Not long ago I read a marvellous little book called The Psychopath Test by gonzo journalist Jon Ronson. One of the central points of the book is the PCL-R a checklist dubbed, “The Psychopath Test” a sure fire way to spot psychopaths and flag up a warning to the rest of society. I share this with you in light of former (yes former, thank god) manager David Moyes’ rather hilarious interview with the Sunday Post this past week.
Moyes was insistent on that he should have been given more time to rebuild and how he had full backing of the supporters. Not a word mentioned on how he conducted himself like an imposter doppelganger suddenly made leader of a country after the actual dictator suddenly died. Not a word on how despite inheriting a squad in need of work, Moyes managed to take a team and modern day superclub from Champions to seventh in mere months. Moyes said the rebuild would have taken longer than just months however his demolition job certainly didn’t. Well done David on turning a feared and hated juggernaut in a laughing stock.
Here is a choice quote from the interview:
“Much has been said about the day I left Manchester United. The facts are I addressed the players at Carrington. Since then I’ve received messages of support, and thanks, from many players. I’ve also had lots of letters from football people from all around the world. It has totally overwhelmed me and has given me tremendous encouragement.”
Judging by the sigh of relief when he was finally told the same two words Alan Sugar tells his idiotic BBC interns I would have asked for proof, Moyes is about as missed around here as Smallpox or Malcolm Glazer.
Moyes checked two boxes on the psychopath checklist (PCL-R): Delusional and a failure to accept responsibility for own actions. However, dear old David is no psychopath though, he lacks the risk – taking, bravado, versatility and success for to qualify for that. Simply put it wasn’t time David Moyes needed, it was talent and unfortunately he didn’t have it. There was always the air of Moyes being a small time manager who was punching above his weight, he was very much the Iain Duncan Smith of Premier League football. No I’m not referring to his disastrous spell as minister for Work and Pensions but his even greater embarrassment of leading the Conservative party. Those of you who don’t remember may have taken a quick siesta and missed the whole thing.
Moyes lurched from, crisis to embarrassment to shambles. In fact Moyes’ best times in his brief spell at Old Trafford came when the team never played and he didn’t do anything. No doubt if he would have been given an award for one of those weeks he would stumbled, and fallen over on his way to collect while Ryan Giggs would have cheekily tripped him up while he was carrying the award back to his table.
David Moyes is a good man and a decent manager but he was about as qualified for the Manchester United job as I am to be a technician on the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN complex. Moyes was certainly right that rebuilding work needed doing but some short to mid-term success is expected and above all entertainment is demanded. It was generally what United have always been, the great entertainers of English football.
Some may scoff at that notion in light of Ferguson’s dishwater dull later years where a lack of quality meant success came at the cost of quality but it is true. Even before Sir Matt Busby United was home to one of the great figures of early 20th century football, Billy Meredith. Meredith was a firebrand Welshman who fought for player’s rights at a time when they were genuinely treated like slaves and had to hold down day jobs in mines, mills and factories. On the pitch he was known for his artistry and flair, often languidly chewing on a toothpick while making opposition players look like statues to light up the crowd. Meredith set the standard for what was United fans expected from their club; flair, entertainment and uniqueness.
Liberal ideals for a socialist city.
United’s desire to do everything in style often came at the cost of trophies too. I could easily have seen United pick up an extra two European Cups/Champions Leagues and at least one extra league title had we been more pragmatic. However, we were not, the fans pay their money and the club always sought to give them their money’s worth and despite missing out on a few trophies we were richer for it.
Moyes’ greatest failures were not his lack of trophies, it was only his first year. His failures were his inability have United play good football and his lowering of expectations, typified by his comments about aspiring to have United be like cash rich but poor of character local rivals. He did however get Everton playing good football by having the good courtesy to leave and let a better manager do the job
To some this may seem a harsh criticism, to those I point out David Moyes moped all the way to the bank with an extra £7 million. The rest of us get to celebrate being fired by hoping we find a new “McJob” quick enough to feed ourselves and keep a roof over our head. Don’t cry for David, he’s stealing a living.