DAVID Moyes does not believe the imminent launch of Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography and subsequent theatre tour will have a negative effect on his Manchester United team.
Ferguson is due to launch what seems certain to be another memorable autobiography at a press conference in London on 22 October. It is the same day as Moyes is due to preview United’s Champions League encounter with Real Sociedad.
There is no doubting who the centre of attention will be though, just as Ferguson commanded the headlines on Wednesday with the content of an extensive TV interview in the United States. With so many potentially explosive comments on the agenda, not least Wayne Rooney and his long-time advisor Paul Stretford, it is difficult to imagine United not being hit by some kind of fall-out, no matter how careful Ferguson tries to be.
However, Moyes is relaxed about the prospect. “I don’t see it being negative in any way at all,” said the Scot. “Anything Sir Alex does is good for Manchester United. He was an incredible manager. His success was fantastic. To the Manchester United supporters, anything Sir Alex says is gospel. They love him and rightly so.”
Yet it was suggested in the summer that one of the chief reasons behind Rooney’s desire to leave United was his breakdown in relations with Ferguson. In particular, there is an issue over Ferguson’s claim Rooney handed in a transfer request, something sources close to the player have denied.
On Wednesday, Ferguson rejected the opportunity to pull back from that position. Given the time he has taken to talk Rooney round, Moyes could be forgiven some distress at the intervention, but he said: “If you are alluding to Wayne, I see no problems with that. Look at Wayne’s performances. Look at the way he has played. I think he has been fantastic. I don’t think anything that comes out will have any effect on us.”
This week’s analysis is a microcosm of the kind of scrutiny any United manager is exposed to. Performances and statements are not just reported, but dissected and analysed in a manner few other clubs experience, and Moyes was not exposed to at Everton.
“It has surprised me a little bit,” said Moyes, “but Manchester United is arguably the biggest club in the world. If you lose a couple of games you are going to get talked about. You deserve to be talked about.”
What can be guaranteed is that if United suffer a third straight Premier League defeat for the first time since December 2001 when they visit Sunderland today, Moyes’ tenure will be raked over again during the two-week international break.