Time, says David Moyes, is crucial to completing a “transitional period” in the post Sir Alex Ferguson era. Moyes start to life at Manchester United has perhaps been tougher than anybody expected, with the Reds losing five of 15 matches in the Premier League to date. Indeed, play the season forward from here and United’s 22 points will translate into just 56 by the season’s end – leaving the Reds somewhere around 8th and out of the European places altogether.
United’s season will surely not be that cataclysmic, but the numbers don’t lie and the Reds will find it almost impossible to win the Premier League from here, despite Moyes’ claims to the contrary after defeat to Newcastle United on Saturday.
In a competitive league it might take less than the 89 points that secured the Premier League over the past two seasons. But should, say, 82 secure the title come May, United will still need a record that reads 19 wins, two draws and just two defeats before the campaign’s end.
In fact fourth place and a Champions League spot might be tough this season – 50 further points requires Moyes’s side to secure around 16 wins, four draws, and just two further loses. To place this in context, over the past decade it has taken 73, 69, 68, 70, 72, 76, 68, 67, 61, and 60 points to secure fourth, with a lower total coming when a runaway winner has taken the league. In other words, it is likely that United will need in excess of 68 points to claim a Champions League place next season.
This begs a question – what is success and failure for David Moyes, and how long should he get for either to play out?
After all, few fans disagree that Moyes deserves time, but there is little relevance in the now frequent comparison to the time it took for Sir Alex Ferguson to achieve success at United – six long years to secure the title. Ferguson took over an under-achieving squad that hadn’t secured the league title in two decades. Moyes, however, secured a job at the Premier League title champions – a club that now boasts the third highest revenue of any club on the planet.