22nd September 2013 shall forever be a turning point in Manchester United’s history. It will be seen as the moment when United players and fans alike were asked the question. A question of character. Of resilience. Of having to do what is necessary. Fate will be rewritten as per how this questions is answered.
Phenomenal scenes at the Etihad stadium were witnessed today. United’s new manager – one after nearly twenty years – attended his first derby game. Moyes has managed Everton for a while now, and isn’t a stranger to ruthless derbies. The Merseyside derby has been contested fiercely each year. But this was an entirely new level. The Manchester derby is more technical than physical than its Merseyide counterpart. And David was tactically outplayed in every department.
City figured out United didn’t have a plan B. United haven’t been able to withstand pacy games for a few years now. After Ronaldo’s departure and a sharp decline in Nani and Young’s forms, the speed has been sucked from United’s traditional counter-attacking play. United depend upon slower teams in the Premier League and a reason why their record against Chelsea is poor is because of the latter’s speed in play.
But that is all history. The Ferguson era is over. We cannot dwell on glory-days gone by, like other clubs. We must look ahead. Just like Fergie did when he lost 6-1 to City. He attacked next season and won the league right under their noses.
Which is why today’s 4-1 humiliation at the hands of one of our biggest rivals is an important loss in this transitional period. It goes to show just what is wrong with United today. This isn’t David Moyes’s United. This is Alex Ferguson’s United being handled by David Moyes. Moyes has to bring some sweeping reforms into the club and make players adapt to his style. Having a manager who isn’t comfortable with the current style won’t help. This may backfire (like Pep’s Bayern) initially, but the other alternative isn’t working. When Ferguson was appointed as United manager in 1986, he didn’t have a tip-top trophy-winning squad. These were unfit, pot-bellied players having tea at halftime. Fergie transformed this into Europe’s biggest club, but it took time. He eyed long-term success and he achieved it. He brought in the Class of ’92 who were the harbingers of trophies. Moyes has to do the same.
There isn’t a dearth of talent in the youth system. Januzaj and Zaha are already sparkling and Lingard is turning heads in the youth squad. Tom Cleverley’s presence in the dying moments of the second half today showed a transformed midfield. Rooney is approaching new heights as demonstrated by his performance against Leverkusen and his stunning long-range free-kick today. The main problem is underperforming players like Young and Nani, who’re clearly past their prime now. Tough decisions have to be made. Moyes isn’t one to shy away from them as he had no problem in letting Rene and Gill leave. They must learn to adapt or exit gracefully.
Rebuilding Manchester United is a tough task. It will take a lot of time. The last time it happened, it took six years. But it was effective for twenty. Hopefully, that time frame will be lowered now. We must show faith in our new manager, just as we showed in our old one, during his early years. I’m completely prepared for trophy-less seasons in the near-future.
As for us fans, this is our question. Of character. We must show our trust in Moyes. We must not lose faith. We must believe.
In conclusion, I’ll leave you with my Facebook rant just after the match.
All you Manchester United “fans” who turn their backs on this club at an inkling of poor form, your fickle nature disgusts me. If you can’t be with your team during defeats, you shouldn’t show up for their successes. We’ve been through worse and we’ve always risen from the ashes. We will rise again. Glory Glory.