Four points on Moyes and Man United
Why I'm not enjoying this season
Watching someone discover their inadequacy is one of my least favourite things. I know the feeling, and unless the person discovers the joy of God's sufficiency (see here and 2 Corinthians 12:9), they will be left with a hopeless answer to every man's deepest question: "Have I got what it takes?" It's difficult not to think that David Moyes is experiencing this at the moment, so my wincing at Manchester United's results is less because they're the team I support, and more because the personal trauma it must be causing him. With his low-key personality, and apparent faith, there's no hubristic satisfaction to be had (although perhaps the club as a whole could be portrayed this way, with Ferguson in the role of King Lear), just a sullen sadness as we wonder whether he'll last the summer, or make it to Christmas if Champions' League qualification looks in peril again.
The importance of leadership
There has been a lot said about how much money United need to spend to reinvigorate their squad, but the obvious conclusion to take when almost all the players are performing poorly is that the root of the issue is leadership. A couple of seasons ago when United were the best of a bad bunch, Alan Hansen commented that whichever of the top four squads Ferguson managed would have won, because of the difference his leadership made. Moyes is being marked on his predecessor's impossible grade curve but his successor at Everton has his old team playing more in United's presumed style than he ever did, and with more points than he won there. Leadership in any organisation is vital, this is a glaring example of it.
A question of syle
Talking of style, what is United's? Last season there were several briefings from Old Trafford that Jose Mourinho wasn't United's style: disrespectful off the pitch, successful but not very thrilling on it. He's continued to live up to both those accusations, but was Moyes' combination of honesty off the pitch / moderately successful but not very thrilling on it truly the continuity United were looking for?
The only upside to this for me is if a few more people learn to put football in its correct place in their lives. Those who enjoy the banner at Old Trafford proclaiming "MUFC: The Religion" have the opportunity to consider how divine the god they worship really is.