David Moyes at Manchester United

The sacking of David Moyes and the 24 hours that follow raise an interesting question: Is Manchester United truly a big club or just one that seemed that way with Alex Ferguson in charge, because you wouldn’t expect Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola to be so keen on turning that speculative interest down if it was truly the dream job for them.

Except for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, every big club in Europe has had bad years, in which it seems like its flair has faded. Barcelona have been through it, the Italian giants have been (and going) through it. Liverpool was the biggest name in the world 25 years ago, and while they remain one of the most popular teams in the world despite hardly winning anything throughout all these years, they’re still a few Champions League appearances from returning to elite status.

Are Manchester United headed towards a Liverpool-like drought? Probably not, unless David Moyes was just the beginning. It’s easy to criticize every decision made along the way, but there have been many warning that Manchester United took a very wrong turn when appointing Moyes to the manager’s job, Ferguson’s heir or not. Does it matter whose fault it is? It does when the same people have a chance to make more important decisions, and have shown their judgement to be a little bit off.

But there’s more to just one year of failing to this. This calls into question about the brand and ethos around Manchester United. Are they truly a world giant because of the name, or was it more of Alex Ferguson’s doing, and once you remove the man responsible for the success, you end up with a big name that doesn’t have the same sort of appeal? It might be hard to hear and stomach for some, but don’t be surprised if that is the case.

Because Alex Ferguson was always the main attraction for players coming over from the early 90’s onward. Even with him on board, Manchester United often missed out on big transfer targets they set their sights on. Maybe it was the club unwilling to spend as much as others (like PSG in the Lucas Moura case), or maybe even the combination of Ferguson and Man U hasn’t been enough to bring over the greatest of talents.

So will be the new manager? Van Gaal seems like the number one option right now. Other names are being thrown in the air. It doesn’t seem like one of the hot potatoes on the market. Manchester United in the post-Ferguson era, which ended only one year ago, isn’t such an attractive option. Because of the ownership, and simply because it’s not as big of a name as some might like to think it is.

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