We all know you’re a busy man putting out the cones each day and agreeing with every decision Sir Alex Ferguson makes, so I’ll make this brief. Over the past four years you’ve been the assistant manager at Manchester United, following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Carlos Queiroz, Brian Kidd Steve McLaren, Archie Knox and erm….. Walter Smith. It’s not an easy job being second in command to the most successful manager in the history of football but you do it day in day out often with a smile, or at least a look of indifference on your face.
Many may wonder how on earth you actually got the job, after all, no offence but your United career was hardly the stuff of legend. There was the FA Cup final in 1990 of course, where you failed to cut out John Solako’s cross for Ian Wright’s second goal, but you played your part in our win so let’s not criticise too much.
Your finest moment arguably came in the 1991 European Cup Winners Cup final where you played admirably at right ‘wing’ keeping helping to try and contain Txiki Begiristain rather than anything too attacking, but that was the job you were there to do and you did it well. From then on your United career was all but over, reduced to cameos and bit parts as the team finally became all conquering. Considering some of the legends that have played during under Sir Alex at United, leaders such as Robson, Keane, Bruce and Neville it does seem odd to a few Reds that you’re the second most important man at the club but perhaps its your coaching record that got you there.
Stints as assistant to the tactical genius that is Gary Megson at such footballing powerhouses as Norwich City, Blackpool and Stockport County – where both you and Megson left each club under something of a cloud, seem to somehow convince Sir Alex you were the right man for a role at United’s centre of excellence, where you’ve now graduated to his assistant.
Regardless of your somewhat questionable credentials you’re now the assistant manager at Manchester United to a 70 year-old who understandably needs as much as input and help with team matters as he can get. It’s no secret that Carlos Queiroz was an opinionated man, never shy of questioning Sir Alex or even inputting his own ideas into match preparation, tactics and even player signings.
Since Queiroz left in 2008 United have won the league twice and reached the Champions League final twice, while that may seem successful there’s the feeling it could have been even greater had Sir Alex had the Portuguese assistant by his side.
“Why? What have I done wrong?!” I hear you cry. Well allow me to elucidate and forgive me if I delve into conjecture at points, but it’s difficult to fully know the inner machinations of the United dressing room without being there.
For starters there’s what we can physically see each match day, when United are struggling or playing badly- which isn’t as rare as we’d like to pretend, there seems to be very little action from yourself. No note taking, or frantic discussions with the gaffer, no shouting instructions to the players no conferring with the Rene Meulensteen who often seems as oblivious to you as what’s going on.
Then there’s the times when Sir Alex has made questionable decisions, still believing Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes can cope with tough Premier League midfielders, failing TWICE to stop the threat of Moussa Dembele this season, preferring Anders Lindegaard to David De Gea, playing Danny Welbeck on the left wing. These are choices EVERY Red can see are wrong, yet the manager doesn’t, it’s understandable, he’s seen Giggs and Scholes play a massive part of his success, he’s quick tempered at times and seems to blame DDG for ‘mistakes’ that he deemed avoidable. As for Welbeck, there’s obvious plusses to having him on the pitch in any position, his energy and touch for one, but a winger he ain’t.
My question to you Michael, and indeed my entire point, is where were you? Where were you when Sir Alex started with the wrong midfield at least three times this season, where we’re you when we needed a voice to say “hey boss I think De Gea should be starting” where were you when it came time to suggest we either play Danny upfront or simply not at all?
You were probably sat there agreeing with every decision and I’m sorry but that’s just not good enough. Sir Alex needs a voice to question him at times, someone to make suggestions, perhaps have a different take on things and I fear that man is not you.
If I’m wrong I apologise, but I ask only this, when the boss tells you his team for tomorrow, if David De Gea isn’t in goal, try and grow a set and tell him he’s got it completely wrong and he could cost us dearly.