness:

“I grew up listening to New Order and A Certain Ratio. All of those Factory Records bands. Moyes turned me on to German post-industrial groups like Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, and a lot of European avant-garde stuff. He taught me that you don't have to choose between Kylie Minogue and Diamanda Gal├ís. It's okay to like both and you shouldn't let anyone judge you for it.”

Other regulars on the first team remember him as a father figure:

“Even though many of us had done TV adverts for Gillette razors, very few of us knew how to wet shave properly,” recalls one player who wishes to remain anonymous. “One day Moyes lined us all up by the sinks in the changing room and walked us through it. Now the only time I use an electric razor is if I'm in a hurry!”

In the end it was Moyes' behaviour in the boardroom that hastened his departure from the club, as Adam Hennings remembers:

“We would get these four packs of different flavour yoghurts for meetings. Moyes would immediately take all of the strawberry ones and then eat them in the corner. You might be able to get away with that kind of thing down south in Birmingham, but definitely not in Manchester.”

While many are hoping that Moyes' successor will improve the fortunes of the beleaguered club, there are others who wonder how Manchester will cope without its famed ogre-killer:

“The other day in Oldham my mate saw a goblin the size of a Penny Farthing,” says one season ticket holder. “Do people really think that Anders Lindegaard is up to sorting that out?”

No comments:

Post a Comment