The clouds were dark, the signs ominous. David Moyes had his back to the wall as Manchester United welcomed Aston Villa to Old Trafford on the weekend. United had lost to local rivals Manchester City by an emphatic margin, and fans’ patience couldn’t have been tested more. United’s woeful home record this season has turned the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ into some sort of a cauldron of calamities. Records have been broken all season at Old Trafford, and those records have been ignominious and humiliating to say the least. A fan backlash was the least expected; at least something went on expected lines at Old Trafford on Saturday. But as it has been the story of Old Trafford all season, the much-publicized “Wrong One, Moyes Out” flyer turned out to be another disaster as Moyes offered slaps all across his haters’ faces.
Aston Villa’s naivety somewhat gifted United a home win, but the talk of the town before the early kick-off was surely the fly-by plane carrying the banner. If only those disgruntled lot had better ways to spend money; GBP 840 is not something that beggars roam around with and to come up with such an absurd act without even having a fraction of the total supporters on board was destined for doom. Sure, the plane flew across Old Trafford, but only to be greeted with jeers from the United faithful who once again put their money behind Moyes in a strong, loud display of support.
David Moyes arrived with bigger boots to fill than anyone ever had to, but his track record with Everton at least merits him time. His pathetic record so far has compounded doubts, but whether the flying message was intended to help his cause is anyone’s guess. United’s much-maligned owners haven’t at all hinted about turning their backs on Moyes, and if the banner was intended to catch the fancy of the Glazers up top, then they better do it a bit more catchier than this.
David Moyes has received his due bit of criticism all season; it is very logical considering ManUtd’s plummet from the top and the inevitability of the comparisons with the great Ferguson. His lips locked in press conferences on more than one occasion this season, but the fact that Old Trafford still rises to its loudest cheers every other weekend points to the fact that Moyes is still backed in these parts. Fans may be agitated, but they haven’t turned mutinous. Only a small percentage of United’s humongous fan-base set about lighting a fire; for them, patience is never a virtue and they measure Manchester United only by the trophies in the cabinet.
Alex Ferguson chose Moyes to succeed him only because of his desire for stability at the club. He himself is the epitome of stability, and if the fans possess even an ounce of respect for Fergie, they should at least stick by his decision in times of trouble. ManUtd is not merely a club; it is an institution, a hallowed foundation that prides itself in its achievements and motivates itself from its darker days. The club has come a long way raising itself up from depths unknown to heights unconquered.
Kneejerk reactions are a part and parcel of modern day football; but David Moyes needs much more support and time than any other normal manager would have. After all, United aren’t any other club. A club rich in heritage and history, David Moyes could still have an important role to play in shaping up the future of Manchester United. Three cheers for the faithful lot; at least they knew who to back and who to boo.