The ‘Real’ deal for David Moyes

I think David Moyes managing Real Sociedad is a good thing.

Remember Steve McClaren aka the Wally with the Brolly? He had his reputation tattered and stamped on, following his short and unsuccessful stint as England manager. To-date he holds the record for having the shortest reign in charge of the Three Lions. Prior to that, he was regarded as the most successful manager at Middlesbrough. He was also Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand man, described as a tactically astute coach. Manchester United won every trophy they contested for while McClaren was at the club.

But he couldn’t get another job in England following the debacle with the national team. So, Wally upped and left the motherland for Holland and FC Twente. The rest as they say, is history. 5 years on, he’s back in the English league, with his reputation bolstered for having taken the chance at managing abroad and winning. There is even the probability of seeing McClaren challenge the top dogs in the Premier League once again next season with his current side Derby County, barring any mishaps of epic proportion.

Moyes should be able to pick up a few pointers there. His stint at United crushed his reputation too. Many fans will need a bit of reminding to recall what he actually achieved in his 11 years at Goodison Park, over the harrowing 10-months at Old Trafford. At Everton, he was 3-time LMA Manager of the Year. He helped the club qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 2005. Four years later he guided the Toffees to the FA Cup finals, 20 years after their last appearance. He was the 4th manager in the league to record his 150th Premier League win, behind Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp.
David Moyes at Old Trafford

Unfortunately, you’re only as good as your last job in the world of football management. While many were waxing lyrical about his achievements at Everton despite the lack of silverware, the same people have nothing favourable to say about the Scotsman when he attempted to transition Fergie’s Fledgings into Moyes’ Men. There’s no doubting he was an excellent coach and manager at Everton. Just look at where he took them, with the restrictions that he had. Still, he’s got the experience to know that the same attributes cannot be applied everywhere, so he’ll surely be wiser for it.

Real Sociedad may not share the rich history of Everton Football Club – 9-time First Division champions, 5-time FA Cup winners, 1985 European Cup Winners’ Cup. But in La Real, Moyes actually stand a chance of reparation. It’s not Manchester United version 2.0. Neither is it the type of club that’s doomed for relegation. At least not with the likes of Inigo Martinez, Sergio Canales, Xabi Prieto and Carlos Vela in the side. This is a club that produces players who are usually poached by bigger clubs. Think Xabi Alonso, Antoine Griezmann and Asier Illaramendi. If you go further back, there’s Txiki Begirstain and Jose Mari Bakero too. Currently, 14 players in the first team came from the B team.

The 2-time La Liga winners were playing in the Champions League as recently as last season. It is their 4th year in La Liga, having won promotion in 2009/10. Something tells me with Moyes at the helm, they could be seeing it through to their 5th season and maybe beyond. They’re in the red zone as a consequence of their previous manager’s ineptness, not because of the lack of talent or quality in the squad. The simple act of making 6 changes to the squad that lost to Malaga did the trick against Atletico Madrid.

The 51-year old was supposed to be installed in time for the match against Atletico Madrid at the Anoeta. However that did not materialize. Maybe it was meant to be. Still, Sociedad successfully recorded their 2nd victory this season. They defeated the other Madrid-based team Real, for their first in August. Perhaps these results can convince the new man the team he’s about to take charge is more like his bunch of tenacious Toffees than the millionaires of Manchester.

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