As David Moyes prepares to give his first press conference as Manchester United manager later today, former boss Sir Alex Ferguson has spoke of his desire to remain in the background at Old Trafford.
Reportedly, Ferguson has expressed his concern that him having a regular presence at United may hamper Moyes’ bedding in period with the Red Devils.
The 71-year-old Scotsman is wary of the public eye on him during every Manchester United game for the foreseeable future and is contemplating not attending United’s first few games of the season.
With television cameras and photographers set to follow his every move during United’s matches, Ferguson doesn’t want his reaction to matters on the pitch to heap more pressure on Moyes. It is believed that Ferguson could watch home matches from a private box in order to not be seen publicly.
Later this morning Moyes will hold his first official press conference as Manchester United manager, but should he feel in awe or be living in the shadow of Ferguson? Slightly. It is hard not to.
There is no denying that the task facing Moyes is a daunting one. To replace one of world’s soccer most successful managers, ever, is one thing. But having Fergie on the peripherals at United does pile more pressure onto his shoulders.
But the environment Ferguson aims to create at United is not one of mounting pressure behind the scenes. He hopes to follow the model used on the European continent, as clubs such as Bayern Munich and Barcelona use ex-players as ambassadors, coaches and directors. They will all stay connected with the club and all work together. Appointing Phil Neville and Ryan Giggs as coaches on Thursday reflects that model being implemented.
But there is one problem. Moyes is a relative outsider. Some may view him as an imposter into Manchester United’s rich heritage, but Ferguson had lined up Moyes as his successor for some time. But notions that Moyes has not been part of United’s family, up until this point, is slightly false.
Who was the experienced pro dishing out advice at Preston North End when the likes of David Beckham were loaned out from United? Moyes. He was the man who took to the task of helping educate United’s brightest young talent as they were loaned out and given a soccer lesson in the rough and tumble of England’s lower-leagues.
When he took over as Preston manager in 1998, Moyes continued his link up with Fergie and that relationship has grown and flourished over the years.
Ferguson may want to stay out of the limelight out of respect for Moyes and to help make his successor’s job easier, but if United are to achieve their goal of becoming a supportive unit of not just one figurehead at the club, Ferguson need not stay in the shadows.
In that case, Fergie time should never be up.