There isn't a great deal of excitement in the Mailbox regarding England's potential new captain, but we have good stuff on Gerrard's development and a one club man team...
Man United fans say a fond farewell to Patrice Evra in the mailbox while there are also thoughts on Steven Gerrard's retirement from England duty. Plus, some rare cricket bantz...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We must start by saying thank you for the literally hundreds of submissions on the Moyes and United situation. We can't publish them all, but the fact that so many of you sent us your reasoned and thoughtful conclusions is incredibly pleasing. You may stand up and applaud yourselves warmly.
Got What We Wanted
Well, United fans have finally got what they've been asking for - myself included. I just hope now that it's not a "be careful what you wish for" situation. Having said that, he had to go, here's why:
1. Abysmal record against the top 6: P12 - W1 D2 L9. That speaks for itself really. If you can only take 5 points out of a possible 36 against your rivals (and that term is only loosely applied this season) then you're not long for the job.
2. Horrible brand of football. In about one hour's worth of possession against Everton we only managed 2 shots. It was a similar story against Liverpool and City. In other matches, e.g. Fulham, we've smashed in cross after cross (wasn't it 82?) and still failed to score often enough. Shambolic defending, often leaving de Gea with no chance at all, has been a trademark of this United team - something Moyes was supposedly strong at coaching.
3. The record at home. That we have only won 7 matches out of 16 at home is shocking; we've dropped 24 points out of a possible 48 - that's mid-table form and we are not (or rather we weren't) a mid-table team.
4. The records that have fallen. This season has been a season of unwanted firsts:
- First time Everton, Manchester City and Liverpool have beaten United home & away since Premier League's inception
- First time Everton have beaten United home and away since 1969-70
- First time United conceded a first-minute goal in the Premier League
- Lowest ever Premier League points tally
- Failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1995
- Worst home league form for over a decade
- First ever home defeat to Swansea
- First home defeat to Newcastle since 1972
- First home defeat to West Brom since 1978
- First league defeat to Stoke since 1984
It's not the fact that he hasn't won anything; no reasonable United supporter expected us to win anything this year. But I don't think it was unreasonable to want us to at least retain our Champions League status - we had the squad to win the league last year so a 4th place finish with mostly the same squad wasn't unrealistic.
Moyes, supposedly, was brought in to provide stability after Sir Alex; what he's actually brought is utter regression in ever possible sense. We've gone from being the champions to being the worst ever departing champions. We've gone from being a positive attacking team to one seemingly incapable of even providing a challenge to our rivals. And, to round off the rule of three, we've gone from a well-run club to a laughing stock. All in 10 months.
I don't know what is going to happen next, but I'm not feeling confident about what lies ahead; I'm just trying to believe that it can't get much worse.
...I'm sure there will be a myriad of mails about David Moyes, so I hope this is a little more realistic than most.
United had no choice other than to let him go, the statements coming out from players indicate that he had lost the dressing room and, once that happens, there is no going back. While I don't believe everything in the press, rumours of bust-ups with Giggs over negative tactics, Van Persie unhappy, Wellbeck considering his future, Kagawa frustrated, Vidic leaving, there was too much smoke for there not to be some flames.
I think the final straws were the mathematical confirmation of failure to get CL next year at the same time as losing to Everton again, a team that was allegedly holding Moyes back through lack of major funds, highlighting what we've all known for quite a while, Moyes wasn't the right man for the job. 51 different teams, no obvious game plan, no flexibility or plan A/B/C/D, more of a 'we'll try to win all our games from now on' every week was just not good enough.
I think Moyes has been unlucky on occasion but moaning every week that 'things didn't go our way' made him out to be a man who was crossing everything, closing his eyes and hoping the players would somehow create their own game plan and carry him through. Once the negative spiral of loss, leading to lack of confidence, leading to safety first tactics, leading to loss had started, Moyes had no idea of how to stop it, a truly good manager would have done so, I believe. The champions didn't forget how to play overnight, a combination of Moyes negative tactics and players low on confidence created the performances that de-railed the season.
A lesson learned, hopefully, and an expensive one at that, I predict a proven winner at the highest level, a £100m war-chest for the summer and, hopefully, a fresh start that re-motivates the players who do stay. This could be the end of an era or it could be an expensive blip that United can just about afford, if it's the former I hope the Glazers have the good grace to re-float the club, pocket a few hundred million and clear the debt. Unlikely but one can dream.
For now the nightmare of the 2013/14 season is almost over and the future may well be orange, let's hope it's more success but either way, I'm still grateful to have lived through the best 20 years our club has ever had.
Paul Milton, Man Utd
...Mediawatch beat me to it but I feel it is worth reiterating a point that seems to be passing by an awful lot of people in relation to the circus leaving town. The sorry fashion that this whole affair was handled over the past 24 hours indicates that Moyes was just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems at Man United.
A lot was made out of the floundering transfer business in the summer (Herrera, paying extra for Fellaini, etc.) but these issues have not gone away with Moyes' departure. In fact, it is the man responsible for these who is also responsible for selecting the next person to take Fergie's seat. I wouldn't be overly confident that this will go exactly to plan either Man United fans! As Jamie Redknapp pointed out (amongst his xenophobic, inaccurate other opinions), it is a very thin line that stands between retaining your place at the top or sliding into 20+ years of missteps.
As a brand and an entity, Man United are far bigger now than Liverpool were in 1991 but who is to say that should the next appointment fail to make up the ground lost that players won't start to look elsewhere for a challenge? That the likes of Kroos will turn down Man United in favour of Arsenal, City, Chelsea or other sides in the top bracket at the time. Would you be confident that the team who put together this whole mess, one that so many people knew would fail, are capable of making the next step in the right manner?
Regimes cannot be constructed in this manner. Regimes build themselves. The sooner that Man United and their fans learn this (and this has been as harsh a lesson as could have been hoped for) the better for them and their club. The snobbery about the Chelsea / City / Liverpool school of management will ebb nicely away when they realise that the 'Man United Way' of keeping things stable only occurred because of the man in the seat. Indeed, kicking and screaming is how it's happening, but Man United seem to gradually be dragging themselves into the modern era of football management, player-power and that sickly taste that never quite disappears.
Once it isn't Klopp, Simeone or de Boer, I'm not too worried anyway. I think this is a club issue, not a team one. A simple managerial switch and £100million+ on big names won't fix it entirely. Though I look forward to next season's battle for the top four with glee.
Kevin, LFC, Ireland
...Let me start by saying I was quietly happy with the appointment of David Moyes. I trusted Fergie wholeheartedly and was looking forward to seeing a decent man mould the club in a new direction.
I also spent a large part of the season, content in my belief that the club would, and should, give him time.
Now that both those points have been shared, I'd like to address everyone who is criticizing United for being hypocrites, or unfair, or just hasty. This was not a results decision. It was not a kneejerk reaction to a likely finish outside the top 6 or a failure to reach Champions League football. It wasn't even in response to being ashamed by almost every top ten club in the league this year.
David Moyes has been sacked because both the Man Utd board, and the Man Utd fans lost our belief in his ability to ever become anything more.
Yes Fergie was given time in the early 90's but if you read his book, or look up the quotes given by the likes of Charlton or the board back then, there was a genuine belief in what he was trying to build, regardless of results.
Moyes would have been given that same time, even if we were lower down the table, if it seemed for a second like he had a plan, or the confidence to implement and execute that plan.
From his first appearances and interviews, his choice of backroom staff, his transfer dealings, his training methods, his selections, his tactics and his substitutions, his inability to understand how best to use our most talented players, his pre and post match interviews, his reactions to going ahead or behind... in literally every aspect of being a Manchester United manager, David Moyes has looked frightened, timid and out of his depth.
People talk about Ferguson being given time and being successful as if the first point somehow created the second. Ferguson was given time because he was Ferguson and he earned it through his actions. Moyes hasn't been given time because he didn't.
I wanted to give him time, I wanted to believe in him. I think the club did as well. He had all the backing in the world but in the end, it was his words and actions, rather than his results which took away our belief.
Diarmuid Connolly, Cork
And...The Other View
I imagine I am going to find myself in the minority here, but I am of the firm view that Manchester United decision to sack David Moyes after just 10 months in charge is an absolute disaster for the club, and makes a complete mockery of the decision to appoint a manager unproven at this level in the first place.
Alex Fergusons greatest legacy at United, was that Manchester United were not like other clubs. They did not dirty their hands with the regular appointing and firing of managers at a whim, chasing short and cheap success. That was the business of other clubs, whose star rose and fell over the last 20 years, whilst United were a constant. Above all others, they did not concede to player power. Even if it meant short-term detriment to the club, no player was ever allowed to become more important than the manager. Paul Ince, David Beckham, Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, RVN, Wayne Rooney - all learnt the hard way that the manager was King. And it worked.
We now have the farcical situation where Danny Welbeck, a youth team graduate, on the fringes of the first team is the straw that broke the Camel's back?
Sir Alex gave very clear instructions on his departure - back the manager. Are we now saying the Glazers, the media or indeed the fans now know best? I think it is very sad, the legacy and competitive advantage Ferguson gave to United (his final gift) built up over 25 years has been destroyed by the fans and the American owners in 10 months.
...Is this just the beginning of harder times at United? The club is in absolute disarray. By binning Moyes with no replacement lined up, they have put themselves in exactly the same position as last year, only worse.
This time, not only are United lining up a new manager who will not have time to prepare for the transfer window but they have no champions league football, a mutinous squad, traumatized fans, the painfully obvious replacement is at Chelsea, and that crucial transfer window is compromised, not only by Ed Woodward but by the World Cup.
In taking an extraordinary and sentimental gamble last year, United have forced themselves into rolling the dice again in 2014. Every appointment is a risk. Almost all of the F365 Runners and Riders for the job are untested in the EPL with the exception of Martinez. If United did offer another Everton boss the job not only would they have to ask ask him give up European football, they would appear absolutely clueless.
A less humiliating option might be Ancelotti but his position at Madrid seems fairly solid and his recent appointments have been more about maintaining excellence than rebuilding. If this transition is not handled with hard-nosed realism then fans next year could be getting nostalgic about this season.
Klopp Could Still Come
The next appointment is absolutely crucial to the club's future , and while some people are stating why they want Klopp to come , I will shed some light on reasons that should convince Klopp himself to get on that plane to Manchester, despite what he initially said to the media.
1 - Dortmund have had a horrid season.
In fact , they only sit second in the bundesliga because frankly the whole league has been really under performing this season , with the exception of Bayern Munich of course.
2 - The opportunity to manage in the premier league.
Sure some might say that Chelsea considered him , and that when he was asked about the rumors he responded with a laugh and the whole " I'm flattered .. but no" speech. But with all due respect , this is Manchester United. It's not a team that will hire you for a couple of seasons , and then move on. If he does a good job , he might find himself there for life.
3 - The opportunity to build his own team.
Manchester United have made it public that they have a sh*t load of money to spend this summer , and any manager will be rubbing his hands and licking his lips at the thought of possessing 150M+ to splash. Adding to that the fact that he will be re-united with Shinji Kagawa.
4 - He will manage against the very best.
Klopp was once asked what it felt to manage against top managers like Guardiola and Mourinh , and he responded by saying this is what football is about. He will relish competing with Mourinho for domestic honors a thousand times more than Guardiola. Why? Because it's a fair fight.
In Germany , Bayern Munich have the ability to actually PURCHASE 12 teams of the 18 in the Bundesliga. Of course these reports were denied by Directors and chairmen, but no-one is even close to rivalling their financial dominance. Just think about QPR players earning more than Dortmund players, and you should get the idea.
5 - Some United targets are Dortmund players
Reus has been linked with United many times. And don't rule out Gundogan - he might have signed a new contract but how many times do we see players signing contracts just to increase their values when a club comes calling.
Dortmund know he's a wanted player, and they now hold all the cards in case anyone makes an official approach, but they might be a little bit more mellow if someone like Jurgen Klopp himself came asking for his services, a man that brought them unexpected success and introduced them to the international scene as the team that plays the most attractive football in Europe.
6 - No pressure to match his successor.
In fact, there will be pressure to be as divergent as possible from his successor. We all said it was going to be impossible for anyone to fill Sir Alex's shoes , but now , its not Ferguson being replaced anymore , its Moyes. And boy will he be easy to replace. Just don't lose 3-0 in every big game and you should be alright.
Klopp would be the ideal replacement , but hell we'll probably end up with Mark Hughes.
TONY (Bye bye moysey , we wish you the very best .. ) MUFC
Praise For Fergie
Enjoyable piece on ten reasons the Moyesiah was shown the door. Found myself agreeing with each and every point. It was car-crash TV at it's most compelling.
One thing stood out to me was the point that United have never finished lower than 3rd since 'football began in 1992'. Never lower than 3rd! I repeat; Fergie's United never finished lower than 3rd...
Given the ever-changing football landscape this is a truly outstanding achievement. Sir Alex managed first to resist the charge of Souness' Torben Piechnicks et al - no mean feat in itself! But in all seriousness when you think of how he resisted free spending Leeds, then Wenger's decent Arsenal side then the oil money of Citeh and the Chavs. And across such a chasm of time. It is mind-blowing.
No matter how rose-tinted the specs I wear I have to begrudgingly admit that Sir Alex Ferguson is the greatest club manager of all time. Yes, even better than Bob Paisley, Shankly, Stein, Clough etc, etc. Never lower than 3rd. The mind boggles!
The fear I have right now is that United might get someone decent in and become a force again. I've quite enjoyed the slight humility their fans have had to learn now they're no longer top dog.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
It'll Be A Tough Gig
History will show that the house built by Sir Alex Ferguson was great, powerful, and full of riches. It will also show that it took barely ten months for the house to be brought down from within. The architect, though, must take some of the responsibility for the damage, not least of which for placing the man swinging the hammer there in the first place.
David Moyes, from day one, was wrong. He was the wrong choice to manage the club, he made wrong decisions managing the club, and has somehow made it seem as though the last 26 years never happened. Prior to Ferguson's arrival, United were a team in flux and Liverpool were on a perch. There's probably a Back to the Future analogy somewhere there.
Ferguson did leave behind a tricky team to manage. A mixture of seen it-done it pros, players in the supposed peak of their career, and despite one Belgian/Albanian/Turkish/English gem, not a lot in the way of youth. There was also the issue of a central midfield that had to that point relied on Paul Scholes for 20 years, never to think they might need to replace him.
On July 1st, Moyes supposedly started work. Apparently it took the best part of 60 days to thrash out a deal for a player with a £23m release clause and make pointless bids for players that were never going to join. Anyone who has played Football Manager could have done that. Though, getting phantom lawyers to Bilbao was a rather fresh strategy.
Manchester United deserve some credit, though probably not for the way the once tight ship managed to let the news out nearly 24 hours early. No, they deserve credit for attempting to promote from within based on good solid work. That they (not quite) immediately have recognised they got the appointment wrong and are now looking to rectify it also deserves some kind of recognition.
The new manager will have a tough job on his hands. He will need to convince Robin van Persie that he wants to play for Manchester United, and will also need to figure out what to do with £300k p/w Wayne Rooney. Rooney has many incentives to stay, the Dutchman less so. This time last year, though, most Manchester United fans would have been happy to see Rooney shipped off to Chelsea (in a move that probably would have meant they'd be top of the league).
Supporters were asked for patience and reminded that this is a rebuilding process. This is something that everyone knew, and everyone was behind. However that rebuilding process involved removing players at a faster rate than they were entering the team and that rot had to be stopped.
And it has. Good luck to the next man of the house.
Praying For Sven
So "The Man Utd fans" have spoken and demand their next manager has two of the following:
Won a top level domestic league
Won a European Competition
Won an International competition
How does 13 (thirteen) trophies inc. a UEFA Cup and 4 Coppa Italias not to mention a "top level" league title sound? Pretty tasty, huh?
There's one snag in that he's currently managing a club but there's no doubt he'd make himself available, for the right money you understand.
I'm sure Sven eagerly awaits Ed Woodward's call...
First Time Caller... With A Song
irst of all, a big thank you to everyone who contributes to this wonderful site. Football365 has definitely been my most visited website since 2006. My life would have less meaning without you (maybe that's a little sad).
Today's big news has inspired me to try entering the hallowed Football365 Mailbox for the first time. So here it goes.....
Davey, Davey give me your answer do.
I'm half crazy because of all for the things you do.
We don't play stylish football,
Have you ever won a medal?
But you'll look so sweet,
Upon the hot seat,
Of a team from League Two,
Jonathan C. MUFC
Wonder when Big Sam will come out with 'if I was called McAllardyce, I'd be getting the United job'