Manchester United News: Has Moyes Lost the Dressing Room At Manchester United?
Moyes appears to be losing the dressing room at Old Trafford (Photo: Reuters / Chris Arnfield BA, BSc)
Like a lot of my peers and those who have followed, my dreams of being as footballer only ever got me to semi-professional level, despite being tipped by my school and county association for an exciting career. That may have changed somewhat now with companies touting for young wannabes who want to be professional footballers. However, one thing that has never changed is the team ethic and the sanctity of the dressing room. If a manager loses the dressing room, he is as good as dead in the water, regardless of which level of football you are.
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David Moyes has lost the dressing room at Manchester United. I am lucky enough to have sources close to the club, albeit not first team players, but youth team players who hear all the gossip. The senior players are openly criticising Moyes and particularly his backroom staff, whom he imposed on the club after sacking the successful team left by Sir Alex Ferguson. I have never understood why, if he felt so strongly that Moyes should be his successor, he did not show a shred of loyalty to Phelan, Meulenstein and Steel, by stating that they should stay to help the new manager.
It does not matter which professional sport we are talking about; if a team wins a championship by a large margin as United did in 2013, and then capitulates into oblivion the very next season, there is something drastically wrong and it cannot be wrong with the current team, can it? The only thing which has changed at Manchester United is the manager, so it does not take Sherlock Holmes to work out where the problem lies.
Currently, we have Rooney and Van Persie injured. We only have to look at the beginning of Moyes reign to find that Van Persie in particular complaining about the training regime and that it would lead to injuries; not in matches, but because of intensive training. Ferguson managed to keep RVP fit for most of last season, now he is injured all the time. The injury list at the moment could form a complete team!
A couple of months ago, Rio Ferdinand broke ranks and came out publicly and said that Moyes habit of not naming the team until right before the match was counterproductive. Players were not able to prepare themselves properly because they did not know whether they were playing or not. He was not picked for the following 5 matches!
Nemanja Vidic's agent has confirmed that he will not be signing a new contract when his expires at the end of this season. Vidic is still just 32 and the captain and United's best defender. Wayne Rooney has still not even contemplated a new contract and his runs out at the end of 2014. Rooney is rumoured to be watching closely Moyes efforts in the transfer window before making any decision about his future. Considering last summer's debacle, I think we already know the answer to that.
Most top players abroad have never even heard of David Moyes mainly because he has no presence in the Champions League or any European event come to that. So why would they want to sign for him?
The club has already had £200m wiped from its share value because of the disastrous start to the season and it shows no signs of improvement. Ed Woodward di a great job in attracting new sponsorship deals to the club, but how many of them are now looking at results and wondering about their 'investment'?
In which other large corporation would the departing MD decide who his successor will be? Why did the Glazers not at least interview a few other high profile applicants; namely Jose Mourinho. There was a man with an impeccable record of success at the very highest level and revered by players around the world?
We are now approaching open revolt in the dressing room with players answering back to comments by the manager. Recently David Moyes suggested that Danny Welbeck should be the last player to leave the training ground to improve his game, to which Welbeck responded, "I already do that every day and have done ever since I was promoted into the first team". That degree of open defiance means that there is no respect for Moyes and why should there be? There is open criticism of the backroom staff because they have won nothing in all the years they have been with Moyes, so what can they tell the players that they do not already know?
A manager cannot manage if he has lost the dressing room and it is obvious that the players do not want to play for him. Their body language and general demeanour say it all.
Maybe when the Glazers look at their balance sheet at the end of the season they will start to take some proactive interest in the club and start by making it clear that there will be changes at the top unless there is a change of fortunes very quickly. Jose Mourinho was viciously snubbed by Ferguson for the job but he would still jump at the chance to manage United. Hopefully he will be at the helm at the start of next season.