Wednesday 23 April 2014

David Moyes Sacked as Man Utd Manager: Where did it go wrong?

From the 'chosen one' to the sacked one in the space of 10 months. David Moyes is no longer manager of Manchester Utd.

I have a lot of sympathy for Moyes, he was faced with such a difficult task taking over at Manchester Utd. The job would have tested the skills of the most able managers in the world game.

In the end it was hard to see how he could survive. Some of Man Utd's performances this season were unrecognisable from the teams we've seen over the last 25 years.

This summer's transfer window is without doubt the most important in the club's recent history. In the end the Glazers simply didn't believe Moyes was the right man to begin the massive rebuilding job required at the club.

So where has it all gone wrong for? Here's some of my thoughts.

Was Moyes the right man for the job?

In hindsight no, but at the time of his appointment I thought it was a good choice. I was pleased a British manager had been given the chance to manager the biggest club in England.

However, when you look at how things have gone this season, it feels like Moyes was the wrong man at the wrong time. Had he taken over 4 years ago it would have been a difficult task but faced with a Man Utd squad clearly in decline his chances of success were made even more difficult.

Moyes should have embraced more of Utd's attacking traditions. He was far too cautious in the way he set his teams to play, you can't do that at Man Utd.

Was Moyes given enough time?

Personally I thought Moyes should have been given the summer to bring in new players and see if he could turn things around.

The club sent out a clear statement that this was a long term project when they handed Moyes a 6 year contract. However the realities of modern day football shows that contract meant nothing.

People will argue that Ferguson was given time back in the late 80s before he started winning trophies but the late 80s was a completely different era for football.

Man Utd won the FA Cup in 1990, Fergie's first trophy and still finished 13th in the old Division 1! Today not even Fergie would be allowed to finish a season 13th. He would have been sacked much earlier.

Football has changed beyond recognition since the late 80s. The major European clubs can't afford to spend years in transition rebuilding.

Was it right for Alex Ferguson to choose his successor?

Again another no. After all the years of success that he brought to club, it was clear that his opinions should have been listened to but again with hindsight it was clear that the final decision should have come from the owners.

Who is responsible for Man Utd's problems?

There's no doubt that Man Utd are a club in crisis. The next few years could be the most difficult it's faced since the early 70s when the club went into decline after Sir Matt Busby's retirement.

Man Utd's squad has been in decline for a number of years, this decline has been masked by the brilliance of Alex Ferguson who somehow still managed to challenge and win league titles.

The midfield has needed a significant overhaul for years and this was highlighted in the Champions League Final defeats against Barcelona in 2009 and 2011. Utd weren't just beaten in those games they were outclassed.

Ferguson left at just the right time and even if he'd remained in charge this season I couldn't see them finishing any higher than 3rd at best.

Secondly, the Glazers have some serious questions to answer and some tough choices ahead. They've leveraged the club with debt and essentially under invested in the club over the last 5 years compared to Utd's rivals.

They managed to get away with this by having one of the greatest managers of all time in charge. Now Fergie's gone they can't rely on his abilities alone to keep the club winning titles.

They need to spend at least 150 - 200 million in the summer to rebuild the squad and they face the biggest challenge since they took over the club.

Who will take over?

Everything points to Louis Van Gaal. He has the pedigree and reputation and fits the bill as to what is needed at Manchester Utd. I'd be amazed if he wasn't in charge at the start of next season.

Manchester Utd are now just another club

Every football club in special in its own way, but what made Utd special was that continuity of having such a successful manager in charge for so long.

Utd didn't go around sacking managers like other clubs, but I remember reading a great comment in the Guardian a few months ago which said they've never needed to be a club that sacked managers before. Now things have changed.

Utd are now just like any other club, where results mean everything. In this era of football if a manager remains in charge of a club for 5 years that's a lifetime.

What next for Utd?

It might come as a shock to younger readers to discover that back in the mid 70s Utd were relegated to the old Second Division.

Finishing 7th in the Premier League and failing to qualify for the Champions League is a modern day relegation for Manchester Utd.

You know and expect the club to spend big in the summer to get back to where they belong but it's going to be a challenge.

The top of the Premier League is easily the most competitive in Europe. You've essentially got a mini league of 7 clubs competing against each other.

When you look at the financial power of Chelsea and Man City you have to expect that they will be in the top four for some time. We've also seen the re-emergence of Liverpool this season under Brendan Rogers.

It's going to be tough to get back into the top four for Man Utd let alone reclaim the title.

Utd have enjoyed an entire generation of continuous success but that cycle is now over. Like all great clubs they will be back, it's just a question of how long it will take.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Frankie Knuckles 1955 - 2014 The Godfather of House

Growing up in the late 1980s I was surrounded by music. I listened to the music of my parents: Reggae, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz and Soul. I also loved 80s Pop music.

In 1987 things changed. I discovered 2 genres of music from black America. One was Hip Hop the other was House music. I've never stopped listening to those 2 genres.

Today I discovered that the man who invented House music, the pioneer, the Godfather died. His name was Frankie Knuckles and I can't imagine what my record collection would look like if it wasn't for him.

Anyone who knows anything about House music and dance music culture in general will know just how significant and influential Frankie Knuckles truly was.

One the greatest house tracks ever

Back in the early 80s Disco was on its way out. Exploited by major records labels and suffering the backlash that the 'disco sucks movement' created. Disco went back underground never to be seen again...or so people thought.

Disco never died it simply mutated and reformed and the man responsible was Frankie Knuckles. He kept disco alive by re-editing and remixing old disco tracks he played at the Warehouse nightclub in Chicago.

The records that Knuckles played at the Warehouse started to become known has house tracks and a new genre was born.

By the late 80s House music was gaining popularity in the UK and an entire music culture was forming. No wonder Knuckles referred to House music as 'Disco's revenge'

The Whistle song Frankie's biggest hit in the UK.

It probably wasn't until the early 90s that I really started getting into House music properly. Listening to Pete Tong's Essential Selection on a Friday evening and then going out shopping at weekends buying 12" records on vinyl.

So many great remixes to choose from but I'm going with Andrea Mendez: Bring Me Love

I soon got up to speed on the major players in House music of which Knuckles was the Godfather. I've spent the last 25 years being obsessed with this music.

Hours of my life spent in record shops and in clubs. Never getting tired or bored of House music. Knowing that it never lets me down and will always get me on a dancefloor.

I owe all of this to Frankie Knuckles.